Tory Merhar Named Senior Operations Director at Partners in Community Supports

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tory Merhar, who joined Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota in 2016 as the Senior Director of Partners in Community Supports (PICS), has recently stepped into the new role of Senior Operations Director.

            “During Tory’s tenure, she has created a vibrant team that has been instrumental in doubling the number of people supported by PICS,” said Nancy Rosemore, associate vice president of Disability Services at Lutheran Social Service. Under Merhar’s leadership, PICS added a Human Resources department and robust payroll team to support more than 3,000 employees who are hired directly by people with disabilities.

            PICS, a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Service, is a financial management service and licensed service provider that offers financial and technical support for 1,900 individuals with disabilities and older adults in Minnesota who choose to design their own support structures for care and life in community. With more than 20 years of experience in self-directed services, PICS staff can help individuals enroll in self-directed services, hire employees, manage payroll and taxes, and offer Human Resource expertise. As Senior Operations Director, Merhar “will concentrate on new initiatives that will facilitate growth and create efficiencies,” Rosemore said. In her new role, Merhar will ensure that PICS is positioned to provide the highest level of service to meet the needs of individuals who choose to self-direct care. This includes technology upgrades, continuous process improvement and ensuring that staff have the training and tools needed to be experts in supporting others.

            Alaina Ericksen, who has also been with Lutheran Social Service and PICS since 2016, will be stepping into the Senior Director role. Previously, Ericksen led the Human Resources team at PICS and has contributed to many initiatives, including leading PICS’ COVID communications plan and acting as a coach for social justice dialogues.

            “Alaina’s expertise in Human Resources will be an asset as PICS continues to grow,” said Merhar. “She is a trusted leader who is committed to ensuring that people supported are at the heart of all decisions.”

To learn more about PICS, please visit