Bill Pettit

1302_billpettitPresident and Chief Operating Officer, Merrill Gardens, LLC

Bill Pettit is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the R. D. Merrill Co. and Merrill Gardens. Pettit joined Merrill Gardens in 1992 after 18 years in the banking industry. He was instrumental in the formation of the company, starting with one community in 1993. He directed the rapid growth and timely execution of acquisitions, and developed the policies that speak to the Merrill Gardens commitment to quality.

Under Pettit’s leadership, the Better Business Bureau named Merrill Gardens the Business of the Year for the company’s commitment to residents, team members and community service. The Family Business Institute named Merrill Gardens a Washington State Family Business of the Year three times in the past ten years. The company was chosen based on innovative business strategies, company performance, and contributions to the community. Merrill Gardens received a Finalist Award in the American Business Awards in the Innovative Business Practices category.

Pettit received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1971 and a M.B.A. from the University of Oregon in 1973.

Pettit is the Chairman of the Executive Board of the American Seniors Housing Association.

Jena Owens

blank-profile-mdVice President of Sales & Marketing at Merrill Gardens

Jena Owens, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Merrill Gardens, brings fifteen years’ experience in the senior care and housing industry to her role as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Merrill Gardens. Her background includes a broad range of expertise in all aspects of sales, marketing, advertising and brand identity. Owens is responsible for the leasing activities at all 56 Merrill Gardens communities in ten states. She oversees the regional marketing team and provides leadership in growing and maintaining the overall portfolio occupancy rate. Owens also oversees the pre-leasing and opening efforts for new developments. Owens was a Regional Marketing Director for Merrill Gardens from 2001 to 2006. She left the company to join the Era Living Executive Team for five years before returning to Merrill Gardens in her current role at the beginning of 2011. Merrill Gardens is known as one of the top owner/operators of independent and assisted living retirement communities in the country.