Board of Directors

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS

Susan Mergen, President
Development Director
The Center for Human Services/Children’s Therapy Center

As the Development Director for the Center for Human Services since 1996, part of my job is to spread  our mission, Overcoming barriers to achieve a fulfilled life.   I have served on the Sedalia Chamber Board since 2013 and the Executive Board since 2014, the Women’s Service League since 1996, and the Quisenberry School House Community Club.  Rick and I are the proud parents of our son, Christopher.  “I believe in supporting our local businesses and area not for profits.”

John Meehan, Past President

I spent thirty years in the banking and finance industry in Sedalia before my first retirement. Then, Pettis County folks gave me the opportunity to serve them for four years as their county presiding commissioner. I realized early in my career that Sedalia was a great place to live, work, worship, raise a family, serve, and retire. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife, Mary and two daughters, Katie and Kelly. They are both married with families of their own. We are very proud grandparents of three grandsons, Matthew, Andrew (A.J.) and Jack.

 

William Weibert, President Elect
Publisher
Sedalia Democrat

I am the Publisher of the Sedalia Democrat and oversee the daily operations from our daily print products, our printing facility, carrier force and web-site. I came to the Sedalia Democrat in 2017 from the Rapid City Journal in Rapid City, South Dakota. Prior to the Rapid City Journal, I was the sales manager for the Scotts Bluff Star-Herald, a Berkshire-Hathaway newspaper, from 2004-14.
I was born and raised in Western, Nebraska and am a graduate of Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska where I received a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance and Economics and wrestled for the Chadron State Eagles. After college I moved back to my home town and I was involved with several community boards and coached football, wrestling and baseball. I am currently a member of the Lions Club and Rotary in Sedalia.
I am married to my beautiful wife, Shala, and we have five very active children, Cara, 20, Joe 19, Alan, 18, Avery, 13, and Nikolas, 10

 

Craig Hahn, Treasurer
Market President & Chief Revenue Officer
Townsquare Media

Craig Hahn is the Market President and Chief Revenue Officer for the Sedalia Townsquare Media Inc. Prior to joining Townsquare, Hahn was General Manager at First Media Radio in North Carolina, and notably was the Regional Director of Interactive Sales and Training for Citadel Interactive as well as VP Sales Development for Cox Radio Interactive. Manager at First Media Radio in North Carolina, and notably was the Regional Director of Interactive Sales and Training for Citadel Interactive as well as VP Sales Development for Cox Radio Interactive.

 

Katie Shannon, VP Membership
Community Relations Coordinator
Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre

Lyceum board member Katie Shannon, who goes above and beyond with our marketing department, promoting our spectacular season and our unique special events. She connects staff members to community leaders, and also rolls up her sleeves to help do the work of marketing on a grassroots level. She’s a font of energy and enthusiasm, and is always there when we need her.
Katie comes to us from Wisconsin and has been a Marshall native for over 19 years. She graduated from Missouri Valley College (where she was on the rodeo team), with a B.S. in marketing/management in 2004, and she then attended Lindenwood University at MVC, attaining a M.A. in management. Katie met and married her husband Trafton, a fourth generation farmer from Saline County. Together they have an “awesomely humorous” 9-year-old son, Dexter, who Katie enjoys teaching the “life of the theatre.”
With Katie’s love for children and love for the theatre, she has a vital role in hosting our Theater for Young Audiences productions, working with over 100 different schools in Missouri to coordinate attendance, in addition to promoting, working with media outlets and helping get the word out in every way she can.
Katie launched the Lyceum Liaisons, a group of ladies that plan events for the cast, crew and staff of the theatre during regular season shows. Her creativity, sense of adventure and love of traveling makes her a true asset with the Lyceum Trippers, strategizing their exciting travels. Her travels also take her throughout the state of Missouri, attending conferences and giving presentations on behalf of the Lyceum Theatre.
Seven years ago Katie’s philanthropic journey began with her son Dexter’s school, where she got involved with co-chairing for St. Peter School Dinner & Auction. This led into working with Fitzgibbon Hospital in the Annual Fling Gala and the Auxiliary. She then began assisting with the Missouri River Bird Observatory and their Fashion Show Gala in Kansas City. Katie is an Alumni Board Member for Missouri Valley College, a Marshall and Sedalia Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Marshall Chamber Ambassador Board Member, Sedalia Executive Board Member Lyceum Theatre Board Member (receiving “Outstanding Performance Award” 2017), serves as an Optimist Member and a Marshall Lions Club Member. In 2018 she was honored with the “National Philanthropy Day Award” in Columbia, MO.

 

 

 

Mykel Schlotterbeck, VP Business
Owner/Operator
Comfort Inn Sedalia Station

I was born and raised in Sedalia; and graduated from Smith Cotton High School.  I have been involved in the day to day activities of three award-winning hotels in the west-central Missouri area.  I have been in the hospitality industry for over twenty years.  In addition, I am an elected delegate, and past Comfort Inn Committee Chair of the Choice Hotels Owners Council.  I have been active with Sedalia’s Chamber of Commerce and CVB for over seven years, as well as with the Chambers and Visitors Bureaus in Warrensburg and Marshall.  I have been married to my husband, Dave, for 25 years and am the proud mother of two boys.

 

Lauren Thiel-Payne, VP Community
Executive Director Bothwell Foundation
Bothwell Regional Health Center

Lauren Thiel is the executive director of the Bothwell Foundation. Thiel spent five years working for the American Heart Association (AHA),which included nearly four years as the corporate marketing and event director in Springfield, Missouri, and more than one year supporting marketing and event planning in AHA’s Columbia, Missouri, office.
Prior to joining AHA, she spent two years working for Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri as the special events manager.
Thiel earned a bachelor of science degree in business and a bachelor of science degree in Spanish from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. She is originally from Marshall, Missouri.

