Board of Directors
Jared Hopper is currently the Assistant Sales Manager for Hutchinson/Mayrath. Jared graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics in 1999. He furthered his education working on dual Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics and Entomology. Since receiving his Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, he worked in the banking industry for 7 years, serving as the Facility CEO with the Citizen’s National Bank in Clay Center. He also worked for Kansas State University for two years as an Agricultural Economist with the Kansas Farm Management Program. Jared and his wife, Jenee, have been married for 13 years and live near Riley, Kansas with their three children, Bryan Brett, and Natalie. Aside from activities with the children, they also operate a small farming operation consisting of row crops and a cow-calf operation. In addition, they attend many Kansas State University sporting events and are Green Bay Packer fans. Jared also enjoys sports, hunting, and being outdoors.
Keith Blake served four years in the United States Air Force as a medic, including a tour in Vietnam. He received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from Kansas State University. In 1978, he joined Hutchinson Mfg. in sales and advanced to the position of sales and marketing manager. During this time, Keith traveled extensively promoting grain handling equipment including the newly developed en-masse conveyors. Keith was highly involved with Hutchinson as the ownership transitioned from Royal Industries, to Lear Siegler Inc., to Forstmann Little & Co. and to TIC United. In 2003, he joined Union State Bank and was promoted to Vice President. As a loan officer, he works with consumer, farm and commercial accounts. He has served on the USD 379 site council for 21 years; coached youth sports and is an Elder at his church. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Mindy and their four sons, attending his kid’s activities, hunting, fishing and working out.
Clay Center Public Utility Commission
Maury Catlin entered the banking profession at People’s National Bank in 1984 and was a Vice President when he resigned in 1998 to assist in the establishment of the Clay County National Bank in Clay Center, a de novo branch of the Girard National Bank. He first served as Vice President, and by 2004, helped the branch grow from its downtown corner location experiment phase to a new banking facility on the west side of town. In 2008, he was promoted to President, and in the years since, the branch has experienced approximately 50% growth. Prior to banking, Maury taught vocational agriculture and was the FFA Advisor in Clay Center for seven years. He received his BS and MS degrees in agricultural education from Kansas State University. He and the bank actively support local community and county organizations, events, and projects. He enjoys gardening, fishing, and hunting; but his favorite past times are spending time with his grandchildren, traveling with his wife Beth, and taking an active role in their church
Brad Girton, Girton Propane. Brad Girton is the Vice President and operations manager for Girton Propane Service. He grew up around the family owned business and after going to school in Emporia for 2 years entered into the business full time. Brad started out working in the shop repairing and maintaining the companies equipment. He later split his time in the shop and dispatching trucks. Thru the years as the company has evolved and grew he has focused his time on increasing business and the dispatching of the trucks. Today Girton Propane Service operates 130 power units and over 200 trailers across the USA focusing on Ag chemicals, a variety of general chemicals and oils. The company operates three terminals out of Clay Center and Elwood, KS along with East St Louis, IL.
Gary Griffiths is a retired president of Hutchinson/Mayrath and the Wil-Rich Division in Wahpeton, North Dakota. He joined the company in the sales department and by retirement had led the company in increasing sales from a half million to over thirty million. In addition to his work at Hutchinson/Mayrath, Gary also served as a Clay County Medical Center Foundation board member, and is the Chairman of the Board for the Union State Bank. Gary grew up on a farm west of Clay Center, attended a one room grade school and the local high school before graduating from the University of Kansas. After several initial jobs in Texas and Missouri, he and his wife decided to return to their hometown to raise their family and have been active in the local community ever since. They are grateful for the opportunity to live in this community and for the benefits it has provided to their sons.
