Members of  the Brookhaven Development Authority are sworn in April 9. From left, Tim Peaden, Susan Coker and Pat Hoban.
Members of the Brookhaven Development Authority are sworn in April 9. From left, Tim Peaden, Susan Coker and Pat Hoban.

Brookhaven City Council has appointed seven residents to serve on the city’s development authority.

Several members of the new board were sworn into office by Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Chase Williams at the City Council’s April 9 meeting.

“It’s probably one of the most important boards because they have a lot of authority under state law,” said Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams. “They have a lot of tools in their toolbox.”

Acting as an economic development arm for the city, the Brookhaven Development Authority will have the power to take out bonds to fund big projects.

The development authority promotes economic development opportunities that align with the city’s vision. The city will launch a comprehensive plan in the late summer or early fall that will include a detailed economic development plan, according to a news release from the city.

City Manager Marie Garrett said she envisions the development authority financing a new City Hall and acting as a landlord for the city.

Also, MARTA is planning to redevelop the Brookhaven-Oglethorpe station. “We think MARTA will be on our radar in the coming year, and the development authority will be an important player in that,” Williams said.

Here are the members:

Walt Ehmer, Chair, President and CEO, Waffle House

Ehmer joined Waffle House in 1992 as a senior buyer and was promoted to director of purchasing, vice president of finance and chief financial officer. In 2006, he was promoted to his current role of president and CEO. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and system engineering from Georgia Tech. Ehmer has served as a member of the Georgia Tech Industrial Engineering Advisory Board and the Georgia Tech Alumni Board of Trustees. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association’s Foundation and is a board member of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Luke Anderson, Attorney

Anderson is a licensed patent attorney in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. He specializes in intellectual property law and litigation with an emphasis on patents, trademarks, copyrights, false advertising, licensing and unfair competition. He has represented clients before state and federal courts, as well as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in a variety of disputes ranging from infringement actions to licensing and unfair competition disputes. Anderson has achieved an AVR Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating of legal ability and ethical standards. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Clemson University, a master’s in business administration from the University of South Carolina and a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Susan Coker, Former VP and Treasurer, Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Coker is the former vice president and treasurer for Cox Enterprises, Inc., a $15 billion communications, media and automotive services company. In this role, Coker was responsible for all Cox treasury functions, including oversight of the capital structure, capital markets activities, liquidity/cash management and financial relationship management. Coker also served as vice president and treasurer of Cox Communications, the company’s broadband subsidiary. Coker retired from Cox Enterprises in 2012. She has served on the board of trustees of Saint Martin’s Episcopal School and is active in a variety of community activities. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in business administration from Duke University.

Pat Hoban, CEO, Capitol City Nissan

Hoban is currently CEO of Capitol City Nissan in Chamblee. In 2010, he was named TIME Magazine “Dealer of the Year” for Georgia. Hoban started his career working in a parts warehouse at a Chevrolet dealership in Miami. He went on to own and operate 11 dealerships, including Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, Jaguar, Saab and Mitsubishi. He has an associate’s degree in accounting from Miami-Dade Junior College. Hoban is also actively involved with Camp Twin Lakes, a Rutledge, Ga.-based camp which works with children with special needs and serious illnesses.

Tim Peaden, Attorney

Peaden has handled numerous state and local tax cases in many different states, involving a variety of issues. He currently has active disputes in more than a dozen states. He has been involved with jury trials and appellate courts. Peaden has been listed in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers magazine for more than 10 years. He is a frequent speaker and author on tax litigation topics. He has spoken to numerous professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, the Committee on State Taxation, the Institute for Professionals in Taxation, the Georgia Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the Georgia Society of CPAs. He formerly was an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law and Georgia State University’s Graduate School of Accounting.

John Rhett, Chairman and CEO, SunTrust Investment Services

Rhett has more than 35 years of investment banking and brokerage experience. He currently serves as chairman and CEO of SunTrust Investment Services. He previously served as a broker and municipal bond trader for the Southeast with Merrill Lynch. He also held positions with the investment banking firm Robinson-Humphrey, including serving as manager of the firm’s north Atlanta retail brokerage office. In 2001, Rhett started Alexander Key Investments, which is now SunTrust Investment Services. He is a past president of the Atlanta Municipal Bond Club, and a past member and co-chairman of the Smith Barney Branch Manager Council. He also is a guest lecturer at the Georgia Tech College of Management, vice chairman of the Parish Council of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, chairman of the board of trustees of the Center for the Visually Impaired, and a trustee of Marist School. He has a degree in industrial management from Georgia Tech.

Bruce L. Whitmer, Attorney

Whitmer, a 1971 graduate of Emory Law School, has spent the past 40 years in the private practice of law in Atlanta. Whitmer served as a judicial clerk with U.S. District Court Judge Frank A. Hooper, of the Northern District of Georgia, prior to opening his own law office. In private practice, he has organized and advised hundreds of businesses and dozens of nonprofit organizations on legal and tax matters. Whitmer recently served as president of the Atlanta Track Club, where he helped the organization obtain tax-exempt status and oversaw the search for a new executive director. Prior to law school, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army with the 101st Airborne Division, where he was awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge for service in Vietnam.

Source: city of Brookhaven

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