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S. Dale High is the first to admit that he’s full of ideas. “Creativity, innovation, new ideas have always excited me,” he says. High has been a steward of improvement and innovation since the earliest days of his career, focusing on both the immediate and long-term needs of the City. He often asks himself and his team, “Will this be good for the City 100 years from now?” when deciding on the direction of a project. In the early 1970s, High was part of the team that led the rebuilding of Old Town Lancaster, which became a watershed in both his career and Downtown Lancaster’s revitalization. Rather than just tearing down the historic homes that were slated for demolition, High and his team rehabilitated the neighborhood, now one of the crowning jewels of the City.

focuses on the Lancaster community through The S. Dale High Family Foundation, supporting the Spanish American Civic Association (SACA), the Transitional Living Center (TLC),, and the Fulton Theatre, among many others. High has been a stalwart investor in Lancaster for decades, investing not just money but also time, energy, and passion to the City’s wellbeing and revitalization. Leading by example, he challenges others to do the same.

“This is an opportunity,” he says. “When you see this sort of momentum in tough [economic] times and you think about where you can go in good times, I think it’s going to build value for investors. That’s why investors invest, because they think there’s opportunity. I think there’s opportunity in Lancaster.” An important part of High’s legacy is his focus on collaboration rather than competition. Leaders in both the private and public sectors need to come together, he says, to take risks, challenge the

His philanthropic work also

What does High envision as the next step in Lancaster’s future?

Improving on what’s already in place, he says, and creating what he calls a “mosaic” of improved or expanded residential, cultural, dining, lodging, shopping, medical, and educational facilities, as well as increased walkability and more green space. He underscores the importance of diversity—cultural and ethnic diversity but also a diversity of ideas and voices adding to the fresh new tomorrow of Lancaster. Rest assured he will be a vital part of that future. He says: “I want to have made some difference for having lived. I want some legacy of having helped make a better community and helped make a better place. If I can help make this corner of the world a little better, then maybe my life will have been worthwhile.”

Since then, the High companies have helped build and renovate other downtown landmarks, including the Lancaster County Convention Center and Marriott at Penn Square. “When I look at the hotel and convention center, I see 175 direct jobs being created downtown,” High says. “Also I see a lot more visitors coming downtown and supporting restaurants and shops, in addition to providing many guest stays to other hotels. It’s also, I think, been an important catalyst for encouraging investment in the City.”

He adds, “The more we can do together, the more we can become.”

Dale has gotten so deeply involved in the community, he says, because, quite simply, it’s his home. But he also looks at Lancaster from a businessman’s perspective and sees a lot more potential for growth. Investors both in the City and beyond, he thinks, would be wise to take notice.

status quo, and work together to make the City better. “This isn’t about me,” he says. “It’s about a community working together and moving beyond competition to collaborating and recognizing that when we work together, we get so much more done than when we attack each other.”

S. Dale High is chair of the board of the High companies, which were founded by his father, Sanford High, in 1931. The company has its headquarters in Greenfield Corporate Center in Lancaster, PA.

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