"Our county is in need of new ideas and a new direction. We should start with a long-term plan for roads and bridges, reaching out as far as necessary to be comprehensive. We need to break the cycle of playing catch-up," he said.
Merrell served in the United States Air Force. While in Korea, he created a network to brief pilots on real-time battlefield conditions, and was formally recognized by the U.S. Army's 213th Aviation Battalion with an inter-service medal.
"I'm really proud of this. Not many Airmen can wear an Army medal," he said.
After the service, he earned his FAA Airframe & Power License and an Associate of Science degree from Lansing Community College. He continued his studies at Eastern Michigan University, earning a bachelor's degree in Aircraft Maintenance Management.
This led to a position with Allison Engine Company, now Rolls-Royce, where he managed global turbine upgrade campaigns. He was sent to Indiana Wesleyan University for his masters degree in Business (MBA), then to Toronto for an SAP certification.
He is now the Departmental Information Technology Manager, and Systems Liaison for all Rolls-Royce North America businesses.
"I fix problems that no one else can fix," he said. "That's what I do. I think our county and our neighbors deserve nothing less than the highest level of quality solutions to persistent problems."
Not a career politician, Merrell says he seeks to offer his service to Putnam County no longer than necessary to leave a positive long term impact.
"I consider it a privilege just to have this opportunity," he said.
Merrell and his wife Jill are celebrating their 14th anniversary this year. They have two children, Chance and Grace, who know Putnam County as their only home. They participate in 4-H, and this year Merrell will hold a workshop for the Aerospace Participants.
"I can't wait. Kids can't get enough science if it has a practical and tangible application," he said.
In addition, he leads an Aerospace Club for local youth.
The Merrell family enjoys amateur astronomy, being outdoors for any reason, and tinkering with an antique auto that Jill calls a "rust bucket."
When things return to normal, they plan to finish organizing their own business, CG Automotive Wholesale.
If anyone has an issue they would like to discuss, Merrell can be reached at (765) 719-3297.
"I'm doing my best to get out and meet everyone," Merrell said.
"If you see me, by all means feel free to let me know what you think."