Our People


Merit is an employee-owned company and that influences how we do business. We value each employee-owner on the Merit Construction team and we’re committed to helping them reach their full potential.

As employee-owners, Merit staff members have a stake in delivering quality work. This means they go the extra mile, at work and in their personal lives. Our goal is to serve clients by anticipating and exceeding their needs and to support each community through donations of volunteer time and money.

At Merit, we recognize individual and team contributions to good client service. While ensuring strong client satisfaction, this also creates real job satisfaction.

Most Merit people have been with the company for years. We are your neighbors and friends, with more than 200 years of experience in the construction business.

In addition to working well as part of a team, Merit staff members are on good terms with construction professionals outside of our company. We build and maintain strong relationships with area architects, subcontractors and vendors through excellent communication and mutual trust.

Staff longevity, strong partner relationships and community involvement say something important about Merit. Our people provide the foundation for building successful projects.

For a list of our Field Supervision team, click here.
For a complete list of employees and their contact information, click here.

Bob StokesBob Stokes

Joined the company in July 2005.

As Project Manager, his greatest job satisfaction comes from “Seeing completed facilities making a difference for the community. Be it a school, church, hospital or non-profit agency, it is very rewarding to see the difference it makes in people’s lives.”

Bob is thankful for the job that started his career—project manager for U.S. Government projects. “It gave me a better perspective for being on the other side of the owner/contractor relationship.”

Bob has a passion for volunteering (Meals on Wheels and Boy Scouts), sports (hockey, football, basketball, snowmobiling, boating), music and traveling.

He attended University of Pittsburgh with a focus on general studies and engineering and Community College of the Air Force studying engineering and construction management.

On the weekends, Bob likes to enjoy the outdoors with his family.

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Chris Hutchins Chris Hutchins

Joined the company in September 2015.

Chris’ construction experience is quite impressive. Even before joining Merit Construction Company, he had a hand in major area projects such as the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex and the new Federal Courthouse. He has a wide array of experience and knowledge, earning his bachelor’s degree in Construction Management at the University of Northern Iowa, and having worked in the field, estimating, and ultimately, in project management.

As Project Manager, Chris is on top of every aspect of his projects. From running meetings to administering all project documentation to scheduling to cost coding and approving invoices – he does it all! He approaches the challenge of time management and multiple-project coordination with a smile. Chris always looks for ways to work smarter while developing long-term relationships with his clients.

Chris covers all the bases with his personal interests, too – fishing, hunting, camping, kayaking, baseball, golf, and snowmobiling. He can even play you a tune on the bass guitar if you ask nicely!

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Curt Conrad Curt Conrad

Joined the company in May 2004.

Curt’s experience in construction as a framer, trim carpenter and member of a concrete foundation crew has given him a great foundation for his current job as Project Manager.

Curt is a company trail boss, riding herd over each project’s construction cost and corralling any issues that may arise.

He meets daily challenges head-on, coordinating and communicating with the many local trades people involved in each construction project.

The best part of his job is the pride he feels when he helps bring a new building to the community. And he’ll admit his chest does puff out a bit when he tells people he worked on the project.

When Curt is not building buildings, he’s helping to build better communities. He is a regular volunteer for Meals on Wheels and St. Mathias Fun Night.

When most people decide to bring an animal into their life, it’s usually a dog or cat. But in Curt’s case, it’s 22 beef cows he raises on his brother-in-law’s farm.  You’ll find him there most weekends. Unless it’s football season. Then he’s cheering on the Hawkeyes in front of the TV or at Kinnick Stadium.

Go Hawkeyes! Go cows!

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Dave McInroy Dave McInroy

Joined the company in July 1993.

“Safety” is Dave’s middle name.

As Safety Director, Dave develops and implements the company’s programs for safety and health, environmental compliance and drug testing. He conducts employee safety and orientation training and jobsite safety inspections and audits. He also consults on project safety.

Dave earned a BA in Industrial Technology from the University of Northern Iowa with an emphasis in supervision, management and (no surprise here) Industrial Safety.

Dave has served on several Master Builders of Iowa safety/employee training committees and task forces. He is past chair of the organization’s 49-member Safety Committee.

In his free time, Dave collects safety-related antiques including old fire extinguishers, first aid kits and safety glasses.

Dave’s biggest feeling of job satisfaction comes when everyone goes home safely at the end of each day.

Correction:  Safety is his first name.  Safety Dave McInroy.

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David Lukan David Lukan

Joined the company in January 2013.

David first started in May 2010 as an intern, then rolled up his sleeves and did the hard work to become an Estimator. Part of that was earning his Construction Engineering degree from Iowa State.

He calls subcontractors, performs quantity take-offs, tracks down pricing and does whatever else is required to round out our estimating needs.

