SEED Will Present The “Gus Yankopoulos Regional Business Advocate” Award to Denis J. Hanks At Its Annual Meeting

Denis Hanks
The South Eastern Economic Development (SEED) Corporation will present the “Gus Yankopoulos Regional Business Advocate of the Year” to Denis J. Hanks at its 31st Annual Meeting at 5:30 pm on Thursday, November 21st at White’s of Westport.

“We are very pleased to present this award to Denis Hanks for his exceptional contribution to the region’s economic development over a period of several years,” stated Maria Gooch-Smith, SEED’s executive director.

For over 10 years, Hanks served as executive director of the Plymouth Regional Economic Development Foundation and the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce, and prior to that as southeast region director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, senior development officer for the New Bedford Economic Development Council, president of the North End Business Association, and owner of a small business in New Bedford.

Working with the foundation and the chamber, Hanks oversaw over $200 million of new commercial and industrial development in the Plymouth area, which resulted in the creation of over 2,000 jobs. Hanks also worked on 45 Tax Increment Financing agreements for businesses in Plymouth.

“Denis created a one stop shop at Court Street in Plymouth by bringing together all the services needed by a business from finding a site, to permitting, financing, and hiring and training employees,” added Gooch-Smith.

During his tenure in Plymouth, Hanks and his staff worked on 40 projects including the Mirbeau Inn and Spa at The Pinehills, Cordage Park, the Hampton Inn, the Hilton Hotel, and bringing a cruise ship into Plymouth, among others. With Hanks’ guidance, the chamber and the foundation moved into a newly rehabilitated home on Court Street with 9,000 square feet of space available to house partnering agencies.

“He’s done a great job for the Town of Plymouth,” stated Ed Santos, the former chair of the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation. “Eight years ago, the chamber could barely make its payroll and membership was at an all time low, but Denis turned things around” added Santos.

Hanks and his wife, who have five children and seven grandchildren, are leaving for Florida. They want to be near their daughter who is attending dental school there. “This is a new chapter,” Hanks said. “I will be heading up a development consulting firm down there. I’m going to own the firm.”

At the Annual Meeting, SEED will also be presenting the “Small Business of the Year” award to Barrett Distribution Centers, Inc. of Franklin, Ma., and the “Start-Up Small Business of the Year” award to Happier in My Home, Inc. of Somerset, Ma.

SEED will also present the “Banker of the Year” award to the lender in the region who has participated in the largest amount of loans with SEED, and exemplifies the spirit of assistance to small businesses.

This past year SEED made 103 small business loans totaling $33 million, leveraging $46 million in bank loans and private funds, and creating 636 new jobs. SEED’s total current active portfolio of small business loans is $109 million.

The guest speaker at SEED’s Annual Meeting is Seth Goodall, the New England Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

At the meeting, SEED members will vote on a slate for officers, directors and members for 2014. The slate for SEED Officers includes: Gerard Nadeau, Chair (Rockland Trust Company); Richard Shafer, Vice Chair (Taunton Development Corporation); Robert Reisner, Vice Chair (Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank); Lorraine Travers, CPA, Treasurer; Paul Anghinetti, Assistant Treasurer (Bank of America); William Lewis, Clerk (Bristol County Savings Bank); Roy Nascimento, Assistant Clerk (New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce); and Ferdinand Kelley, Past Chair.

SEED is a non-profit corporation certified in late 1982 by the SBA.  SEED runs three loan programs and a Business Assistance Program.  The loan programs provide financing from $1,000 to $5.5 million to small businesses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

SEED’s directors and members are community leaders who represent government, business, finance, 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


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