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December 29, 2020

Maine SBA office begins search for new director after Bassett returns to NH

A head and shoulders photo of a smiling blond white woman Courtesy / Maine District Office of SBA Amy Bassett, Maine district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration since January 2017, has taken the same position in the New Hampshire office, where she worked before coming to Maine.

Amy Bassett, who has led the Maine U.S. Small Business Administration office for nearly four years, has returned to her native New Hampshire to head the office in Concord, and Maine is looking to fill its district director position.

Diane Sturgeon, the Maine deputy district director, is heading the Maine office during the search, said Maine SBA spokesman Keith Lind.

Bassett, who was Maine district director since January 2017, took over the New Hampshire position Dec. 21.

She began her career in the New Hampshire office in 1990, where she became a "fixture," said SBA New England Regional Administrator Wendell Davis in a news release. Her positions during 26 years in Concord also included lender relations specialist and ultimately deputy district director, according to the SBA news release announcing the move.

Bassett said she was excited about returning to her home state. 

"It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve as the SBA district director for Maine, but New Hampshire is home and I look forward to leading a strong team in the delivery of SBA’s programs and services to assist as many small businesses as possible during these unprecedented times,” she said.

“Having worked with many of the lenders and small business service partners in New Hampshire in the past, I welcome the opportunity to re-establish those relationships and focusing on fostering new partnerships throughout the state," Bassett added.

When Bassett became Maine director in 2017, she succeeded Marilyn Geroux, a career SBA worker who led the office for four years. Bassett said at the time that one of her goals was to strengthen relationships with lenders, who partner with SBA on its many loan programs.

“One of my goals is to increase the number of lenders who work with us,” Bassett said. “We need those lending partners. They’re the ones who make the loans, and we back them with a guarantee.”

That focus came in handy this year, as the SBA shepherded thousands of Paycheck Protection Program and other SBA-backed loans to businesses dealing with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In May, in the midst of the second round of PPP loans, Bassett told Mainebiz things were running smoothly. "Lenders in Maine are still committed to helping all small businesses gain access to the program," she said. Ultimately, 28,270 Maine businesses took advantage of the program, according to the loan database.

Bassett was a panelist on Mainebiz webinars in April and June that explained the loan program to businesses. The April webinar focused on basics of the program, while the June webinar covered loan forgiveness.

Bassett oversaw a five-person office in Augusta, as well as regional offices in Portland and Bangor. In Concord, she'll oversee a staff of nine.

"Amy has long held leadership positions in New England and has been an important asset to Region 1 and SBA nationally," Davis said. "Her experience positions her well to lead New Hampshire businesses and the New Hampshire entrepreneurial ecosystem through these challenging times." 

She succeeds Greta Johansson, who retired in March, after more than 38 years with the SBA, nine of them as New Hampshire director.

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