Alumni in the News

Mr. G. Gregory Merrill – B.S., Business Administration, 1972; M.S., Communication, 1981

Herald Journal

New county councilman speaks out Greg Merrill, the newest member of the Cache County Council, wasn’t born in Cache Valley, but his roots go back almost to the founding, giving him a deep love and appreciation for the community. Merrill’s great grandfather was the first president of the Logan Temple, and his father was one of the first owners of the KVNU radio station. “The Merrills have been here as pioneers almost from day one,” said Merrill, who took over Craig Petersen’s seat on the council after Petersen resigned to become Logan’s mayor. Born in West Virginia, Merrill graduated from Utah State University in business and received a master’s degree in communications. He met his wife, Joan, while both were on the bowling team for the university, and their first date was at a bowling tournament at Arizona State. As part-owner of Media Services Group, a media brokerage/merger company, he has been around businesses for 32 years. After helping his sister, Darla Clark, with her campaigns and serving as Petersen’s campaign manager, Merrill said it’s definitely different being on this side of politics. Q: Why did you and your wife decide to stay in Cache Valley? A: I think most people agree, Cache Valley is a great place to raise a family. The Merrills had roots here, though I did not. Most of my friends were back east. It was a little difficult, at first, to come out. After marriage, we both realized we couldn’t ask for a better place to raise a family. Q: What is your favorite thing about Cache Valley? A: The friendliness of it. As I talk to my friends back east or my business partners located throughout the U.S., lots of times I’ll talk about my neighbors and I’ll ask about theirs. They don’t even know who their neighbors are. Not that they’re unfriendly, most of them are very social and outgoing type of people. I can go through different neighborhoods and everyone is friendly. There are just great people around here. Q: What are some things the council is facing this year? A: What they’re facing is the same thing that most governments are facing. How do we continue to provide services with the fixed amount of income that we have? Another one is the air. The county has more or less a general responsibility. The county has taken the first step to try to minimize it. Someone asked me how to get rid of our pollution, and I said it’s easy — everybody quit driving, turn off all utilities and all factories shut down and we’re fine. But that’s not practical. The mandate for cars over the next 10 to 15 years will reduce the pollution from automobiles significantly. That alone will probably have more of an impact than anything else. Those are the two challenges the county is facing. Q: What kind of community involvement have you had in the past? A: Back in my earlier days, I was actively involved in the community. I was the chairman of the Christmas parade, when they used to have a Christmas parade downtown. I was on the United Way allocation committee. I was involved in the Chamber of Commerce. I was the PTA president at the high school. On a daily basis I would meet with businesses and community leaders, and as a result it gave me a better perspective for what their challenges are, what their objectives were and what they hoped to accomplish. It’s helped me over my career as well, as I think it will help me on the council. Q: How has your background in business and communications helped prepare you to serve on the Cache County Council? A: As I mentioned, county government is like a business. Cache County has a budget. Their objective is to serve the people. The objective of a business is to provide a product and to serve the people. The more important similarity is how we provide those services. To do that, we need to generate revenue. For businesses, there are different ways they can do that. In government, it’s more difficult, especially county government. Cache County is limited in how they receive their income. The most important aspect of revenue is how efficient you are. The more efficient a business is, the more profit they can make. The more efficient a government is, the more they have available to provide those services to their citizens. I think my 30 years of analyzing financial statements, making recommendations and consulting businesses will help me on the County Council because it’s how I maximize efficiency. Q: What is one life experience that has helped you be where you are today? A: Making the decision after my broadcasting days to join the company that I eventually ran and then started another one, it’s probably one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made. Not only from a family perspective, but also from a financial perspective. Taking that first job and then developing into the media brokerage business is one more important decision. I can always say choosing my wife is my most important decision — that way I won’t get into trouble.