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 today with a very active membership encompassing the State of Minnesota and West Central Wisconsin. Education meetings are held all around the Twin Cities including iconic landmark locations such as the University of Minnesota, the Bakken Museum and the Swedish Institute. The topics are quite different from 30 years ago; current education sessions have included tax reform, immigration, closing fraud, policy benchmarking and global traveler safety.
In addition to education meetings, MERC hosts an annual conference featuring nationally recognized speakers, interactive workshops, and panel discussions. 2019 marked our 35th Annual Conference. The event not only provides excellent education sessions with CRP, GMS and PHR certification credits, but it also allows for great networking during conference and at the pre-conference happy hour.
In December MERC hosts an annual holiday event. While the intent is to celebrate the holiday season, our organization also supports a silent auction and holiday games that generate funds that are donated to our member selected charity. Some of the recent charities have included the local Food Shelf, Cornerstone, Youthlink Minnesota, The Ronald McDonald House and Make A Wish Foundation.
MERC has evolved and grown over the years, but our mission remains centered on education and improving the relocation process for our customers. Through mergers and acquisitions over the last 30 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 with a hint of fun and comradery.