Helping Show Off York’s Best Side
by Jennifer Noel | photography by Sarah Wockenfuss
The York County Economic Alliance has quickly become a well-known organization in the region. This increasing recognition is due, in part, to the efforts of Katie Mahoney, the vice president of marketing and communications for the alliance. For Mahoney, who has surely found her niche, her love of three things is evident: her job, York County, and her rescue pit bull, Cora.
How long have you worked for YCEA? What are some of the main priorities in your position?
I have been at the YCEA for a little over two years — I celebrated two years in April. Initially, my position was overseeing the marketing efforts for the organization and our affiliates. That has now grown into also managing a stellar team running over 150 events a year, as well as supporting our 1,200 members throughout the County. My role, along with our CEO and other members of the leadership team, is setting the strategic vision and pace for marketing, fundraising through events, and membership growth (on the rise for the first time in YCEA history!).
How would you define the mission of YCEA?
We’re the best of a Chamber of Commerce, best of an Economic Development Corporation, and now best of a Main Street. We aim to drive York County’s economic growth by leveraging the collaboration, resources and expertise needed to create sustainable prosperity. Our mission is to Make Things Happen because we love YoCo.
What is the best part about coming to work every day?
Every day is different in some new awesome way. One day, we’re touring a potato chip manufacturing plant, the next is chatting with first lady of Pennsylvania Frances Wolf about the Codorus Creek Beautification, and then after that, we’re hosting a sold-out event showcasing local talent. All that is possible because of the incredible teammates I have — and they are of course another major reason that I smile every day.
Have you found a hidden gem in the York County area through working for YCEA?
Go to Delta Borough! It’s this tucked away little gem in the southernmost part of the county (literally the other side of the street is Maryland), and it has some really cool history, an actual printed newspaper, tea room, coffee place, etc. We are able to visit small boroughs and townships like this often, and it really opens your eyes to the beauty and history that runs deep in the county. Wrightsville is another place I encourage everyone to visit.
If you had to recommend one restaurant to a visitor to the area, what would it be?
Revival in downtown York is my go-to for unique cocktails, and their food never misses. Fig & Barrel is another choice — everyone will get the pizzas (which are excellent), but you’ll want to get the burger.
What is one accomplishment of YCEA that has made you most proud?
We re-branded a little over a year ago. Coming from a marketing background, this was a massive undertaking. New logo, colors, tagline, narrative, website, swag — you name it, we did it. It took the whole team to pull it off, but hearing people say “I love YoCo” or “The YCEA — They Make Things Happen” is a victory every time.
What is an aspect of the YCEA that you think York area residents are unaware of?
The depth of all that we do. Even I wasn’t aware when I started. Certainly, the traditional things like events, networking opportunities, helping businesses getting their name and services out there, but also things like financing options for those that need a unique lending opportunity. Or site selection — showcasing locations in York to businesses who want to move into the area. Plus, we have roles in advocacy for businesses, workforce development and talent attraction and retention, and through our affiliate authorities, we are active in brick & mortar projects like the revitalization of the Yorktowne Hotel. We also brought under our umbrella this past fall the organization Downtown Inc., which is the economic development organization for downtown York. So that is now another tool in our toolbelt to help smaller municipalities grow and thrive, modeling after downtown York’s success.
Do you serve with any other organizations or non-profits in the York area?
Honored to be part of: York County SPCA; United Way of York County; York County Libraries; Keystone Kidspace; Leave a Legacy; and Building Future Leaders of York.
Outside of work, what is your favorite thing to do in York County?
I love spending time with my SPCA rescue pit bull, Cora! We’re on the York County Rail Trail or in one of the parks throughout the county almost every weekend. Plus, we take advantage of any restaurant or bar that has a dog-friendly patio — favorites being Miscreation in Hanover, Holy Hound and Collusion in York, and events like the Glen Rock Arts & Brew Fest.