EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
John Meehan, 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.
Karl Kramer, Past President
McCarthy Toyota/McCarthy Auto Group
In addition to my role as the Communications Director, I am also serving as the current President of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce and 2nd Vice Chair of the Whiteman Air Force Base – Base Community Council Board. I manage the marketing and community involvement for McCarthy Auto Group’s 9 dealerships and 5 Collision Centers. I also serve on several Boards in Kansas City. My wife Kristy and I are approaching our 25th wedding anniversary and we are the proud parents of Kendrick, soon to be 15 and Kennedy, who is currently 13.
Susan Mergen, President Elect
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 18 year- old son, Christopher. “I believe in supporting our local businesses and area not for profits.”
Ahrazue Wilt, VP Membership
American Family Insurance
Ahrazue was born and raised in Sedalia and is raising 2 children here. She is a member of First Baptist Church and her children attend Sacred Heart School. Ahrazue spent 23 years in the Human Resources field working in Arizona for 5 years and Tyson of Sedalia for 18 years before starting her second career as an insurance agency owner.
Ahrazue opened her American Family office in 2012. She employs two staff persons and in the process of expanding staff and relocating to a larger office to serve her customers and to allow the Cosmetology school to expand it’s services.
Employee Benefits Consultant
IBG-Insurance and Benefits Group
I have been with Insurance and Benefits Group since 1983 working with area employers helping to provide solutions for their employee benefits. I am member of The Sedalia Lions Club, The Central Missouri Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and have served as President of the Sedalia Park Board and The Sedalia Paul Klover Soccer League. My wife and I have 12 grandchildren which keep us busy, but we find time for camping, canoeing, hiking and other outdoor activities.
Board of Directors
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.
Dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development
State Fair Community College
Mark Kelchner from State Fair Community College is the Dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development. Mark came to SFCC four years ago after spending 25 years in manufacturing. He spent seven of those years as a contract engineer working with Missouri manufacturers to implement process improvements using Lean and Six Sigma. Mark is Lean Certified and an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt. His vision is to enhance and grow the technical programs in workforce development to better serve the business community by providing responsive and relevant workforce training.
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!
GUESA USA LLC
Born and raised in Venezuela, I came to Sedalia when I was just 16 years of age and graduated from Sacred Heart High School where I was very involved in Sports. I continued my education at State Fair Community College where I obtained an Associate Degree in Science, Arts and an Associate Degree in Nursing. I continued my education at the University of Central Missouri, where I earned a business degree from the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies. While at UCM, I focused my studies in finance, accounting and leadership. I have held many jobs throughout my career including cook, dishwasher, shipper/receives, sales, recruiting, translator, first responder, nursing, among others.
My love for business has grown in the Sedalia community throughout the years with the goal of making a difference in the community. As owner, along with my family of GUESA USA, we have managed to grow a company that manages, operates, and administers many businesses including restaurants, schools, retail shops, sesame seed processing/sales and property management.
I am always looking for a next challenge and I am always available to help anyone who is willing to help themselves. Honesty, leadership, hard work and being fair is how we do business. We strive for perfection, and we acknowledge that Success is a Journey and not a destination.
I look forward to working with anyone in our community and for those outside our community, I can’t wait to meet you so you too can realize, why you will be soon investing in Sedalia, MO.
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.
Robert Rollings Architects, LLC
A native son of Independence, Missouri; graduate of Kansas State University; and Licensed Architect; I have called Sedalia home since 2011. Prior to my arrival I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Greensboro, Alabama. In both places I was engaged in projects that involved sustainable community development, affordable housing and community service. Since adopting Sedalia as my hometown; I have been active with many community groups and activities. In addition to the Chamber of Commerce Board; I currently serve on the Sedalia Citizen’s Committee for Smart Growth, Sedalia Planning and Zoning Board, and Sedalia Young Professionals Board. Through Sedalia Young Professionals, I met my wife, Jill in 2014. Together, we have a son, Maddox; a dog, Mila; and a gecko, Walt. Along with being a dedicated husband and parent, I am an avid runner, voracious reader and black coffee aficionado.
SSG Lee Whited
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.
Art & Graphic Innovations
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.
Billie Barnes Holman
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.
Commercial Insurance Consultant
IBG – Insurance & Benefits Group
Brendan has been with Insurance and Benefits Group since 2015 working with employers on managing risk as well as helping them administer benefits to their employees. He spent his life growing up in Sedalia before attending the University of Missouri in 2011 to obtain his bachelor’s degree. He is a member of The Sedalia Rotary Club as well as a deacon at First Christian Church. Brendan is currently serving on The Public Works Board for Sedalia, Sedalia School District Foundation Board, Pettis County Board of Services, Liberty Center Association for the Arts Board, and as the philanthropy chair for the Sedalia Young Professionals (all current as of 2017). When Brendan isn’t working or volunteering in the community, you can almost bet that he’s out on the golf course.
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
Photos courtesy David Pratt of Inter-State Studio & Publishing