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"All of us would all be better off if we tried to find that sense of awe in the things we do every day."
Blast from the Past
Merle Riepe, Class 30
We first met Scottsdale Leadership Class 30 graduate Merle Riepe at the 2023 Scottsdale Leadership Spirit of Community Awards Luncheon. He had just finished working with the new Scottsdale Leadership Class 38 and this year’s four Project Lead it Forward (PLIF) teams as they begin their projects. Merle is an Organizational Psychologist by trade, and also a fully accredited Emergenetics Certified Associate. Scottsdale Leadership uses this program to create teams that can harness each of the class members different skills towards meeting their objective. We were fascinated by his background, and our hearts were warmed by his commitment to the people he works with and his family. We think you will really enjoy hearing about his background as much as we did.
Merle was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He was always a pretty good student and also loved sports. He played basketball in High School and even played in college at Nebraska Wesleyan University located in Nebraska’s capital city of Lincoln. Merle studied Psychology in College and got his Bachelor of Science Degree in that field in 2001. He then went on to earn is Masters and Doctorate in Consulting Psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego. He moved back to Omaha and began his professional career at the Silverstone Group which is a consulting company that works with individuals and organizations to help them be their best.
After 10 years back in Omaha, those crazy cold midwestern winters finally became too much for him. Much to our benefit, Merle decided to move to Scottsdale and set up shop here in 2015. He told us that he some family here in the Valley and loved the area, so it was a natural fit. At the end of 2016, Merle and his boss had the opportunity to buy out Silverstone Consulting and make it their own. On January 1, 2017 their new company called Solve was born and he has been leading that organization ever since.
We certainly could see that his easy going unassuming midwestern personality can make people feel at ease, but believe you me he is one sharp guy. As Merle was moving down to Scottsdale, he looked up Scottsdale Leadership online and knew right off that he wanted to be part of our organization. You see while he lived in Omaha, Merle went through Leadership Omaha, which is a similar leadership program. When he arrived in Scottsdale, Merle applied to Scottsdale Leadership and joined Scottsdale Leadership Class 30 (Class 30 Rocks) in 2015. He loved the program and it proved to be a great way for him to learn about his new home just as he thought it would. Merle continued to help Scottsdale Leadership after graduating from his class and served on the board.
During this time, Merle learned more about Emergenetics and how that program could help our Leadership class members become even better servant leaders. He had used other programs and techniques in his consulting practice, but he really liked this program because it is so user friendly and effective. In 2017 he offered to become a Certified Associate in the program and went off to that company's headquarters in Denver, Colorado to do just that.
After completing this training, Merle was able to fully use the Emergenetics information to help Scottsdale Leadership’s class members get a better sense of their strengths and how they best fit into a team environment. Scottsdale Leadership certainly pays for assessment analysis that the company Emergenetics performs, but Merle provides the essential follow on work as a volunteer.
Merle’s continued service with Scottsdale Leadership also proved very important to his personal life as well. While he was helping Leadership fulfill its mission, he met and fell in love with his wife Lindsay Halgerson who was part of the Scottsdale Leadership staff at the time. They were married in 2020. We all had a laugh when we could chalk that up as another great outcome of our program.
It was so clear to us that Merle is a great family man as well. He has two kids from his first marriage. Brynn who is 16 and a sophomore at Cactus Shadows High School and his son Drew who is the 8th grade. As we mentioned earlier, Merle is very much into sports and he even joined the coaching staff of his daughter's Junior Varsity Basketball team at Cactus Shadows. Merle, Lindsay, and the kids are also avid fans of Disneyland and make a biannual trip to escape the “real world” and embrace the collective joy they experience in the Happiest Place on Earth.
Merle has a presence about him that is very approachable and yet full of knowledge and credibility. He mentioned to us that tries to live his life “seeking a sense of awe”. That could be when he is at the top of a mountain about ready to ski down its slopes, or seeing his daughter sink an important basket for her team. All of us would be better off if we tried to find that awe in the things we do every day. Merle knows it is out there, if we just know where to look. All of us in Scottsdale Leadership are very lucky indeed to have him be one of our guides that helps us become more effective leaders. Merle is ready and able to help us find that sense of awe in our own lives.