"It’s a great opportunity to share relocation expertise and trends with my peers and service providers. Active participation fosters both personal and professional development opportunities as well.”
The Minnesota Employee Relocation Council began in 1983 with representatives from ten Twin Cities based companies with a focus on sharing information on relocation related topics. By 1987 membership was at 28 with 17 companies represented. Some of the original members included Medtronic, Control Data, St. Paul Companies, General Mills, 3M, Pillsbury, Honeywell, Northwestern Bell, National Car Rental, Corporate Transfer Service, First Bank Systems, and Dayton’s. At that time the meeting size was fairly small so a corporate member hosted them. Meetings were centered around a variety of topics such as double-digit mortgage interest rates, marketing strategies for high real estate inventories, radon gas, as well as the introduction of pre-marketing programs to compliment home purchase programs.
Fast forward to 2004 with a very active membership consisting of 193 corporate and service providers encompassing the State of Minnesota and West Central Wisconsin. Meetings are held primarily at the Golden Valley Country Club with occasional meetings at Twin Cities landmark locations such as the Science Museum or the Art Institute. The topics are quite different from 20 years ago; current education sessions have included Sarbanes Oxley, Dual Deed, Lump Sum, On-line Bidding, Identity Theft and Policy Benchmarking.
In addition to the educational meetings, MERC hosts an annual conference featuring nationally recognized speakers, interactive workshops, and panel discussions. A recent conference was held at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The event not only provided excellent education sessions with CRP certification credits, but also allowed members to visit various art exhibits. A speaker from the institute spoke during the luncheon festivities and shared many facts about the wide variety of cultural opportunities within the Minneapolis area; one of more interesting facts is that the arts in Minneapolis are second only to New York.
In December MERC hosts an annual holiday breakfast. While the intent is to celebrate the holiday season, each year a charity is sponsored. Some of the recent charities have included the local Food Shelf, Police Athletic League, Jeremiah House, Hunger Solutions, Habitat for Humanity, and Make A Wish Foundation.
MERC has evolved and grown over the years, but our mission remains centered on education. Through mergers and acquisitions over the last 20 years many of the original MERC member companies have changed: First Bank System is now U.S. Bank, Corporate Transfer Service was acquired by SIRVA, Pillsbury and General Mills are now one company, but the focus remains the same. MERC continues to provide relocation professionals with opportunities to exchange information and ideas in an atmosphere of respect and common purpose.