 

 

Board of Directors

Chris Pyle-Sedalia #200 School DistrictChris Pyle
Special Services Director
Sedalia #200 School District

I am pleased to be on the board for The Sedalia Area Chamber Of Commerce. Sedalia is a wonderful place to live and work and the chamber intends on helping our community be even stronger. I work for the Sedalia School District #200 as the Special Services Director and I am proud of our staff and the efforts we make on a daily basis to also help Sedalia to be a choice location. I am also appreciative of the opportunity to serve on the Local Area Special Educators Group as their Vice President. My wife Lisa and I are thankful to be raising our two children in the Sedalia area.

 

Carolyn Crooker
Executive Director
Convention and Visitors Bureau

As the Executive Director of the Sedalia Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) I work to bring events to Sedalia, and help visiting groups while they are here. In addition to serving on the Chamber board, I serve on the MTC and MACVB tourism boards. I and ten others represent Missouri Division of Tourism on the ‘Show-Me Sports’ tourism team. My husband and I live six miles north of Sedalia on a small farm with two of our three children/grandchildrens’ homes adjoining. Our other son and wife live/work in Carrollton, but visit regularly. We have fun family gatherings, and often!

 

Jessica Craig
Executive Director
Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County

Jessica L. Craig serves as the Executive Director of Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County, leading business retention, business expansion, new business formation and business attraction activities for Sedalia and Pettis County, Missouri.  For more than 15 years, Jessica has been dedicated to economic and workforce development at the local, regional and statewide levels.  Throughout her economic development career, Mrs. Craig has led economic and workforce development activities which resulted in 5,330 new jobs and $895 Million capital investment throughout the state of Missouri.  Milestone economic development projects include successful ventures with DuPont Pioneer, Stanley Black & Decker, Sierra Bullets, AT&T, Aviation Technical Services, Owens Corning, Nucor Steel and the establishment of the Midwest’s largest rail-served industrial park in Sedalia, Missouri.  A 1999 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School, Jessica resides in rural Morgan County, Missouri with her husband, Brandon, and is an active partner in their beef cattle ranch. Brandon and Jessica are proud parents to McKinzey (6), Savannah (4) and Elliott (4 months)

 

Israel Baeza
Eastern Commissioner
Pettis County Commissioner

 

 

 

 

 

Raeanne Spears
Planner/ Downtown Specialist
City of Sedalia

 

 

 

 

Courtney Fry
Missouri State Fair

I am a native of Appleton City, MO, and a proud graduate of Northwest Missouri State University. Once A Bearcat, Always A Bearcat!
Before my present role as the Concessions/Off-Season Events Manager at the Missouri State Fair, I spent the last decade working for the fifth largest non-profit in the world, the YMCA. During my time just down the road in Marshall, MO at the Salt Fork YMCA; I served in numerous different capacities from an Intern to Aquatics Director to Senior Operations Director. I was able to engage with the community on many different levels through the Y’s work with the Inter-Agency Council, Saline County Heartsafe Coalition, and many other community organizations. While working at the Y, I met my husband, Jeremy, who is currently the Library/Media Specialist and Instructional Technology Specialist at Sedalia Middle School.
My current role with the Missouri State Fair allows me to promote, schedule, and contract events and activities on the Fairgrounds. Our goal is to maximize year-round use of the Fairgrounds by attracting and servicing a variety of quality events that will generate revenue and benefit our local economy.
When not at work, Jeremy and I enjoy spending time with our boxer, Oliver, working on the family farm, and relaxing at the lake.

 

SSG Lee Whited-National GuardSSG Lee Whited
Staff Sergeant
Missouri Army National Guard

Working full-time for the Army National Guard brought me to the Sedalia area in July of 2009. I worked as a Human Resource Specialist for four years, which also included a deployment to Kuwait in 2012-2013. After returning home, I worked as a recruiter for two years in Sedalia for the Army National Guard. Being involved in the community was a large part of being a recruiter which got me involved with the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce. With the help of the Chamber, a group of us started the Sedalia Young Professionals in 2014. The first year I served as the Professional Development chair, the following year I served as the Vice President, and I am now currently serving as President for the group. In August of 2015 I started working at Whiteman Air Force Base for the Army National Guard as a Supply Sergeant for HHC 1-135th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion. I am the proud father of a beautiful five year old daughter, Tayen Whited.

 

 

Billie Barnes Holman, VP Business-ReMAX

Billie Barnes Holman
Realtor
RE/MAX of Sedalia

Born and raised in Sedalia, Missouri, I have been selling real estate for 10 years at RE/MAX of Sedalia.  Over the years I have been an active board member for Red Cross and United Way.  Currently I serve on the boards of the Sedalia School District Foundation, Sedalia Chamber and West Central Board of Realtors.  Together my husband Todd Holman and I have five children.  With four of them in high and one in college, a lot of our spare time involves going to soccer games and choir events.  I also enjoy spending time outdoors, gardening and antiquing.

 

Sarah Cheatham
Certified Athletic Trainer
SERC Physical Therapy

 

 

 

 

Ahrazue Wilt
Agent/Owner

 

 

 

 

Brenda Sleeper
Office Manager
Central Missouri Electric Cooperative

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Kraus
Commercial Insurance
Insurance Benefits Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy David Pratt of Inter-State Studio & Publishing