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Dannen Merrill, a 2015 Northwest graduate, has returned to Maryville as a partner of the accounting firm Marsh, Espey and Merrill. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dannen Merrill, a 2015 Northwest graduate, has returned to Maryville as a partner of the accounting firm Marsh, Espey and Merrill. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

July 12, 2019

Northwest alumnus returns as new partner of accounting firm


A Northwest Missouri State University alumnus has returned to his hometown of Maryville to join a local accounting firm led by other Bearcats and now serves as one of its partners.

Earlier this year, Dannen Merrill became a partner of Marsh, Espey and Merrill, a new name for the firm as Merrill took the place of retiring partner Jerry Riggs.

“It feels good to be home,” Merrill said. “I went down to Kansas City after graduation as that was where jobs were for aspiring accounting grads. I was happy at my job but had my eyes open for better opportunities.”

Merrill says Northwest prepared him for the career move by teaching him the importance of meeting new people and expanding his network while prioritizing tasks.

“To me this is a chance to return to the community of Maryville and Northwest and to contribute to organizations that helped shape who I am today,” Merrill said. “This is also an opportunity to grow in my profession and as an entrepreneur.”

Merrill says he is excited to learn from his partners, Ted Espey and Danny Marsh, two Northwest graduates with 40 tax seasons of experience and knowledge of the audit work the firm does in the off-season. Merrill also is appreciative of the guidance Riggs provided during the transition.

Merrill graduated from Northwest in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and comprehensive crisis response. He was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and served as the senior advisor, treasurer and house manager. He also served with the Northwest Student Senate as its Maryville City Council liaison. That work connected him with Riggs, who was serving on the City Council at the time.  

“You never know when that connection will turn into an opportunity,” Merrill said. “Fast forward a few years, and we’re having a conversation about coming to work under him for a tax season and the eventual transition into becoming a partner at the firm.”

Merrill was the co-chair for the Northwest Homecoming Committee in 2012. He was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma and Delta Mu Delta honor societies, the Accounting Society, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He served as the president of the Greek Honor Society Order of Omega and the treasurer of Cardinal Key. He received the Greek Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 in addition to being honored as the Outstanding Greek Male.

To keep his connection to Northwest strong and remain an active member of the community, Merrill serves as vice president for the Northwest Phi Sigma Kappa Alumni Association and is treasurer of the Maryville Downtown Improvement Organization. He recently was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Legion Missouri Boys State, a program that educates young men on leadership and citizenship.

“‘Forever Green’ to me means always being able to find a common bond with fellow alumni,” Merrill said. “Coming back to Maryville and joining a firm of Bearcats and being able to continue the tradition has been remarkable.”


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468