Meet the Conservancy: Kevin McElvaney, Communications and Outreach Associate
The Conservancy is dedicated to raising awareness of the SS United States far and wide, with the goal of creating an inspiring future for this magnificent ship. Of course, in the digital age, the web and social media play a significant part in spreading the word about America’s Flagship.
Today, we’re speaking with the Conservancy’s current Communications and Outreach Associate, Kevin McElvaney, who takes an active role in promoting the Big U online through social media, email campaigns, and blog posts.
Kevin McElvaney aboard the Big U. Photo by Megan Thrash.
How did you get involved with the SS United States Conservancy?
It’s worth mentioning that I’m the newest member of the Conservancy, having only “climbed aboard” last November. Previously, my position was held by Lara Hetzel, who did such a wonderful job growing our online audience and setting the tone for the work I’ve been doing so far. Not long after applying for the job last fall, I had the opportunity to talk to the Conservancy’s Executive Director Susan Gibbs about this position. Her enthusiasm for the Big U was infectious, and I knew right away I had to be a part of this team. Not long after, I was!
What is your role as the Conservancy's Communications and Outreach Associate?
In a nutshell, I’m focused on all things digital. Whether I’m planning out social media posts, putting together our electronic newsletter, or writing stories for this blog, my goal is to help create a better future for the SS United States. Sometimes that means talking to supporters or former passengers, helping to document their stories. Other times, it’s sharing news about the ship or reminding our readers about the need for donations. I take a lot of pride in this work, because I firmly believe in the Conservancy’s mission to preserve the legacy of America’s Flagship.
What has been your favorite experience working with the Conservancy thus far?
There have already been so many highlights! Corresponding with former passengers and crew (as well as their families) has been one of my favorite aspects of this job. It’s so interesting to hear about the experiences of people who were actually there. In general, I love reading all the messages of support that pour in on our social media platforms.
Beyond that, perhaps the greatest thrill has been spending time in and around the ship. When I'm on board the vessel and helping document the Conservancy's preservation and outreach efforts, it feels almost surreal. The SS United States has been — and still is — such an important part of our national heritage.
What are you looking to accomplish with the Conservancy in the near future?
More than anything, I’m looking to reach growing numbers of potential SS United States supporters who don’t yet know this ship’s amazing story. And, for the supporters who’ve been with us for a while, I want to continue sharing new stories, interesting facts, and compelling photos every week.
One thing I’m looking to do in the very near future is to revive our Instagram account, which has remained dormant for some time. If you’re on Instagram, make sure you’re following us: @ssusc. We’ve got some big things planned, which you won’t want to miss!