David is devoted to understanding the bidding process as a whole and analyzing the steps needed to create a bid. There are never quite enough hours in the day to satisfy his passion for learning and doing the best possible job.

When he’s not focused on conquering the world of engineering, David volunteers for Meals on Wheels.

He also loves trout fishing but only gets to do it a few times a year. Some people don’t have the patience but David’s calm concentration is a natural fit for standing in trout streams and casting that line over and over.

In a more active mode he enjoys playing basketball, baseball and football. And he’s a Little League ump on summer weekends.

Whenever David can find any extra time, he spends it with family and friends.

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Gordon Parker Gordon Parker

Joined the company in February 1988.

Gordon is Executive Vice President.

He enjoys the challenge of analyzing plans and specs and compiling budget estimates.

On the job, Gordon finds a sense of achievement maintaining a budget from start to finish. Off the job, he gets satisfaction from actively supporting community groups. He is past-president of the Five Seasons Ski Team, a volunteer for Meals on Wheels twice a week and committee member for Kennedy High School’s Show Choir Competition.

He also enjoys watching city council meetings. Now that’s community commitment.

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Joe Fay Joe Fay

Joined the company in May 1992.

Joe is a Project Manager. He has a BS in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University.

Giving back to the community is important to Joe. He is past coach for boys basketball (grades 3-7) and current coach for girls basketball (ages 9-10). He also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, St. Joseph’s school and church building projects.

Joe enjoys many things, but only has two passions: His family and his work.

His idea of a relaxing time is to go squirrel hunting in the fall and take a nap under a tree in the woods. Or maybe forget the hunting and he’ll just take a nap with the squirrel.

On weekends you’ll find Joe in the chicken coop. (Now there’s a water cooler topic.)

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John Baker John Baker

Joined the company in December 1998.

As Project Manager, John manages a project’s overall budget and schedule. He also reviews and processes shop drawings, coordinates delivery of materials to the job site and facilitates onsite meetings with the client and project team.

He graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in construction management.
John’s experience as a carpenter gives him valuable insight into the hands-on nature of construction.

When he’s not at work, John enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with family and friends.

John volunteers for his church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Meals on Wheels.  He also gives to United Way.

His favorite part of the job is making the construction process easy and enjoyable for the client.

John’s mantra, borrowed from the movie, Field of Dreams (and tweaked a bit):
If you build it right they will come back.

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Kelly Edmonds Kelly Edmonds

Joined the company in March 2013.

Kelly’s experience includes owner’s representative, subcontractor and general contractor in both private and public markets. And he studied business, finance and real estate for his degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. So he understands the business from virtually every angle.

As Vice President he manages and administers multiple projects for multiple owners. That includes estimating, negotiating scope and contracts, and managing changes in scope. He focuses on customer service while supporting the Superintendents to get projects done on time and on budget.

His biggest competition? Himself. He tries to do each job better than the last. His benchmarks are dollars saved, quality exceeded and efficiency of completions. He loves being part of the client’s decision-making and sharing their excitement.

As often as possible, Kelly volunteers with Meals on Wheels and the Humane Society. He loves dogs and most anything with fur and four legs. He’s also done service for Habitat for Humanity.

On the weekend you’re likely to find him doing a home improvement project or enjoying 18 holes of golf.

Not surprisingly for someone named Kelly, he has a green thumb. He raises a big garden and personally cans veggies, salsa, pasta sauce and more.

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Louie Ruggio

Joined the company in 2013.

Louie majored in Building Construction Management at Purdue University. He is a Project Manager whose past experience included tracking changes and maintaining punchlist software.

Among his current duties are RFI reviews, submittals, pricing, changes and coordination. He’s also involved in training and maintenance for the new PM software to help keep us at the forefront of e-technology.

He not only makes sure that subcontractors and suppliers have the most up-to-date information, he also confirms that they’re following everything correctly. Louie finds closing out a project to be the most satisfying part of his job.

On his own time, he’s done volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. He’s passionate about sports, science and architecture, and pretty much everything he reads relates to one of those three subjects.

Louie likes watching sports too. And he wishes he had an extra hour in the day to work out more, since too often that’s what gets bumped from his busy schedule.

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Paul Stein Paul Stein

Joined the company in March 2014.

Paul is a Project Manager who studied Building Trades and Civil Engineering and had three decades of experience with his previous employer. He appreciates interacting with clients to better understand how their businesses operate so he can serve them to the fullest.

In his years in the working world, Paul has seen big changes in the use of technology for day-to-day activities. It’s a challenge he meets with enthusiasm.

When he’s not working or traveling for work, he has plenty of interests to keep him busy. He enjoys carpentry and do-it-yourself projects. Plus, he has a lathe on which he turns various materials to create everything from pens to wine stoppers.

Paul also volunteers for Meals on Wheels. He’s a certified wrestling official and has helped raise funds for a tournament. He spent 20 years with the Sports Boosters in Griswold where he lived before moving to the Amana area.

