Ron Covey Named Citizen of the Year by Greater Manchester Chamber
President & CEO of St. Mary’s Bank to be honored on June 15th Citizen of the Year Celebration, presented by The Elliot
The Greater Manchester Chamber (GMC) is pleased to announce Ron Covey, President & CEO of St. Mary’s Bank, as its next Citizen of the Year. Covey will be honored on Wednesday, June 15th at the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Celebration, taking place at 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown. This annual event, presented by The Elliot, will be an opportunity for Chamber members, community members, friends, family, and colleagues of Covey to celebrate his accomplishments and his dedication to the city of Manchester.
Ron Covey’s nomination for Citizen of the Year was championed by Ken Senus, COO of St. Mary’s Bank. In his nomination, Senus said that “As a volunteer, philanthropist, leader and business executive, Ron Covey has made and continues to make important contributions to the Manchester community. He considers, at every turn, what he does for others. Ron ultimately demonstrates the values that unequivocally qualify him to be Citizen of the Year. Ron never seeks any attention for the good work that he does, he does it because he has a passion for helping others.”
Creating opportunities for the underserved in Manchester has always been on the top of Covey’s to-do list.
As CEO of St. Mary’s Bank, one of his goals was to build on the credit union’s mission to serve the ever-diversifying population of Manchester. In 2017, Covey introduced the 1908 Fund to assist area nonprofit organizations as part of the credit union’s philanthropic efforts. In 2020, Covey facilitated the distribution of donations from the institution totaling more than $275k to over 90 charitable and non-profit organizations. Covey spearheaded the establishment of St. Mary’s Bank’s Charitable Foundation in 2019.
“Throughout his business tenure, Ron Covey has been committed to dedicating his time and talents to nonprofit and social service agencies to make his community a better place. We are so lucky to have a tireless leader in Ron who works to lift our most vulnerable population in our city. Ron has had a positive impact on every nonprofit board he has served on, which is a testament to his leadership skills and generosity,” said Diane Fitzpatrick, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Manchester.
Covey lives the credit union’s motto “people helping people,” and currently plays a role on the following non-profit boards: Boys and Girls Club Greater Manchester, America’s Credit Union Museum, Daniel Webster Council, and the advisory board of the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. Past Affiliations include: the Cooperative Credit Union Association, NH Institute of Art, Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund, Greater Manchester Chamber, NH Union Leader, Robie’s Historic Preservation Foundation, NH Business and Industry Association, NH High Tech Council, and the Manchester Regional Community Foundation.
Continuing the theme of a passion for helping others, especially the underserved, Covey created the St. Mary’s Bank Scholarship program to defray the cost of higher education for St. Mary’s Bank members, employees, and their families. Aligning this with financial literacy programs has been another area of emphasis, along with first-time homebuying. Supporting education at all levels extends to St. Mary’s Bank employees, with programs that were launched to cultivate and attract talented employees and train emerging leaders within the organization.
A Manchester native, Covey grew up on the West Side and his family roots in the city run deep.
His paternal grandmother worked in the textile mills along the Merrimack River. Almost 100 years later, Covey became the eighth CEO of St. Mary’s Bank, the nation’s first credit union, which was founded to help mill workers, like his grandmother, save money and access affordable credit. As President & CEO of St. Mary’s Bank, Covey not only actively encourages employee giving and volunteerism, but he also models the way. Showing great leadership is second nature to Covey, and he has started programs at St. Mary’s Bank to encourage others to do the same, resulting in over 3,100 hours of time collectively donated to 97 local organizations by St. Mary’s Bank employees in 2021.
“Often times people talk the talk as they say, but Ron walks the walk. He leads by example and without a doubt brings out the very best in those around him,” said Donnalee Lozeau of Southern NH Services.
Covey creates, promotes, and furthers initiatives and organizations that contribute to the good of the Queen City and its citizens. He continuously makes serving others a priority in both his personal and professional life, and generously lends his time and talents to programs that help build up fellow citizens, grow small businesses, and preserve Manchester’s history and culture.
Small business success and job creation in Manchester is something Covey continues to tirelessly support. He expanded St. Mary’s Bank’s presence with the construction of the credit union’s Perimeter Road operations center in 2011, West Side headquarters in 2013, and new branches including 4 Northwest Blvd., Nashua, in 2020; 606 Nashua Street, Milford, in 2021; and 20 International Drive, Portsmouth, in 2022. Covey has testified before Congress in support of legislation to help small businesses, and under his leadership, St. Mary’s Bank has repeatedly been a top U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lender.
“To no surprise, Ron and St. Mary’s Bank distinguished themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing emergency loans, loan payment extensions, waived fees and much more. Through his direction, St. Mary’s Bank provided New Hampshire businesses with the most Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of any credit union in the state. Many times, these loans went to the smallest of small businesses in New Hampshire, who needed the PPP loans the most, providing PPP loans that were typically half the national average,” said Ronald McLean, President & CEO, Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.
Another focus for Covey has been preserving and revitalizing downtown Manchester. With his enthusiastic guidance, St. Mary’s Bank has donated thousands of dollars to the Palace Theatre to ensure the continuance of performing arts at this local cultural and historic landmark. Additionally, to preserve St. Mary’s Bank’s place in history as the first credit union in the nation, Covey has worked to celebrate its role in the city’s and nation’s past by preserving historically significant artwork, including the mural from St. Mary’s Bank’s McGregor Street lobby.
“Perhaps most notably, Ron has spent much of his life building our community both figuratively and literally. Who in Manchester hasn’t noted St. Mary’s investment in the fabric of our city, re-creating its landmark headquarters on McGregor Street? Ron’s passion for quality above the norm enabled this celebration of the preeminent gateway to Manchester’s west side neighborhoods. And, at a grassroots level, Ron has been a leader in ‘building’ our families, culture, and institutions, one organization at a time,” said Barry Brensinger, Principal, Lavallee Brensinger Architects.
Join the Celebration
Since 1954, the Greater Manchester Chamber has presented one outstanding individual the Citizen of the Year Award. This exceptional group of community leaders has been paramount in shaping the GMC’s agenda and the community. The Citizen of the Year award recognizes an individual with significant leadership and citizenship in the community, while demonstrating exemplary vision, civic pride, and commitment to the betterment of society. To be nominated, the individual should live in the greater Manchester area and his or her activities should be centered in the same area. Recognition is given for leadership and performance in several areas of community service over a period of years.
“We are honored and thrilled to be recognizing Ron Covey as our Citizen of the Year,” said Heather McGrail, Interim CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber. “Leadership and personal integrity are at the core of what it means to be a Citizen of the Year. Ron has embodied a deep commitment to service in the pursuit of lifting others throughout his entire career.”
Ron Covey will be recognized as the Citizen of the Year at the Greater Manchester Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Celebration, presented by The Elliot, on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022, at 5 p.m. For more information, please visit www.manchester-chamber.org. Sponsorship of this event makes it possible for the Manchester community to celebrate Covey, spread his message of integrity and service, and will support the Chamber’s mission to strengthen our business community. For more information about sponsorships and table sales, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Greater Manchester Chamber
Incorporated in 1911, the Greater Manchester Chamber (GMC) is the largest business organization in New Hampshire, focusing its efforts primarily on Manchester and the surrounding communities of Auburn, Bedford, Candia, Derry, Goffstown, Hooksett, Litchfield, Londonderry, and Merrimack. It is the Chamber’s mission to be the voice of business, shaping economic success to enhance the quality of life in Greater Manchester. For more information visit www.manchester-chamber.org