Instructor Spotlight: Eddie Merla

Our spotlight is on PMP Exam Prep instructor, Eddie Merla, PMI-ACP, PMP®, founder and owner of Duende Project Management Services. He is a PMP® preparation instructor and a speaker and trainer on project management and leadership topics. Mr. Merla has more than 25 years of project management experience including seven years of experience leading international consulting engagements and projects. He has implemented Project Management Offices for multiple organizations and in seven different industries (banking, airlines, automotive, consulting, information technology, engineering, and healthcare).

He has supported the implementation of agile practices in various organizations. Mr. Merla has presented at multiple chapters of the Project Management Institute and at the EMEA PMI Congress, the North American PMI Congress, the Asia Pacific PMI Congress and the Latin America PMI Congress. He has trained project managers and other business professionals in 10 separate countries. Mr. Merla is active with Toastmasters International. He has achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award, the highest educational award that can be earned by an individual Toastmaster, three times. He has also served the Houston District Toastmasters (District 56) as a district governor.

What made you decide to become an PMP instructor?

As a leader of a Project Management Office, I encouraged and coached project managers to become PMP certified. I decided to become a PMP instructor to formalize my coaching and have now been a PMP instructor for 18 years.

What’s your favorite aspect of teaching the PMP Certification Exam Prep Course?

I enjoy sharing the insights I have obtained from coaching project managers, leading complex projects and project management offices. I have a special interest in Agile project management which is now required for the PMP exam. I enjoy Agile because I have witnessed transformation in teams and organizations that embrace the Agile mindset.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I strive to be a servant leader in the classroom. My role is to provide a positive learning environment and to support my students in their transformative journeys.

What do you hope students will gain after taking your course?

In addition to preparing for the arduous PMP exam, my hope is that students will gain an appreciation for the science and art of project management. My hope is that students will take what they learned in the classroom to make a positive impact on their teams, projects and organizations.

What are the key concepts you hope students will leave your course with?

The key concepts I hope students leave the course with include developing an appreciation for critical people interactions, understanding the differences between leadership and management (but mastering both), and gaining insights to the processes required to initiate, plan, execute, control and close projects successfully.

How do you motivate the students in your classroom?

I motivate students by continuously challenging them to “connect the dots” and to tap into their own strengths and perspectives.

What is your #1 tip for passing the certification exam?

Don’t memorize to prepare for the exam. Instead, gain the competence to understand the concepts and processes by constantly asking “why” is this important.

What are three interesting facts about you outside the classroom?

1) I like traveling and visiting historical sites.

2) I enjoy the art of story telling and continuously work on developing stories for entertainment, business and education.

3) I love the art of giving feedback and helping others find their inner strengths. I aim to continuously improve in my coaching by embracing new feedback techniques.


George Zombakis, is assistant director for professional and corporate programs at Rice University’s Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies where he manages a growing portfolio of successful face-to-face and online programs including human resource management, paralegal studies, project management, communication, marketing and leadership.

Connect with me on Linkedin.




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