He loves playing golf. And he is such a big Iowa fan that he has a Tiger Hawk tattooed on a tooth. But most of all Paul loves spending time with his family, which he can never get enough of.

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Scott Friauf Scott Friauf

Joined the company in July 1987.

Scott is Chief Executive Officer of Merit. He enjoys the feeling of accomplishment he gets by resolving construction challenges in a timely and cost-effective manner. This makes for a satisfied client, which Scott says is truly the best reward.

He has a passion for: 1. Making people happy through problem solving and conflict negotiation; and 2. Youth athletics.

Scott was a waiter for four years during school. It was great training for diplomacy, conflict resolution, customer satisfaction and raising kids.

In addition to serving clients, he’s serving communities. He’s a member of Downtown Rotary, past president of Daybreak Rotary, former board member of Community Corrections Improvement Association and volunteer for Meals on Wheels and girls youth AAU teams.

Three weekends out of every month you’ll find Scott traveling to youth athletic events. So don’t be surprised if you pass him on the road or sit next to him in the bleachers.

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Scott Pantel Scott Pantel

Joined the company in September 2001.

As Vice President of Marketing, Scott is responsible for marketing, sales and public relations.

Scott has a passion for golf, water skiing, boating, water and beaches.  (If aquamarine isn’t his favorite color, it should be.)

He’s an avid reader who devours fiction, autobiographies, motivational books and sales books.

Scott bleeds black and gold. He is a huge Hawkeye supporter and a past president of the Executive Committee for the Johnson County I-Club. GO HAWKS! He is also very active in his community. Currently he’s a Board member for the Marion Economic Development Company.

Also, he is past president of the Coralville-North Corridor Rotary Club and he is still a member of the Iowa City Noon Rotary. His recent service also included Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce. He also coached girls softball for three years as well.

If he could find an extra hour in the day, he’d give it away by volunteering more of his time.
His biggest enjoyment comes from watching his daughter Cassie grow into a wonderful adult who contributes greatly to her school and society through her volunteer work. She rocks!

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Shane Baker Shane Baker

Joined the company in June 1995.

Starting in 1990, Shane did part-time carpenter and foreman work for us for five years, then came on full-time. He then worked his way up to Vice President of Estimating, drawing on his Construction Engineering degree from Iowa State.

Shane consults closely with clients as he prepares estimates from conceptual design and performs value engineering. He’s involved in selecting vendors and subcontractors, determining labor and material requirements, and managing an array of cost factors, bids and cost monitoring.

The challenge of adapting to co-workers’ and colleagues’ varied personalities is something he welcomes. He enjoys helping others achieve their goals, and he takes pride in being able to drive by a finished building and say, “We did that.”

On his own time, Shane is Vice President of nonprofit CBM, Inc, which gets behind youth programs and conservation in Eastern Iowa. He also supports Youth Jamborees, United Way, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.

Shane is a big believer in learning from others, which he calls “observational learning”. He likes wrestling, staying connected with his roots and being outdoors. But number one on his list is spending time with loved ones.

Not everyone knows that Shane is highly superstitious and very competitive. And he loves to dance and play croquet.

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Stuart Slaymaker Stuart Slaymaker

Joined the company in October 1989.

As President, Stuart is responsible for project management, training new project engineers and estimating.

He enjoys teaching others to excel, building long-lasting relationships with clients and anticipating and heading off potential issues before they arise.

He has a passion for track and field (his two sons are runners), friends, exercise and music.

Stuart has a philosophical side, sort of Mark Twain in a hard hat. His thoughts:

    • Be good to others as good things happen to good people.
    • Pre-planning will have greater paybacks.
    • Give yourself obtainable goals in life and throw a few out there that you really need to reach for.
    • Powerball is not a good alternative to a 401k.

Tom Harney

Tom Harney

Joined the company in August 2015.

Tom’s title may be Project Engineer, but if you looked up “client liaison” in the dictionary, his picture would definitely be there. He hits projects out of the park on a daily basis for Mercy Medical Center. He is so dedicated to their projects; he moved his whole office down to the hospital. Now that’s a team player!

His previous experience as an estimator for a residential contractor comes in handy. Tom manages Mercy’s projects from the estimating phase through close-out, coordinating the work with contractors and the hospital.

Tom received a degree in Construction Management from Kirkwood Community College. That wasn’t enough for this all-star though. He continued his quest for knowledge at the University of Northern Iowa where he earned a degree in Technology Management. “Now I’m learning medical terms and all the abbreviations used in healthcare,” says Tom. And he thought he was home safe with all those degrees…

When he’s not hitting home runs for Mercy Medical Center, you can bet Tom is watching or playing baseball or enjoying a good Hawkeye sporting event with friends and family.

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