Edward Sugrue’s banking career has come full circle.
In high school, Sugrue took his first banking job as a part-time teller at Coolidge Bank in Watertown Square. The lifelong Watertown resident maintained an active presence in dozens of civic groups, even as career moves led him to stints in operations and retail positions at regional banks in Boston, Malden, Newton and Waltham. In 2012, he returned to Watertown as branch manager at Rockland Trust Co. as the town was emerging as a sought-after inner-ring suburb.
“Over the last couple of years, it’s been discovered, but it still has a small-town feel to it,” Sugrue said. “It still doesn’t feel like a city. I’m hoping with all the development, that doesn’t change.”
Sugrue has played a major role in maintaining Watertown’s small-town feel in his work with nonprofits and business organizations including the Rotary Club and the Watertown-Belmont Chamber of Commerce. As working-class families have been succeeded by young professionals, civic groups help maintain the local traditions. And longtime members like Sugrue are shouldering the load of the groups’ efforts, such as organizing the Rotary Club’s annual raffle, awards dinner and senior citizen cookout.
“It’s something we’ve talked about, especially at Rotary,” said Sugrue, a member of the Watertown club since 2000 who has served in multiple leadership roles. “We meet at lunchtime on Tuesdays, and a lot of people just can’t give that time. We’re trying to come up with strategies to attract younger members.”
Sugrue’s activism earned him recognition as Rotarian of the Year and recipient of the “Service Above Self” award.
A 16-year member of the Watertown-Belmont Chamber of Commerce, Sugrue said the chamber’s advocacy on behalf of the small businesses in licensing and zoning matters has paid off. Approximately 35 new businesses have joined the organization since January, a reflection of Watertown’s growing network of tech entrepreneurialism.
“There’s been a lot of startup businesses moving into town, and it’s a great way for them to network and meet other business owners,” he said.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Rockland Trust closed its local branches while law enforcement chased leads. Sugrue, a graduate of the Watertown citizen police academy program, recognized the voices of local officers on his police scanner as they closed in on the Tsarnaev brothers in East Watertown. In the aftermath, local civic groups rallied to help Watertown merchants recover from lost business, declaring a Small Business Saturday event.
“It was getting people back out in the community, supporting businesses and going about their normal routines,”