By Donald Jay Howton

Freddie F. Freeman of Bessemer has been the storm water specialist, Storm Water Management for the city of Bessemer since 2015. The son of a U.S. Air Force airman stationed in Germany, Freddie was born in Germany in 1958. Prior to taking the storm water specialist job, he was a water pollution control specialist with Bessemer Utilities. An affable person, Freddie has been a member of Bethel AME Church in Ensley for 25 years. He is retired from Alabama Power with 25 years of service. Freddie thanks God for his many blessings, but especially for the great people he has worked with his entire career.

What is a storm water specialist? Freddie: I manage the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) MS4 permit for the city of Bessemer. It is my job to ensure that the city of Bessemer minimizes pollution introduced into our waterways as much as possible.

What are your responsibilities? Freddie: I am responsible for the management of activities that ensure the city of Bessemer meets the requirements of the ADEM MS4 permit. Among the activities I coordinate include a Lunch and Learn Forum, Valley Creek Clean-Up Day, Hazardous Household Collection Day, sponsor elementary school children for the Urban Forestry Fair and the Water Festival at Samford University, and participate in the Rain Barrel Workshop and the Homebuilders Workshop.

What has been most challenging? Freddie: First and foremost, I am committed to changing the mindset of the citizens of Bessemer on the subject of litter. We must reduce littering; we are making inroads. One way we are addressing this most important issue is through education. I am convinced talking with elementary school students will make a difference.

Tell me about your family? Freddie: I was born in 1958 the second child of five of the late Rose and Freddie Freeman, Sr. I am married to Vanessa Hornbuckle Freeman and have two children, April, 41 and Jeremy, 33 and three grandchildren, Kaleb, 20, Laila, 16 and Leighton, 5. My father was from the coast of North Carolina and my mother from Louisiana.

Are you a member of any service organizations? Freddie: I am a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the 2015 president of the Omicron Lambda Chapter, Birmingham, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

What is your favorite meal? Freddie: I love seafood, especially grouper and snapper, but my wife’s gumbo served with a garden salad, fried oysters, crab claws and cornbread is delicious. My favorite dessert is peach cobbler.

What is your educational background? Freddie: I graduated from the University of Alabama in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and earned my Master’s degree in Environmental Management in 2004.

Do you have a favorite NFL team? Freddie: I have been a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan since my family was stationed at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. My favorite professional players include Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Mel Blount, John Stallworth and Najee Harris.