Hancock, Watson to be honored

The success of a business invariably depends upon its representation in the community it serves, and that reputation is nearly always the result of a strong company leader. Each year since 1995, the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce has selected a “Business Person of the Year” that best meets the stringent criteria set out by the Business Development Committee. The person or persons has a substantiated record as an established business. The company has demonstrated growth through the years, is innovative in its approach, and takes pride in serving its customers. As leaders who have enhanced the image of business in the greater Seaford area and far beyond, the Chamber has selected John E. Watson, chief executive officer of the Seaford Federal Credit Union, and Edward H. Hancock, administrator of Nanticoke Health Services, as co-recipients of the Business Persons of the Year honor. Edward H. Hancock joined Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in 1979 as the administrator. Prior to 1979, Mr. Hancock held positions as the assistant director for Support Services and subsequently as the assistant director for Professional Services at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore. Hancock also served as assistant administrator of Southside Community Hospital in Farmville, Va. Since 1979, Hancock has led Nanticoke Memorial Hospital through a tremendous growth in both size and services. During this time, the hospital added inpatient beds, the medical staff grew from 31 to 88 active staff, and new facilities, such as LifeCare at Lofland Park, were added. In a time when many healthcare organizations struggled or were absorbed by larger providers, Hancock keeps Nanticoke Health Services financially sound and independent. At the same time, he continually reminds staff of their mission to meeting the healthcare needs of the community and to provide “modern care and old fashion caring.” Today, Nanticoke Health Services employs more than 1100 persons and has a profound effect on the life of our community. Preparing for tomorrow, Hancock is overseeing the latest expansion of the hospital’s services. This will include the new Cancer Care Center, the Nanticoke Mears Health Campus, the expansion and renovation of the Emergency Department, and the implementation of new computer systems that will increase hospital efficiency and patient safety. As an active member of the community, Hancock has served in a number of local and area organizations including the Boys & Girls Club. He is a native of Virginia and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. He also holds a Masters of Hospital Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia. John E. Watson, treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce, has lived in Seaford with his wife, Jane, since January 1965. A chemical engineer by education, he was a superintendent at the DuPont Nylon Plant when he retired in 1980. Since that time he has had his own management consultant business, Watson Management Services, Inc. whose main account has been the Seaford Federal Credit Union for the last 20 years. He provides management guidance for the credit Union and is its chief executive officer. Watson was born in the Dominican Republic in 1922 where his father was stationed as a U.S. Marine officer. During his childhood he lived in many places but considers Washington, D.C. and Southern Maryland on the western side of the Potomac as his early home. He attended the University of Maryland in the early 1940s but left before graduating to serve in World War II in 1943 as a Marine officer. After the war, he worked for Corning Glass for two years before returning to school at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., where he graduated in 1950 and went to work for DuPont. By that time he was married to Jane Chapin, who he met at the University of Maryland and they had two children, Dave and Dan. Subsequently, a daughter, Mary Lou, came along to round out the family. All of them are married and there are five grandchildren, three in college. John and Jane are both very active in community affairs. Members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, they are both directors of the Seaford Federal Credit Union which was started by St. Luke’s in 1970. In the 1990s Jane spearheaded the organization and start-up of a widows and widowers support group, still active in Seaford. John was on the Nanticoke Hospital Board in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, he was the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce and has been on the board continuously since then. He has twice been on the Board of Governors of the Seaford Golf & Country Club. He is treasurer of the Seaford Historical Society and past treasurer of St. Luke’s Church. Both find fulfillment in helping older people in need. John’s hobbies are tennis (singles preferred), dancing, physical fitness, gardening, and personal computer utilization. Jane’s hobbies are the same plus belonging to PEO and with the exception of the computer utilization and that she prefers doubles.

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