APR Member Spotlight: Brian Chandler, APR

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your current position?

As the Founder and CEO of Commonwealth Public Relations, I oversee a full-service firm specializing in PR, marketing, social media, and content development. With clients located throughout Virginia and across the nation, we offer comprehensive services to meet the needs of diverse industries. I’m a former board member of Richmond PRSA and have served on multiple committees. I am currently on the board of the Marine Marketers of America.

Where are you from? Where did you go to school?

I spent my childhood in Dublin, a small town located in the New River Valley of Virginia. In 1997, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College.

How long have you been in PR?

In 1998, I left journalism and joined a public relations firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, which marked the beginning of my career in PR. Following a decade of agency work, I relocated to Richmond in 2008 to become the director of public relations for Virginia Blood Services, which is now the Red Cross. Although I worked in-house for a year, I ultimately returned to agency life, founding Commonwealth PR in 2009.

Can you share why you decided to join PRSA Richmond?

Throughout my career in PR, I have consistently pursued professional development opportunities through various resources. Local PRSA chapters, including PRSA Richmond, have been an exceptional resource for me, providing not only excellent networking opportunities but also a supportive community for partnerships, education, and friendships.

Why did you decide to pursue your APR? Why do you feel it is important for communications and PR professionals?

While In Charlotte, our agency culture emphasized the pursuit of the APR. This designation represents ethical and professional practice, which is crucial for our industry. By obtaining the APR, we have the opportunity to showcase our industry at a higher level of professionalism.

When you’re not working, what are some of your hobbies or things you are passionate about?

I would bet that the majority of my colleagues in Richmond’s PR industry know that I enjoy fishing, both freshwater and saltwater. Aside from that sport, I also enjoy golfing, outdoor activities, and being with my family.

What’s your favorite local restaurant or hangout spot?

In winter, I like to go to TopGolf in Richmond. I usually go there with my friends and sometimes my 10-year-old daughter joins me too. We practice golf, play Angry Birds golf, and also play virtual golf courses from different parts of the world.