Derek Waite

Executive Director of Origination

January 2023

As Executive Director of Origination at ACES, Derek Waite interacts with various market participants such as power marketing firms, renewable developers, IOUs, and merchant generators to identify various products available in the market to support ACES Members’ and Customers’ portfolios. “There’s no one solution, so we’re always trying to find a variety of options,” says Derek.

Derek started his journey at ACES as an Hourly Trader in 2014 at our East Regional Trading Center (RTC) in Raleigh, North Carolina. Derek enjoyed his time in Raleigh, but moved to Indiana a few months later to fill an opening at ACES’ headquarters. His family lived in St. Louis, Missouri, so the move was beneficial both personally and professionally. Derek has been a great asset to ACES, always filling in where his skills and experience are needed most. A couple years after arriving in Carmel, ACES’ Business Development team experienced turnover due to retirements, and Derek stepped in to fill the gap. While in Business Development, Derek collaborated with ACES’ Origination team on several projects, so when there was an opening in Origination, it was the perfect opportunity to challenge himself in another role. In 2021, Derek briefly transitioned to ACES’ Natural Gas Trading team to fill a vacancy, but then returned to Origination. “Origination is my strong suit,” says Derek, “I worked in that role prior to joining ACES. I love negotiating and making sure each deal is appropriate and beneficial for our Members, not just from a cost standpoint, but also credit, contracts, etc., and that our Members’ interests are protected.”

Derek grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois, or “Central Illinois, as Don Gulley would tell you,” Derek jokes. Derek was always interested in commodities, and knew he wanted to work in trading. He pursued an Agricultural Economics degree from the University of Illinois, followed by a Masters in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wyoming, where his thesis on forecasting corn prices contributed to a published study. Derek began his career trading grain at ConAgra, but following energy deregulation in the late 1990s, Derek transitioned to the energy trading industry. He worked at Aquila, Inc. in Kansas City, and spent some time at Kansas City Power and Light as a Power Trader. In 2004, after starting a family, he and his wife wanted to be closer to St. Louis, and Derek took a power trading position on the inaugural power trading desk at Ameren Energy Marketing (AEM), where he worked with Don Gulley, Don Moser, and Mark Eacret, all familiar names at ACES. Towards the end of his tenure at AEM, Derek was Program Manager for Homefield Energy and helped develop the initial Illinois Municipal Aggregation of small commercial and residential customers, which at the time was the largest retail aggregation of its kind. The effectiveness of this aggregation ultimately led to the acquisition of AEM by another company, and that is when Derek’s career path turned to electric cooperatives. “I love the coordination and collaboration among all the groups at ACES. Everyone’s goals are aligned for the same purpose without competing agendas, and that is to provide the best service for our Members and Customers. My customer is the resident at the end of the line; I’m from a small town, so it’s very personal to me,” says Derek about what he likes most about ACES and electric cooperatives.

Outside the office, Derek and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters, Audrey and Amelia. Audrey is a sophomore at Indiana University and has plans to attend law school after graduation. Amelia is a seventh grader and plays travel club volleyball. Derek is a marathon runner and most recently completed the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in December. He also enjoys golf, but ultimately enjoys spending time with his family and being a dad. Derek notes, “You realize once your children go off to college that you’ll never get that time back. So I’m going to do everything I can to spend time with my youngest while I still can.” 

Derek’s advice to new employees is to “Always try to do more than you’re capable of. You may not have all the abilities required to do a specific job, but you can get there. Try for those new positions if they interest you, even if you have limited knowledge. Everyone at ACES is willing to help, and you have the support network needed to succeed. Remember, God does not call the equipped, he equips the called.”