Bryant Johnson is the Facility CEO and Loan Officer of the The Citizens National Bank in Clay Center. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance from Kansas State University in 2011, Bryant started his career in the banking industry as an Agricultural Lender with Citizens State Bank and Trust of Woodbine, Kan. He spent a year in Woodbine before accepting his current position with The Citizens National Bank. Bryant is also a licensed insurance agent with the Padgett Insurance Agency. When Bryant isn’t in the office, you can find him spending time with his fiancée Shaley, or helping on his family farm near Concordia where he was raised. Bryant resides in Clay Center and is an avid sports and fitness enthusiast.
Lyssa Kemper is an accountant with the local CPA firm Woods & Durham, Chartered. Lyssa is a new face in Clay Center as she just moved to Kansas in 2014 when her husband was stationed at Fort Riley. They transferred here from Fort Wainwright in Alaska and currently live outside the town of Milford. Lyssa grew up in a rural community in California where she started her career as a bookkeeper for Neal Hendrix Hay Co. a hay and trucking company. Upon moving to Alaska, Lyssa received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. While in Alaska she worked as a bookkeeper for OCD Builders a construction company and also for Cook & Haugeberg LLC. a CPA firm. Lyssa has been with Woods and Durham for the past year and prior to that was working as an accountant with Kansas Department of Agriculture. Lyssa is hosting three of our Business Boosters series classes. In their free time Lyssa and her husband enjoy working on their house, garden and their small team of rescued huskies.
Scott Leitzel serves as the Vice President of Operations for Twin Valley Telephone & Communications, Inc., with 18 total years of experience in the Telecom industry. Prior to his current 5 years at Twin Valley, Scott spent 13 years at at&t in several leadership roles within network operations, field marketing, and online marketing & sales. Scott was born and grew up in Wichita, KS, graduating from Bishop Carroll High School in 1993. Scott holds a B.S. in Physics & Math from Rockhurst University and a M.S. in Telecommunications Management from Oklahoma State University. He also serves on the Parish Council for SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church and coaches youth baseball. He resides in Clay Center, KS, with his wife Tresy and their three children, Alexa, Ethan and Braden.
Steve McMahan and his wife Sheryl were both born and raised in Clay County. After graduating from Kansas State University and teaching Junior High Math and Science at Chapman for two years, the couple returned to Clay Center and Steve started working at Central Office Service and Supply. In 1977 he became a co-owner of the organization helping it expand in both products offered and geographic area in North Central Kansas. Steve and his wife have three grown children and five grandchildren. He is active in community and church affairs, serving as an Elder in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and as a frequent delegate to the denominational Synod. He served on the National Reformed Presbyterian Board of Trustees and is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. Steve has served as president of the Clay Center Rotary Club, of which he is still a member, as well as the Clay Center Housing Authority and the Chamber of Commerce.
Randy Rundle is the owner and founder of Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts. Randy established Fifth Avenue Antique Auto Parts in 1987 to market his new invention, a six volt alternator for antique vehicles. Randy's 6-volt alternator provides a 60 percent greater output from the charging system of antique and classic vehicles resulting in brighter headlights and easier starting and a more dependable vehicle. Randy has gone on to develop over forty specialized products for antique vehicles for customers in all of the fifty states and sixteen foreign countries. Among his more notable customers are the Queen of England and the movie studios of Hollywood. Among the movies he has worked on include..."Devil In A Blue Dress, LA Confidential, and the most recent Indiana Jones movie "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. You can view some of his past projects at his website www.fifthaveinternetgarage.com.
Karla Sweet is Assistant Vice President at United Bank & Trust. Karla has been in the banking industry for 11 years holding responsibilities on the deposit and loan side. Karla recently graduated in December 2014 from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. Karla and her husband Jeremy have 2 children, Emilee and Aiden.
James Thatcher - Mayor of Clay Center
Ned Valentine has been editor of the Clay Center Dispatch since 1969 and is now publisher. The Valentine family has been part of the Clay Center community since his great uncle, Del Valentine, came to Clay Center and got into the business in the early 1880s. He attended the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and is a former president of the Kansas Press Association. Ned was a founding member of EDG in 1985 and served numerous times as chairman.