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Bradley Beecher Bradley P. Beecher, President and Chief Executive Officer, joined The Empire District Electric Company in 1988 as a Staff Engineer at the Riverton Power Plant. He was elected Vice President – Energy Supply in 2001 and Vice President and COO – Electric in 2006. He was elected Executive Vice President in February 2010 and became President and CEO on June 1, 2011.

A native of northwest Kansas, Mr. Beecher graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Kansas.

Mr. Beecher serves on the boards of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Missouri, and the Kiwanis Club of Joplin. He is also on the boards of Connect2Culture, Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative, and the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team for the Joplin tornado. He is a graduate of Leadership Missouri.

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Laurie Delano Laurie A. Delano, Vice President - Finance and Chief Financial Officer, first joined the Company in 1979 and served as Director of Internal Auditing from 1983 to 1991. After an eleven-year separation from Empire District, Ms. Delano re-joined the Company in 2002 as Director of Financial Services and Assistant Controller. She was named to the position of Controller, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer in July 2005. Ms. Delano was named to her current position in July 2011.

During the separation in employment, she was an accounting lecturer at Pittsburg State University and held accounting management positions with TAMKO Building Products, Inc. and Lozier Corporation.

A native of southwest Missouri, Ms. Delano received an Associate of Arts from Crowder College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Missouri Southern State University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State University. Ms. Delano is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants.

Ms. Delano serves on the board of the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation (JRC) and the Missouri Southern State University School of Business Advisory Council. She has also been active with United Way organizations and agencies, and is a past president of the board of directors of the United Way of Southwest Missouri and the Lafayette House. She currently serves on the Endowment Committee for the Lafayette House. She is a member of the Joplin Daybreak Rotary.

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Kelly Walters Kelly S. Walters, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Electric, was elected to her current position in 2011. After joining the Company in 1988 as a Fuel Accountant, she held various accounting and management positions before being named Director of Auditing in 1997. During a four-year separation she served as the Director of Financial Services for Crowder College in Neosho. She returned to the Company in 2001 as Director of Planning and Regulatory and was later named General Manager of Regulatory and General Services. In 2006 Ms. Walters was elected Vice President – Regulatory and General Services.

A native of Southwest Missouri, Ms. Walters holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Pittsburg State University and a Masters degree in Human Resource Management from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Ms. Walters serves on the Missouri Workforce Investment Board, United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas Board, and is the Treasurer of the Crowder College Foundation Board. She is a former board member of the American Red Cross Southwest Missouri Chapter and Joe Newman Innovation Center board. She is a graduate of Leadership Missouri.

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Ronald Gatz Ronald F. Gatz, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Gas, joined The Empire District Electric Company as General Manager of Nonregulated Services in 2001 and was elected to Vice President in April of that year. He was elected to his present position effective June 2006.

Mr. Gatz is a native of Newton, Kansas, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University and a graduate degree in banking from the University of Delaware. Gatz was in the banking industry for 28 years, with 12 of those years at Mercantile Bank of Joplin as Executive Vice President, Senior Credit Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to coming to Empire, he was Chief Administrative Officer for Hook Up, Inc. of Joplin.

Mr. Gatz serves on the Board of Joplin R8 School Foundation, is Chairman of Joplin Industrial Development Authority, is a member of the Joplin Tax Increment Finance Commission and the Joplin Rotary Club.

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Blake Mertens Blake A. Mertens, Vice President – Energy Supply and Delivery Operations, joined the Company in 2001 as Staff Engineer in Energy Supply. Positions he has held include Combustion Turbine Construction Project Manager, Manager of Strategic Projects, Assistant Director of Strategic Projects and Director of Strategic Projects, Safety and Environmental Services. He was elected Vice President - Energy Supply in May 2011. He was elected to his current position in October 2014. Prior to his employment with Empire, Mr. Mertens was an energy consultant for Black & Veatch of Overland Park, Kansas.

A native of the Wichita, Kansas area, Mr. Mertens received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at Kansas State University and a Masters in Business Administration at Missouri State University. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Kansas.

Mr. Mertens serves on the board of the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center, currently as vice-chairman, and is a member of the Joseph Newman Innovation Center board.

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Brent Baker Brent A. Baker, Vice President – Customer Service, Transmission, and Engineering, joined the Company in 2002. Positions he has held include Structural Engineer, Senior Structural Engineer, Manager of Construction Design and Director of Customer Service. He was named General Manager of Customer Service, Transmission and Engineering in October 2014. He was elected to his current position in March 2015.

A native of southwest Missouri, Mr. Baker holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. Mr. Baker is a registered professional engineer.

