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MSIR Advisory Council elects Pepsi’s Merriman as chairman

Dave Merriman

B&E’s MSIR Advisory Council has elected a new chairman in a man who has long-served the group, and is known as a big contributor.

David J. Merriman, senior HR director of Pepsi Beverages Company, now stands at the forefront of the group of 23 executives that make up the advisory council of this nationally recognized B&E program. Merriman conducted his first meeting as chairman on November 2-3 on WVU’s campus, one of two meetings the board will hold this school year.

Neil Bucklew, professor of management and industrial relations and past president of West Virginia University, said the group shares wisdom and knowledge with the faculty as far as what the components of a graduate program in human resources management should encompass in order to help prepare a graduate to work effectively in today’s HR organizations.

“We regularly share with them the issues on our agenda and ask for their advice and counsel, and they inform us on the topics that they believe to be cutting-edge that we should share with our students during the 28 practicums we hold each year,” Bucklew said. “They know our program really well and come from large companies, ones that hire our students and provide practicum topics and internships for our students during their two-year graduate program. These people are critical players for internship and job placement for our students, amd when they’re here on campus twice a year, they interact with our students to give them industry knowledge from their own experiences.”

Bucklew said that the chair of the council is appointed by its members, not by B&E, and Merriman was a clear contender in that he has served his time in the group and become well-known among its members. 

“Dave has been a point person on the practicums, and his personal leadership and company involvement is very meaningful to our program, as PepsiCo has a real active pipeline of our graduates and offers many well-structured internships to our students” Bucklew said. “It’s natural that he’s the kind of person the others would choose to lead the group.”

Merriman is based in Orlando, Florida, in the company’s Southeast Region, which has 5,500 employees, 60 locations, generates $2.7 billion in annual sales and includes operations in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. He joined the Pepsi system in 1995, starting as an HR manager for the West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky Market Units covering 13 facilities, including eight union locations. In 1997, he was promoted to manager of compensation, responsible for implementing net revenue commission structures and Pepsi’s nonunion wage and benefit process. 

Since returning to Pepsi in 2007 to lead the HR function in the Southeast Business Unit (SEBU), Merriman has galvanized his teams to strengthen Pepsi’s culture of appreciation programs. He also has driven multiple change management initiatives while chairing the SEBU Diversity Advisory Board.

Merriman is currently co-chair of the Pepsi Southeast Region Diversity Advisory Board, a body comprised of a variety of regional leaders who act as the governing body who help set the region’s diversity strategy. He also serves on the YMCA Orlando board of directors. 

Merriman earned his Master of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations and Bachelor of Science degree in business management from West Virginia University.