David Satterlee, the dean of student af´fairs at HACC s York campus, is the newest member of the York City Council. He was chosen to replace Joanne
David Satterlee, the dean of student af´fairs at HACC s York campus, is the newest member of the York City Council. He was chosen to replace Joanne Borders, who died in September. (Bil Bowden photo)

When the zombie apocalypse finally arrives on York's doorstep, there's only one official to call.

David Satterlee, York City's newest addition to the five-member city council, knows all there is to know about the limping, drooling doomsday scenario that's engrained itself in pop culture these past few years.

He's seen all the movies, read all the books and even has experience running from the living dead.

That's mostly because Satterlee is the parent of a zombie-obsessed 15-year-old boy.

"We spend a lot of dinners talking about

the zombie apocalypse," Satterlee said during a recent interview.

York City couldn't pay for that kind of expertise if it wanted to. But that's not all residents are getting from the 46-year-old dean of student affairs at HACC's York campus.

Satterlee brings an outsider's perspective to the small-town politics of a 250-year-old city.

To Satterlee's surprise, that background seemed to work to his advantage on Oct. 22, when he was chosen from a field of 21 candidates to fill a council seat left vacant when Councilwoman Joanne Borders died in September.

Background: Born on Christmas Eve in 1965, Satterlee grew up in a "barely blue collar" family in a small northwestern Pennsylvania town. A love of art and the environment motivated him to earn a degree in graphic design, which he planned to use to land a job designing for wildlife magazines.

But the pursuit of a graduate degree turned him on to a career in higher education instead, Satterlee said.

In higher-ed, consensus-building is the name of the game.

"You have to win people to something," he said.

Nine years ago, Satterlee and his partner, Will Guntrum, moved to York because it was a convenient location for each to commute to work. The two bought and renovated a home on West Philadelphia Street.

At that time, Satterlee worked for Towson University. Three years ago, Satterlee said, he took the job at HACC and "gained two hours a day."

The couple now lives on Linden Avenue, just a few minutes from campus. Guntrum is also an administrator at HACC.

"We talk about HACC all the time," Satterlee said. "They get a lot of hours out of us."

York culture: The couple is also plugged into York's art and food scene, Satterlee said.

"I know everything about food and drink in this town," Satterlee said.

Satterlee is a beer enthusiast and marathon runner -- though not necessarily at the same time.

He recently returned from pub crawling in Belgium. In just the past few weeks, he's completed two marathons and a zombie-themed 5K in Maryland.

And, of course, Satterlee is a dad. He's raising his son, Noah, to "respect difference" and find happiness.

"I would love for him to have some confidence in who he is," Satterlee said.

Satterlee said he brings no agenda to the council, and he's "not politically tied to anybody."

"I like York City, and I think I'm a good problem solver," he said. "I intend to be someone who listens."

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.