By Jennifer Erb
When Bill Merchant came to WVU, his original intent was to be an Electrical Engineer. But the traditional employers of EE’s weren’t hiring so he switched to Industrial Engineering. The idea of logistics appealed to him. He also liked the idea of designing operational systems. What Bill didn’t realize at the time was he would use his degree in retail services.
Bill comments: “I was able to do cutting edge work in retail because they weren’t use to looking at their operations from an engineering perspective. Since retail works off of such small margins, any improvement in operational efficiencies can make a big difference.”
The threshold moment in Bill’s career was when he was asked to take over a troubled division. He was given a title of Vice President. He was 25 years old.
Another key moment in Bill’s career was when he served on a team with the Chairman of the Board of his employer. The Chairman saw Bill’s strengths and how he thought. This led to other senior level opportunities.
When Bill was asked to relocate to corporate headquarters in New York City, he decided to move in a different career direction. He didn’t want to raise his family in NYC. Bill formed Merchant Global. Merchant Global serves the construction industry by importing materials they need for multifamily construction units. Merchant Global was earning a new profit of $6.7 million a year when Bill sold it to move into retirement.
Looking back on his career, Bill is especially proud of the seven Senior Vice Presidents in the retail industry that he helped to develop.
Bill Merchant is an experienced, results oriented senior management professional with extensive background in Importing from the Pacific Rim, retail and supply chain management, property and construction management and real estate development. He has demonstrated achievements in managing large P&L operations and developing people that excel in dynamic and challenging environments.
Created a $16 Million Import operation for the Multifamily Construction Industry by establishing a network of manufacturing facilities in China and Vietnam. Net profit from the operation was $6.7 million annually.
Created an innovative supply chain network for Logistics Division resulting in a 27% improvement in corporate profits and personal rapid advancement to Senior Vice President of Operations at age 33.
Created portfolio management process for property management and facilities maintenance resulting in 27% reduction operating costs.
Planned and implemented a Six Sigma program that improved company profitability by $10.8 Million annually.
Developed protocol and implemented the first e-commerce business unit in May Company resulting in increasing revenues by $22.0 Million.
Designed and constructed 35 stores and renovated 19 others ranging in size from 75,000 to 250,000 sq ft. at a total cost of $855 Million. All were completed on time and were under budget.
Led strategic initiative to reduce damaged merchandise from $60.2 Million annually to $38.4 Million annually improving bottom line profits of Foley’s by $21.8 Million.
West Virginia University – BS Industrial Engineering 1972
George Mason University – MBA Finance 1980
Six Sigma Champion