Smedes York is Co-Owner, Director and Chairman of the Board of McDonald York Building Company. As Chairman, he is involved in matters related to the board and in all major decisions, contributes to development of strategies, offers suggestions and ideas about how to improve McDonald York, provides views on the performance of management and ensures the company remains strong financially. Smedes is also Owner, Director and Chairman of the Board of York Properties, Inc.
Smedes is a third generation Raleigh native that has significantly contributed to making his hometown the dynamic place it is today. Born in 1941, Smedes knew at an early age that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his legendary father, J. "Willie" York, and work in the construction business. The elder York's passion for his work and the encouragement he shared with his son quickly grabbed Smedes' attention.
Smedes attended Broughton High School, where he was a multi-sport star and a member of its graduating class of 1959. He entered North Carolina State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. While there, he played on the basketball team under Everett Case. In the sixties, Smedes served as First Lieutenant in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, receiving an Army Commendation medal in 1966 for his service in South Korea. He returned home to continue his studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a Master's Degree in Business Administration in 1968. Soon after, he took a job with his father's construction company, learning alongside his father.
Smedes has turned that knowledge into his own professional career in real estate and construction where he currently serves as Chairman of both McDonald York and York Properties. Smedes' desire to build communities has reached beyond bricks and mortar. He has a long record of involvement in civic groups and public service. He served on the Raleigh City Council in the late seventies, followed by two terms as the city's mayor from 1979 until 1983. He has served in a leadership capacity in many organizations, including past president of the Boys and Girls Club, past chairman of the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the Trustees at North Carolina State University. His love for the business drew him to the world-renowned Urban Land Institute where he is a Trustee. Current positions include Board of Advisors for NC State University, Board of Directors for the Research Triangle Foundation, Board of Directors for YMCA of the Triangle, and Board of Directors for the North Carolina Amateur Sports.