12/7 YOU'RE INVITED! SBA MA Annual Meeting & Lender Awards

Massachusetts District Office - December 2020

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Annual Meeting


Monday, December 7th / 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM

Continuing with tradition this year, the SBA Massachusetts District Office is holding its' ANNUAL MEETING event virtually - to once again recognize the important achievements of the entire small business support community for helping small businesses to Start, Grow, Expand and Recover.

All are invited to attend and participate: small businesses; chamber and community partners; service providers and lenders!

9:30 AM - 10 AM Networking with Diane Darling

Please come by a little early! Don't be shy, say hello, introduce yourself
so we can also thank you for all the amazing work that you've done!


9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Facilitated attendee networking by Diane Darling, Outreach and Marketing Specialist and Norman Eng, Public Affairs Specialist

10:00 a.m. Welcome Remarks

  • Bob Nelson, MA District Director
  • Wendell Davis, New England Regional Administrator

10:10 a.m. Mark. D Fuller, Undersecretary of Business Growth, Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

10:15 a.m. Dianna Seaborn, Director, Office of Financial Assistance, SBA Headquarters, Washington DC

10:30 a.m. Questions & Answers

10:35 a.m. SBA Prime Grant Awardees
Introduction by Peter Kontakos, MA Deputy District Director

  • Connie Martin, Division Director, Energy and Community Resources, Community Teamwork ($200K)
  • Gerardo Espinoza, Executive Director
    Local Enterprise Assistance Fund ($200k)

10:45 a.m. Lender Awards – 7a, 504, microloans

  • Ili Spahiu – Assistant District Director for Lending
  • Carlos Hernandez – Lender Relations Specialist
  • Daniel Martiniello – Lender Relations Specialist

Speakers Include:



Connie Martin, Division Director, Energy and Community Resources at Community Teamwork oversees a budget of $10 million of federal, state and private programming fund and implements a wide range of programs that serve nearly 14,000 people. Ms. Martin was educated in the Lowell Public Schools, graduated from St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vermont, and completed her Master’s in Education Administration at the Graduate School of Education, University of Massachusetts at Lowell. During her career in non-profit management, she has held positions in several different sectors including arts and culture, business advocacy, workforce development and childcare programming. In addition to her position at Community Teamwork, Ms. Martin is serving in her 6th term on the Lowell School Committee, and she volunteers with several local charities.



Gerardo Espinoza, Executive Director at Local Enterprise Assistance Fund spearheads the Fund’s growth at the national level and developing financing programs and technical assistance to small businesses in Massachusetts. He joined LEAF after spending many years in the commercial banking and investment management field. His background includes ten years as a Vice President at First National Bank of Chicago, and 15 years in investment management in the positions of Portfolio Manager and Senior Vice President with Baring Asset Management and John Hancock funds. Gerardo serves as advisory member of the annual Federal Reserve's Financial Innovations Roundtable, a member of the Boston Federal Reserve's Working Group on Wealth Inequality, and a board member the Food Coop Initiative, the Boston Industrial Development Financing Authority, and Third Sector New England. He has a master’s degree in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


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Dianna Seaborn, a seasoned SBA lender, joined the SBA Office of Investment SBIC program in 2008 after spending 24 years in the private sector in small business and commercial finance. She is currently the Director of the Office of Financial Assistance in the SBA’s Office of Capital Access.

Her experience includes credit policy development and implementation, training and business development. She oversees the 7(a) and 504 Loan Program Divisions, the Secondary Market Program Division and the Microenterprise Development Division.



Wendell Davis, Regional Administrator for SBA’s Region I was appointed on January 8, 2018 and oversees SBA’s financial, export, disaster relief, government contracting and business development programs for the six New England states. Headquartered in Boston, Mr. Davis manages 44 SBA employees that staff the six local District Offices, three Alternative Work Sites and one branch office. In addition, he coordinates a network of small business technical assistance partners that are all funded by the SBA, with counselors and mentors housed in 31 Small Business Development Centers, 26 SCORE Chapters, 9 Women’s Business Centers and a Veterans Business Outreach Center.


Bob headshot

Robert H. Nelson, District Director was appointed on November 26, 2007. Mr. Nelson holds over 30 years of federal experience, with 25 years with the SBA. Before joining the SBA, Nelson spent a number of years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Nelson also has a number of years of banking experience as a commercial lender for several New England area banks, including Vice President at Shawmut Bank in Rhode Island.


Peter headshot

Peter Kontakos, Deputy District Director was appointed on September 15, 2019.  Mr. Kontakos holds extensive experience in Federal Government Contracting having served as a Contract Specialist, Procurement Analyst, and Contracts Program Manager at the US Department of Transportation since 2008. Kontakos possesses Level-III Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting. Prior to his Federal service, Kontakos served as Assistant Branch Manager at Eastern Bank supporting an assortment of consumer and commercial lending activities.


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