The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director.
Freida Montalto of Shoreham came aboard with the chamber as of November.
“We’re very excited,” Riverhead Chamber of Commerce president Bob Kern said.
“Freida’s experience as an executive director at a chamber in Kentucky is an absolute asset,” Kern said. “It was a town not unlike Riverhead and she ran a lot of very good programs there.”
Montalto was the unanimous choice of the chamber’s search committee and the board of directors, he said.
Montalto, who grew up on a farm in North Carolina and spent summers in Kentucky, moved to Long Island three years ago to be with her new husband, who is in product development at Canon in Melville.
“We fell in love with the area,” she said in an interview today. “People are so warm and friendly. It reminds me of home, with all the farms. Riverhead is a beautiful place and a great town,” she said.
Montalto has a business degree and a background in finance, hotel management, graphic design and printing. She describes herself as “a jack of all trades.”
Since getting settled in to her new post, she’s been been busy working on events for the coming year.
“We’re looking to bring in informative speakers every month,” she said. The regular monthly meetings, held on the second Thursday of the month, will alternate between a breakfast meeting and a lunch, she said. [The chamber is hosting a breakfast meeting on Thursday, with Town Supervisor Sean Walter as the featured speaker. See separate story.]
“We’re looking to add an after-hours membership event, maybe at the end of every month, which we’ll move around to different venues. Anything we can do to increase networking opportunities is a plus,” she said. “We are here to promote our members — and the vitality of the Riverhead business community as a whole.”
“Freida really loves the town,” Kern said. “She and her family are here to stay.”
Montalto and her husband bought a 100-year-old house in the Village of Shoreham last August. They live with her 18-year-old daughter, two dogs, a cat, three ferrets and some fish, she said, laughing.
Kern said he looks forward to continuing the chamber’s collaboration with the Riverhead BID — a collaboration that produced last summer’s very successful Alive on 25 series.
“That was one of the great things that happened last year,” Kern said, “forging a relationship with the BID and doing Alive on 25. It was an absolute pleasure.”
Montalto succeeds Mary Hughes as executive director of the Riverhead Chamber. Hughes left after four years to accept a position with Peconic Landing in Greenport.
Correction: The original version of this article misspelled Freida Montalto’s first name.