|Blake Mertens, general manager of energy supply at Empire District Electric Company, will join the board of directors for the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center beginning March 2011.
A graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and Missouri State University with a master's degree in business, Mertens also holds a professional engineering license in the state of Kansas. He is a graduate of Leadership Joplin and Leadership Missouri and is the acting treasurer on the board of directors for the Bulldog Youth Athletic Association in Carl Junction.
Having grown up in rural south central Kansas, Mertens spent countless hours during his childhood hunting, fishing, and enjoying nature on his grandfather's farm. His hobbies include golfing, scuba diving, and coaching and watching his two daughters perform in sports.
He and his wife, Dawn, a teacher in the Joplin R-8 school district, and their two daughters Brianna (13) and Courtney (8) reside in Carl Junction.
Other board members include: Christine Baker, The Insurancenter; Christie Barnhart, Missouri American Water; Charley Burwick, retired; Vicki Cassady, Ozark Gateway Audubon Chapter president; Rebecca Dunham, Arvest Bank; Mike Pence, retired businessman; Bob Schroeppel, Missouri Department of Conservation; Bruce Walker, Otolaryngology of Joplin.