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Six-year Empire Electric board member to retire

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Bill Helton, member of the board of directors for Joplin-based Empire District Electric Co. since 2004, will retire in April. Thomas Ohlmacher, president and chief operations officer of South Dakota-based Black Hills Corp.'s Nonregulated Energy Group, has been nominated to take his place.

Helton is a retired chairman and CEO of Denver-based New Century Energies, now a part of Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy, according to an Empire news release.

"We thank Bill for his years of valuable counsel," Randy Laney, chairman of the board, said in the release. "His vast experience in the utility industry has been a tremendous asset."

Ohlmacher has held his position with Black Hills Corp. since 2001 but has been with the company since 1974, formerly holding a job as plant chemist, as well as positions in water management and generation maintenance and management, according to the release.

As president of the company's nonregulated business unit, Ohlmacher has presided over the company's Wyodak Resource and Development coal mine in Wyoming; the Enserco marketing business, the gas, crude and coal commodity trading business of the company; and the Black Hills Exploration and Production Co., which produces oil and gas in the Rocky Mountains, the release said.

"We are fortunate to replace Bill with a board member with utility expertise," Laney said in the release. "Tom brings more than 36 years of utility experience and we are confident he will enhance our board as we move forward.”

The board will vote on Ohlmacher's nomination at the annual stockholders meeting April 28, the same day Helton will retire.[[In-content Ad]]

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