President Joe Biden recently reappointed University of Massachusetts Dartmouth alumnus Scott Soares ('92) the USDA State Director for Rural Development in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, a role he held from 2015 to 2017 during the Obama administration.
A biology and marine biology dual-major graduate cum laude, Soares offers 25 years of experience in aquaculture, agriculture, fisheries, and food systems across a broad range of government relations services, business and project development assistance, and organizational management support.
“Being appointed as USDA Rural Development State Director allows me to return to a public service role, and the ability to help find solutions for the needs of Southern New England's rural communities and businesses,” said Soares. “I'm looking forward to serving as a facilitator for the applicability of rural development programs and fully exploring how these programs can fulfill the ‘Build Back Better’ mission of the Biden-Harris Administration.”
Soares, a veteran of the United States Army and owner of Boston Bay Consulting, previously worked in four roles for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, before being named Executive Director of the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) from 2012 to 2015.
In his previous appointment as USDA Rural Development State Director, Soares oversaw staff and program delivery for a suite of over 50 programs that were aimed at improving economic prosperity for Southern New England’s rural communities.
“As a result of my previous appointment, I not only had the privilege of working with some of the most dedicated and passionate folks I've ever met, but also getting to see first-hand the real benefit these programs can provide,” said Soares. “I truly look forward to maximizing the awareness, application, and impact of these programs during my tenure.
“Many may be surprised to learn that a high percentage of southern New England towns are considered 'rural' based on their populations. As a result, many are likely eligible for a suite of rural development programs aimed at promoting economic development and enhancing municipal services and housing opportunities.”
The eldest of eight siblings, Soares credits his success to the arts of compromise, negotiation, and cooperation with his family, as well as the confidence, passion, and educational foundation inherited from his time at UMass Dartmouth.
“Although I was an older student, having first served in the U.S. Army before enrolling at then-Southeastern Massachusetts University, I credit my professors and fellow students for my ability to assemble the educational foundation that serves me to this day.
“You don't fully know what you know until you need to know it, and furthermore, you'll never know what you can accomplish unless you try. I'm grateful for my time at UMass Dartmouth for having given me the desire and courage to try, and for the ability to succeed.”