SomerCor appoints six new board members and vice chairman

SomerCor, a Chicago-based Small Business Administration (SBA) Certified Development Company (CDC), has named six new members to its board of directors and elected a vice chairman. The appointments grow the organization’s SBA lending, fintech and economic development experience.

Joining the board are Dean Avdalas, senior vice president, commercial lending at Byline Bank; Brian Burke, senior vice president, business banking at First Midwest Bank; Diane Gallion, executive vice president, national director, SBA/B&I lending at Radius Bank; Margaret Griffin, senior vice president, SBA regional sales manager at Huntington Bank; Chris Rentner, director, digital lending at Velocity Solutions and William Towns, executive director at Benefit Chicago. Additionally, Margy Sweeney, founder and CEO of Akrete Inc.—a WBE-certified company—was elected vice chairman of the board.

This board expansion comes after several new hires and promotions at SomerCor. Former board member Manny Flores was appointed president and CEO in November 2018 while Brian Comiskey, CPA and Michael Utterback joined the lending team in January 2019. Additionally, four employees were recently promoted, two on the executive leadership team and two on the economic development team.

“Communities throughout Illinois rely on SomerCor as a vital source of small business financing. To be effective in serving the needs of our small business borrowers, particularly rural-based enterprises and women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses, our team and board leadership must be committed to expanding our reach and impact,” said Flores. “I am proud we’ve grown our board of directors with a diverse group of accomplished, executive professionals dedicated to this mission, with the expertise to help guide SomerCor.”

The board’s new members include four banking executives in Avdalas, Burke, Gallion and Griffin. As SVP of commercial lending at Byline Bank, Avdalas is focused on the lower middle market relationship with revenues from $5 million to $100 million. At First Midwest Bank, Burke manages a division that provides lending and deposit services to small and middle market companies in the greater Chicago area. Gallion provides specialty financing through the SBA 7(a) and 504 programs at Radius Bank and is an instructor for multiple SBA lending training programs. As SBA regional sales manager at Huntington, Griffin manages the bank’s SBA program in Illinois and Wisconsin and is an SBA lecturer on the 504 program.

On the fintech and economic development side, the board gains Rentner and Towns. Rentner is director of digital lending at Velocity Solutions, where he oversees product management and business development for digital banking product lines. Towns is the inaugural executive director of Benefit Chicago, a $100 million social impact investment fund aimed at the social enterprise sector in the six-county Chicagoland region.

“We are excited to increase the capabilities of our current board of directors with these exciting new board members,” said Jon Winick, SomerCor board chair. “Each of them brings a unique skillset, and collectively add to our diversity, and our relationships with banks and non-profits in Illinois.”