A Letter from Executive Director, Lisa Hurley

A Letter from Executive Director, Lisa Hurley Main Photo

14 Nov 2023

What a year 2023 has been. YCDC is tasked with growing the overall economy, which requires strategic thinking, collaboration, and long-term planning. Holistic economic development is a big part of that and that is why YCDC looks at all of the factors that influence economic growth. As a rural EDO, we work on business retention and expansion, business recruitment, start-ups, talent programs, advocating for housing growth, childcare development, large-scale infrastructure, legislation, marketing the area on a national and international scale, and quality of life initiatives. We also share best practices with our communities when we see changes coming.  
Contributions fund YCDC through an investor model where businesses and community stakeholders annually invest in YCDC, or in specific initiatives. For example, York General has invested in YCDC, marketing, and housing campaigns knowing it will help to bring more families to the community who may then become patients of their healthcare system. 

Another way that YCDC provides benefits to its members is through marketing the County, both locally and nationally. This helps to bring additional investment into the community, creating more opportunities for members. For example, if a new company is located in the county, it creates a ripple effect. Suppliers and service providers may gain a new client, new builds create new location opportunities for business and community members, and dollars spent locally will continue to circulate within the county.
This year, twenty-nine partners came to the table to raise over $500,000 to receive a $1 million grant to expand our Rural housing development fund. Our investors understand that there is an ROI on their investment every time a new family or business moves to the community. On October 31st, York County Commissioners pledged $100,000 which will allow us to apply for another housing grant.

We have also used multimedia marketing to bring attention to the benefits of locating a business in York County. We were able to produce and run social media and other ad campaigns because of the commitment of our investors. In addition to business marketing, we use multimedia for talent recruitment. Since October 2021, YCDC has been running online national talent ads that followed the York News-Times outside of Nebraska. This is one of the ways we are working to share Why York County with those who are interested in living in the Midwest. The 17-County Podcast continues with 87 podcasts released since its inception, with 29.8K listeners in seven nations. We also released three Why York County videos in 2023.

The last of the City of York’s industrial sites sold in 2022. The 34-acre site was sold to three businesses, two new and one existing. This year, we’ve seen construction on BGIN and Sukup Manufacturing, and WyAd Enterprises. This is a great case study on how a site needs to be controlled, due diligence and master planning complete, and the site marketed nationally, as well as locally. Now, working with the City of York, we’re doing it again! The Due Diligence and Master planning has started on the new 200-acre industrial park. 

We work to connect entrepreneurs, start-ups, and businesses to funding assistance. We provide this through technical assistance, planning efforts, and making connections to valuable resources. We also provide tools such as Size Up, a small business insights tool, https://www.yorkdevco.com/business/sizeup-york-county. This tool was used 394 times in the past year. 

Once a business decides to come to or expand in a community, YCDC helps with securing any available incentives, workforce recruitment, and training. YCDC was able to help McLean Beef expand its freezer capacity with funding donated to use in a business project. This year, YCDC has secured $200,000 in Site & Building Development Funding for Klute Inc.’s expansion, and $75,000 for LivFarms start-up. 

YCDC programs and initiatives focus on growing the economy and expanding the tax base. New programs typically result from our Business Retention and Expansion program. These help to determine the needs of local businesses, and what barriers may exist to prevent their growth or the community’s growth as a whole. The same applies to workforce training and development. In 2023, we saw the third class of the 17-County Leadership Program, targeting personal development and managerial skills. We held our 9th year of the ESI Camp, and have had over 100 students participate during that time frame. We also hosted our annual Regional Career Day, which attracted over 150 students from 7 different area schools.

In York County, we know how important manufacturing is and that’s why we have been working to connect our existing manufacturing companies with high school students. We want them to know about the incredible opportunities they have to build a career without leaving home. To do this, we have to connect! This is why YCDC coordinates several manufacturing events during Manufacturing Month (October).  

YCDC needs your support. Being a member ensures that York County has the highest likelihood of growing and so does your business.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as YCDC’s Executive Director, and for your investment, partnership, and collaboration, as we continue to work to build a more prosperous future. Enjoy your holidays and the new year!


Lisa Hurley, CEcD
Executive Director

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