News 2015: New SouthCoast Development Partnership launched to seize emerging opportunities

News 2015: New SouthCoast Development Partnership launched to seize emerging opportunities
New SouthCoast Development Partnership launched to seize emerging opportunities

New director hired to build regional collaboration Innovation, entrepreneurship, workforce development, educational attainment pillars of strategy

Following six months of dialogue about emerging economic opportunities and challenges facing the SouthCoast, dozens of area business, civic, and educational leaders gathered at the UMass School of Law today to re-launch the SouthCoast Development Partnership.

Co-chaired by UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman, New Bedford business leader Peter Kavanaugh, and BayCoast Bank President Nicholas Christ, the new SouthCoast Development Partnership will build on the previous version of the Partnership by adopting a new mission and structure aimed at promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across the region. 

In addition, rather than focusing on regional branding and a few major issues, the new Partnership will have a broader agenda. The new Partnership will also be funded entirely by grants and other external sources and have at least 75 individual and organizational members. 

The Partnership mission will be closely aligned with the strategic plan of UMass Dartmouth to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across the region as the University marches toward national recognition as a research university. At the same time, the Partnership will make workforce development and educational attainment key components of its activity. Commuter rail expansion to the SouthCoast, waterfront development in New Bedford and Fall River, renewable energy, labor market/economic cluster analysis, and high school/college dual enrollment are among the issues that the Partnership will engage. 

The Partnership also expects to serve as a convener of regional dialogues on major issues, and today heard a presentation from Richard Davey, CEO of Boston 2024. 

"By infusing the Partnership mission with the strategic plan of the University, we will create a new and fertile environment for innovation and entrepreneurship," Chancellor Grossman said. "This will develop, attract, and retain talent for the region and spawn new ideas that will address real challenges, create new enterprises and enhance the quality of life here." 

"There has been an infusion of new leadership, new companies, new ideas, and the new SouthCoast Development Partnership is built to leverage these emerging strengths," Kavanaugh said. "There is also recognition that workforce development and educational attainment need to be high on our agenda and experts in those areas now have a seat at the table." 

"From two dynamic ports to an emerging national research university to an ideal geographical location, the SouthCoast is strongly positioned to grow as the economy rebounds," Christ said. "We need to work in innovative and collaborative ways to reach our full potential. That is the goal of this partnership." 

Also announced was the appointment of attorney and former congressional aide Hugh Dunn as Executive Director for Economic Development for UMass Dartmouth. Dunn will also serve as the Director for the SouthCoast Development Partnership. 

Dunn, a graduate of UMass Dartmouth's School of Law, has recently served as a District Representative for Congressman William R. Keating. While working for Congressman Keating, Dunn advocated for constituents and businesses in the SouthCoast on various federal issues. Dunn also serves on the UMass Dartmouth Leduc Center for Civic Engagement Advisory Board and on the UMass Dartmouth-based SouthCoast Serves Board. 

"I am honored to be associated with UMass Dartmouth and a Partnership that are devoted to making our community stronger," said Dunn. "When I entered Law School, I chose this law school because it has a singular commitment to pursuing justice. The SouthCoast Development Partnership is about making sure this region, its communities and its citizens get a fair share of current and emerging economic opportunities, as well as a leadership role in shaping the opportunities of tomorrow.   

"We are excited to have Hugh joining or team to advance the economic and social development of the region, a cornerstone of our strategic plan," UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said. "Hugh has proven himself to be a talented and strategic builder of partnerships, so we are looking forward to working with him to connect the work of the SouthCoast Development Partnership to the work of our faculty and students." 

"Hugh is a terrific addition to the UMass Dartmouth economic development team," Christ said.  "Hugh brings depth of energy and knowledge to our collective efforts to grow the SouthCoast economy through partnership with the University." 

"As we position the SouthCoast to compete in the global economy, it is imperative that we support the development of UMass Dartmouth as a research university that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship," Kavanaugh said. "Hugh is uniquely positioned to connect UMass faculty and students to businesses in the region." 

More on the new SouthCoast Development Partnership 


To stimulate, facilitate, and support the economic prosperity of the SouthCoast through transformative innovation, educational attainment, and workforce development consistent with the UMass Dartmouth Strategic Plan - UMassDTransform2020. 


Economic Development 
SouthCoast Rail 
State historic tax credits 
Fall River waterfront 
New Bedford waterfront 
Wind Energy 
Boston 2024 
Wokforce Development 
Cluster analysis 
Labor market analysis 
Linking employers, workforce system, K-12, BCC, and UMass Dartmouth 
Pilot projects in advanced manufacturing and wind 
Educational Attainment 
UMass K-12 Initiative 
Dual enrollment 
Chapter 70 

Fee Structure 

Large Businesses and Cities - $2,500 
Mid-Sized Businesses (3-100 employees) - $1,000 
Small Businesses, Non-Profits, Towns/Schools - $500 

Board of Directors 

Co-Chair Divina Grossman -- Chancellor, UMass Dartmouth 
Co-Chair Nick Christ -- President/CEO BayCoast Bank 
Co-Chair Peter Kavanaugh -- President of Kavanaugh Development and Brownell Boat Stands 
Daniel Abraham --  Senior Vice President, Hub International 
Melinda Ailes -- Regional Director, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network 
Maureen Armstrong -- President, Sylvia Insurance 
Meg Mayo Brown -- Superintendent, Fall River Public Schools 
Pia Durkin -- Superintendent, New Bedford Public Schools 
Kenneth Fiola -- Executive Vice President, Fall River Office of Economic Development 
George Hempe -- Executive Director, Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board 
Keith Hovan -- President/ CEO, Southcoast Health System and Southcoast Hospitals Group 
Tom Perreira -- Executive Director, Bristol Workforce Investment Board 
Jim Sabra -- Equity Real Estate, 
Derek Santos -- Executive Director at The New Bedford Economic Development Council 
Jack Sbrega -- President, Bristol Community College 
Dave Slutz -- President/CEO, Precix 

Committees and Chairs 

Mission/Governance - Maureen Armstrong 
Membership/Sustainability - Jim Sabra 
Workforce Development - Tom Perreira / George Hempe 
Educational Attainment - Meg Mayo Brown / Pia Durkin 
Economic Development - Ken Fiola / Derek Santos