Mr. Baker serves as president of the Downtown Joplin Alliance. He also serves as a board member of Children's Haven of Southwest Missouri and the Republic, Missouri, Business and Industrial Development Association. He is the past president and state director for the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Southwest Chapter and is an advisory committee member for Project Lead the Way. Mr. Baker serves on the executive board of the Young Professionals Network of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Janet Watson Janet S. Watson, Secretary, joined The Empire District Electric Company in 1994 as Accounting Staff Specialist and was elected Secretary-Treasurer in 1995. She was elected to her present position in October 2014. Prior to joining Empire, Watson was Accounting Superintendent with Missouri-American Water Company. She was also formerly employed by Freeman Hospital in Joplin as a Cost Analyst and with Teledyne Neosho as a Senior Administrative Accountant.

A native of Southwest Missouri, Ms. Watson graduated Summa Cum Laude from Missouri Southern State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting with special emphasis in Computer Science.

Ms. Watson is a member of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, the National Investor Relations Institute, and the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc.

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Mark Timpe Mark T. Timpe, Treasurer, joined Empire as Director of Financial Services in August 2014. He was elected to his current position in October 2014. Prior to employment with Empire, Mr. Timpe spent over 21 years with Con-way Truckload/CFI in Joplin where he served as CFI’s treasurer for 16 years and as Director in the Finance Department and Assistant Treasurer for Con-way Truckload for six years.

A native of Quincy, Illinois, Mr. Timpe holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration—Finance and a Masters of Business Administration from St. Louis University.

Mr. Timpe serves on the St. Mary's Parish (Joplin) Finance Committee and was its Parish Council President for several years.

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Robert Sager Robert W. Sager, Controller, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer, joined the staff at Empire in 2006 as Director of Financial Services. He was named to his current position in July 2011. Prior to employment with Empire, Mr. Sager held the position of Senior Manager—Auditing and Consulting with BKD LLP in Joplin.

A native of Hays, Kansas, Mr. Sager received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration—Accounting from Pittsburg State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and serves on the Accounting Services Committee of the Edison Electric Institute.

Mr. Sager serves on the board of the Community Clinic of Joplin, as an elder at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and as a volunteer youth sports coach. Mr. Sager has previously served as a board member of the United Way of Crawford County and the Pittsburg State University Accounting Advisory Council.

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Dale Harrington Dale W. Harrington, Assistant Secretary, joined the Company in June 1989. He has held various positions in Auditing, Human Resources and Financial Services. He currently serves the Company as Director of Investor Relations. He was elected to his current position in October 2014.

Mr. Harrington received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration—Accounting at Missouri Southern State University.

Mr. Harrington serves as an elder at College Heights Christian Church. He also serves on the school board at College Heights Christian School and is a past-president and current member of the board of directors at Lafayette House.

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Directors1

Ken Allen
Kenneth Allen
Retired Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer
Texas Industries, Inc.
Dallas, Texas
(Age 57, Director since 2005)
Bradley Beecher
Bradley Beecher
President and CEO
The Empire District Electric Company
Carl Junction, Missouri
(Age 49, Director since 2011)
 
Bill Gibson
William Gipson
Retired President and CEO
The Empire District Electric Company
Shell Knob, Missouri
(Age 58, Director since 2002)
Ross Hartley
Ross Hartley
Co-Founder and Director
NIC, Inc.
Teton Village, Wyoming
(Age 67, Director since 1988)
 
Randy Laney
Randy Laney
Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Empire District Electric Company
Farmington, Arkansas
(Age 60, Director since 2003)
Bonnie Lind
Bonnie Lind
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Neenah Paper Inc.
Alpharetta, Georgia
(Age 56, Director since 2009)
 
Thomas Mueller
Thomas Mueller
Founder, President and CEO
SALOV North America Corporation
Montclair, New Jersey
(Age 67, Director since 2003)
Thomas Ohlmacher
Thomas Ohlmacher
Retired President and COO of Black Hills
Corporation’s Non-Regulated Energy Group
Fort Collins, Colorado
(Age 63, Director since 2011)
 
Paul Portney
Dr. Paul Portney
Retired Professor of Economics and former Dean
Eller College of Management
University of Arizona
Santa Barbara, California
(Age 69, Director since 2009)
Herbert Schmidt
Herbert Schmidt
Retired Executive Vice President, Con-way Inc. and
President, Con-way Truckload
The Villages, Florida
(Age 59, Director since 2010)
 
James Sullivan
C. James Sullivan
Principal
The Sullivan Group LLC
Birmingham, Alabama
(Age 68, Director since 2010)


Committees of the Board
Audit Committee – Allen2, Hartley, Lind2, Mueller2 (Chair)
Compensation Committee – Allen, Laney, Ohlmacher (Chair), Portney, Schmidt
Nominating/Corporate Governance Committee – Allen, Hartley (Chair), Laney, Lind, Sullivan
Retirement Committee – Gipson, Lind (Chair), Mueller, Ohlmacher, Sullivan
Strategic Projects Committee – Gipson, Ohlmacher, Portney (Chair), Schmidt, Sullivan
Executive Committee – Beecher (Chair), Gipson, Laney, Mueller, Schmidt
Risk Oversight Committee – Hartley, Laney (Chair), Mueller, Ohlmacher, Portney

1 Ages shown as of March 1, 2015.
2 Audit Committee Financial Expert.