SEED Selects State Representative Patricia Haddad as the “Regional Business Advocate of the Year”

The South Eastern Economic Development (SEED) Corporation has selected State Representative Patricia Haddad as the “Regional Business Advocate of the Year”. The award will be presented at SEED’s 34th Annual Meeting at 5:30 pm on Thursday, December 1 at White’s of Westport in Westport, Ma.

“This year, it is our pleasure to present the Regional Business Advocate of the Year award to Representative Patricia Haddad for her exceptional contribution to the region’s economic development,” stated Maria Gooch-Smith, SEED’s executive director.

“When the two aging electric power plants in Somerset closed, Pat responded in an extraordinary manner. Facing the loss of hundreds of jobs and the town’s biggest source of tax revenue, Pat reacted by embracing the future,” added Gooch-Smith.

Pat Haddad understood that new and different sources of energy were the future for her hometown of Somerset, the region and the state. She set out to learn all she could about new energy sources, studying, traveling and transforming herself into one of the legislature’s leading experts in renewable energy. Her efforts culminated in the enactment of comprehensive energy diversity legislation in August of 2016.

“The south coast of Massachusetts has been called the Saudi Arabia of wind and the legislation filed by Representative Haddad will enable the development of offshore wind in New Bedford and other coastal communities including Somerset,” explained Gooch-Smith.”

In a letter accompanying the legislation, Pat stated that new energy sources such as offshore wind off the coast of Massachusetts were needed because coal and oil plants are disappearing, no new nuclear plants are being built, and on-shore wind and hydro power are not sufficient to meet demand.

Pat Haddad is the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Massachusetts House of Representatives representing Dighton, Swansea, and Taunton in addition to her hometown of Somerset. She has served as a state representative since 2000.

In the last 16 years, Pat has served on many state committees, and has received many awards. Most recently, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and was named Bristol Community College’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year.

Prior to her career in government, Pat was a health and physical education teacher in Somerset where she also chaired the Somerset School Committee, and served on the Recreation Commission.

According to Gooch-Smith, the “Regional Business Advocate of the Year” award was established in 1999 in memory of Gus Yankopoulos, who was the director of the Wareham Community Development Authority, and spent a life time working with various economic development organizations, including SEED, for the betterment of the region.

In addition to the “Regional Business Advocate of the Year” award, SEED will present the “Small Business of the Year” award to J.M. Pet Resort of Brockton, Massachusetts. The guest speaker at SEED’s Annual Meeting is Robert Nelson, the Massachusetts District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

At the Annual Meeting, SEED members will vote on a slate for officers, directors and members for 2017. The slate for SEED officers includes: Richard Shafer, chair (Taunton Development Corporation); Jennifer Menard, vice chair (Bristol Community College); Charles Dwyer, vice chair (Middlesex Savings Bank); Lorraine Travers, CPA, treasurer; Robert Reisner, assistant treasurer (Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank); William Lewis, clerk (Bristol County Savings Bank); Wayne Carvalho, assistant clerk (First Citizens Federal Credit Union); and Gerard Nadeau, past chair (Rockland Trust Company).

SEED is a non-profit corporation certified in late 1982 by the SBA.  SEED provides financing ranging from a $1,000 micro loan to a $5.5 million SBA 504 loan to small businesses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In 2016, SEED made 68 loans totaling $16.9 million and creating 270 jobs.

SEED’s directors and members represent small businesses, financial institutions, local officials and community organizations. Members meet on an annual basis to elect a board of directors and officers.  For more information about the Annual Meeting and SEED’s programs call 508-822-1020 or visit www.seedcorp.com.

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