WPI Venture Forum's Hokanson Named Massachusetts Media Advocate of the Year by U.S. Small Buisness Administration

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass. - Robert E. Hokanson of Boylston has benn named the 1997 Media Advocate of the Year for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the U.S. Small Buisness Administration. Hokanson was cited for his outstanding coverage of small buisness issues. He was nominated by William Purcell, executive vice president of the Worcester Development Center.

His award will be presented at the Massachusetts Salute to Small Buisness Dinner to be held at the Sheraton Tara in Framingham on June 5 during National Small Buisness Week. The Massachusetts Small Buisness Advisory Council is sponsoring this year's tribute with attendees representing a cross section of small buisness owners and advocates from throughout the state. Hokanson works for WTAG-AM radio as a news anchor and producer of public affairs programs. He is also an independent broker of insurance and financial services.

Hokanson has been actively involved, since its beginning, in the WPI Venture Forum, an organization that promotes the spirit of entrepreneurship and brings advice, support, and education to those who engage in technology-based entrepreneurial enterprises, first as a member of the public relations/marketing committee and later as a member of the executive board. He was instrumental in developing the WPI Venture Forum Radio show on WTAG-AM radio in 1994. The call-in program usually airs on Saturday afternoons from 5 to 7 p.m. Hokanson serves as executive producer and occasional host.

"Bob's leadership in developing the WPI Venture Forum radio program has helped a large segment of the Central Massachusetts population understand what it means to be an entrepreneur in these changing economic times," says Norman T. Brust, Venture Forum chair. "He is a valued me,ber of the Forum's executive board and has been very instrumental in helping us carry out our mission of supporting technology-based entrepreneurial activity."

Hokanson is a lifelong resident of massachusetts and a graduate of Assumption College with a major in foreign affairs and a double minor in economics and geography. His broadcast career began immediately after college as a news reporter at Worcester public radio station WCUW. He later worked for WSRS doing news, announcing and public affairs programs. He has produced shows for Boston's Channel 5, WCVB-TV.

Hokanson has worked with the Massachusetts State Grange for more than 20 years and has headed the local Grange for the past 7 years helping with its charitable activities and in promoting agriculture. He has also been active with the National Association of Life Underwriters coordinating local agent education seminars and classes. In 1993 he was elected president of the Worcester association, the second largest in the state, and founded its first "sales congress," a large trade show and educational event for professionals in the insurance industry. He later went on to establish "Life Insurance Week" in Massachusetts. He was recognized in 1994 with the Association Achievement Award by the Massachusetts Association of Life Underwriters.