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Outgoing leader recalls time with Franklin chamber

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The second day on the job for the leader of Franklin’s Chamber of Commerce was a bit intimidating, since it was the annual downtown holiday lighting festival.

Tricia Bechman stepped in to oversee one of the chamber’s biggest events in 2002. Since then she’s worked to add events and members to the chamber. In her time as director, the Franklin chamber added more than 100 members, she said.

Bechman has resigned after leading the chamber for 11 years. She will take over as director of the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce in April. Her last day in Franklin is March 26. Seymour has a population of about 18,000 people and is located about 40 minutes south of Franklin. The Seymour chamber is larger, but the job will be similar and allow her to use the skills she’s developed here, she said.

“I’m excited about the possibilities that they’ve got, and I’ll be able to use a lot of great experiences I learned at the Franklin (chamber),” she said.

Bechman grew up in rural Franklin and graduated from Franklin Community High School before going away to college in Illinois. After college, she returned to Johnson County and took the lead at the city chamber of commerce, and since then she’s worked to make the group more prominent in the city.

“I’ve seen a number of businesses come and go and a number that have come and stayed and become very successful,” Bechman said.

The chamber board will search for a new director, board president Lisa Buening said. Buening encouraged local residents who are interested to apply.

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