The South Eastern Economic Development (SEED) Corporation has selected Leonard Sullivan, First Executive Vice President of Bristol County Savings Bank, as the “Regional Business Advocate of the Year”. The award will be presented at SEED’s 36th Annual Meeting at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, November 28 at White’s of Westport in Westport, Ma.
“It is our pleasure to present the Regional Business Advocate of the Year award to Leonard Sullivan for his role in the growth of Bristol County Savings Bank over the last 25 years, and his commitment to community organizations which have an impact on the region’s economic development,” stated Maria Gooch-Smith, SEED’s executive director.
Since 1993, Len Sullivan has been responsible for building the commercial lending department at Bristol County Savings Bank which has assisted many small businesses in the region. In 2012, he was promoted to First Executive Vice President, responsible for commercial, consumer and residential loans, and the bank’s business development.
“Community banks like Bristol County Savings stepped in to fill a gap for small business financing when big banks stepped away in the recessions of the early 1990s and 2000s, and Len Sullivan was instrumental in the bank’s role, and its impact on the region’s economy,” explained Gooch-Smith.
Len has also served on the SEED Board of Directors from 1997 to 2003, and on SEED’s Loan Review Committee since 2005. He has been chair of the committee for the last 13 years.
Bristol County Savings Bank was established in 1846 with 29 depositors. Fourteen years later, the bank moved to its first and current headquarters in Taunton. In 1996, the bank opened its first dedicated loan center in Taunton. Today the bank has six loan centers including Attleboro, Dartmouth, Fall River, Franklin, Pawtucket, and Taunton, and 13 branches.
The bank’s total assets have grown to $2 billion, and loans to $1.6 billion. The commercial lending team has grown to 24 members. Commercial loans represent $706 million. This year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in Rhode Island named Bristol County Savings Bank the SBA 7A Lender of the Year.
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 economic development organizations like 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” to Building Envelope Systems of Plainville, MA. The guest speaker at SEED’s Annual Meeting is Wendell Davis, the Regional Administrator for New England 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 2019. The slate for SEED officers includes: Richard Shafer, chair (Shafer Development Services and Taunton Development Corporation); Jennifer Menard, vice chair (Bristol Community College); Charles Dwyer, vice chair (Middlesex Savings Bank); Lorraine Travers, CPA, treasurer; Jack Meehl, Jr. assistant treasurer (Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation); William Lewis, clerk; 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 2018, SEED made 73 loans totaling $19.3 million, leveraging $33.1 million in bank loans and private funds, and creating 383 new 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.
# # #