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Downtown Inc Announces 2023 Louis J. and Jody D. Appell Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Jul 24, 2023 | Blog

Downtown Inc is pleased to announce that Jane Conover and Jack Kay will both be recognized as Louis J. and Jody D. Appell Lifetime Achievement Award winners at the 23rd Annual Downtown First Awards, on August 10 at Keystone Kidspace in Downtown York.

Every year at the Downtown First Awards, Downtown Inc brings the community together to celebrate the amazing individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made a difference in Downtown York. However, this year’s event will include something special, as Downtown Inc celebrates two Louis J. and Jody D. Appell Lifetime Achievement Award winners. No one loved York as much as Louis Appell Jr, and his legacy is imbedded in the fabric of our community. While Mr. Appell is no longer with us, we recognize that his spirit lives on in this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winners.

Jane Conover joined the Community Foundation in March 2010 as Vice President of Community Investment. She became Senior Vice President and COO in 2014 and was promoted to President and CEO in 2015.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Jane was Chief Community Officer at the YWCA of York, where she played a key role in revitalizing the Old Towne East neighborhood and the merger with ACCESS-York and Victim Assistance Center. Prior to working in York, Jane was Housing Director at Citizens Planning and Housing Association in Baltimore, MD. She also was a caseworker, and a housing counselor for a variety of agencies in Baltimore and Erie, PA. Jane holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and a Bachelors in Finance from Fairfield University in Connecticut.

In her time with the Community Foundation, Jane launched and grew the Embracing Aging Initiative, and increased the assets of YCCF exponentially, growing and enhancing the legacy programs. In recognition of outstanding dedication to and service in support of the goals of Equity, Harmony, and Racial & Social Justice, she was given the “community service award” from the York City Human Relations Commission and was recognized by the CPBJ as a Women of Influence.

Jane serves on the Board of Directors of WITF, and the Advisory Boards of York College’s Center for Community Engagement and Graham School of Business. She is a member of the Rotary Club of York. She was a 2007 York Federal Fellow through the Community Foundation, and she represented the YWCA of York at the 2007 World YWCA Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Jane lives in Springettsbury Township with her husband Steve and enjoys gardening, dancing and scooter-riding.

Jack Kay acquired Susquehanna Real Estate in 2013 when it was an operating division of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co. The York-based real estate development and consulting company with an urban development focus has been recognized for its quality projects and design excellence. The company has undertaken a number of award-winning projects in York, including 96 South George, The Lofts on George, and the Susquehanna Commerce Center.

Jack originally came to York in 1976 to serve as the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of York under Mayor John Krout, and continued four more years working with Mayor Elizabeth Marshall. He was instrumental in the development of the York City Industrial Park, Cherry Lane and Market Street Improvements, Market Way North and South, and the King Street and Philadelphia Street parking facilities. His accomplishments were recognized by the Pennsylvania Municipal League, which awarded him the distinction of “Outstanding Appointed Public Official” in 1980.

Jack then joined Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff at the invitation of Louis Appell, Jr. During his 30-year tenure, he oversaw development and construction of facilities for the company’s various operating groups, including its radio, cable, manufacturing, and retail divisions throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Throughout his career in York, Jack has been very active in the community. He currently serves as on the York County Industrial Development Authority and is Founding Chairman of the Memorial Health Systems Foundation, after serving as Chairman of the Memorial Hospital Board. He also served as a board member for the York County Economic Alliance and the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, and currently serves on the Better York and York County Community Foundation boards. In 1978, as a founding board member, he chaired the Building Committee of the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center when it undertook renovations to create the current theatres.

For the past several years, as part of the Yorktowne Hotel Project, Jack has been instrumental in facilitating project-based learning opportunities for York College students through his leadership role with the York County Industrial Development Authority. Kay earned a master’s degree in administration/city planning from Temple University, where he also received a bachelor’s degree in political science. Jack received an honorary degree from York College of Pennsylvania in 2022, and the White Rose Appreciation Award from the York County Economic Alliance in 2023.

In recognition of these two achievements, Jonathan Desmarais said, “Just like Mr. and Mrs. Appell, Jane and Jack have embodied the best of Downtown York throughout their career; through their fierce commitment to community, their passion for change, and their abundant generosity. York is a better place because of Jane and Jack.”

Louis & his wife Jody were the first recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Bill & Judy Simpson then received it in 2012, and Linda Davidson in 2014.

In addition to these two Lifetime Achievement Award winners, Downtown Inc will also announce the winners in eight categories.

Tickets for the event are now on sale and available for purchase here.

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