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New Chamber of Commerce
takes shape in Brookhaven
BH MELISSA WEINMAN
As Brookhaven’s new city govern
ment takes shape, the business commu
nity is organizing as well.
The Brookhaven Chamber of Com
merce had its first official day Jan. 1, said
Todd Lantier, the chairman of the board
The chamber evolved from the
Brookhaven Community Connec
tion, a monthly networking group for
Brookhaven businesspeople. When it
came time for the nonprofit to refile its
articles of incorporation, the group offi
cially changed its name to the Brookhav
en Chamber of Commerce.
The leaders of the Brookhaven Com
munity Connection — including Lantier,
who served as president - stayed on to
become founding members of the board
of directors for the Chamber of Com
merce. Arthur Freeman was brought in
to act as the chamber’s executive direc
tor and CEO, and Terrell Carstens is the
One of the chamber’s main functions
will be to serve as an advocate for busi
nesses at City Hall.
“We are the voice of businesses in
Brookhaven,” Freeman said.
Lantier said the board is more than
just symbolic leadership — members are
taking a very active role in the chamber’s
“We are the employees,” Lantier
said. “We’re all giving money, we’re seed
funding it. Our commitment to this is
we’re putting our own money here.”
The chamber’s leaders are no strang
ers to start-up organizations after spend
ing the past several months helping to
create the city of Brookhaven.
Lantier represented District 2 on the
Governor’s Commission on Brookhav
en. Freeman and Carstens volunteered
for the commission to help get the new
city up and running, Freeman said.
“We were all heavily involved in the
movement and ultimate creation of the
city,” Freeman said.
Freeman said he was retired before
taking the executive director position
for the chamber, having spent part of his
career in environmental engineering and
part of his career in information tech
nology. He volunteered to work with
Brookhaven Yes, an advocacy group
that promoted creation of the city of
“It was kind of interesting because I
was a retired citizen and decided to just
volunteer with Brookhaven Yes. But be
cause of my background, I kept getting
placed in positions with more and more
responsibility,” Freeman said. “When it
was over, I realized I was out of work and
I liked it too much. It would be kind of
fun to continue in some capacity. I did
not want to work for City Hall, but then
Todd [Lantier] came by and offered me
the position of executive director and I
jumped on it.”
“We are the voice
of businesses in
- ARTHUR FREEMAN
BROOKHAVEN CHAMBER OF COM
MERCE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Freeman said the chamber is now in
the process of organizing and planning.
Committees have been formed to con
centrate on membership, business de
velopment, economic development, ed
ucation and the work force. A public
announcement and inaugural event are
in the works for February.
“We’ve had two board of directors
meetings putting together our strategic
plan for 2013,” Freeman said.
Lantier said he’s pleased with the new
“I’m thrilled. I’m really excited about
how things are going,” Lantier said.
Todd Lantier, chairman of
the board of the Brookhaven
Chamber of Commerce.
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