Planning Director, Gwen Wright
Since July 2013, Gwen Wright has been the Director of the Montgomery County Planning Department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. In this role, Ms. Wright oversees a wide range of projects that aim to improve the quality of life in Montgomery County by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment. Montgomery County is one of the largest jurisdictions in Maryland with over 1 million residents and has a key role in the dynamic Washington D.C. metropolitan growth area. Ms. Wright also worked for the Montgomery County Planning Department from 1987 to 2008. During this period, she served as the Chief of Countywide Planning, including supervising the Environmental Planning, Transportation Planning and Historic Preservation Sections, as well as serving as Acting Planning Director.
Prior to her appointment as the Montgomery County Planning Director in 2013, Ms. Wright was Chief of the Development Division for the City of Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning for five years. In this position, she reviewed development proposals throughout the City of Alexandria and shepherded a wide variety of projects – from urban infill to major brownfields reclamation – through the regulatory process and implementation.
Ms. Wright began her career in Texas as the Director of Architectural Design and Redevelopment for the Galveston Historical Foundation in Galveston, Texas. She has degrees in Architecture and Architectural History from Yale University and has spoken at numerous national and regional conferences on a wide variety of planning issues.
Ms. Wright lives in the Cleveland Park neighborhood in Washington D.C., where she is co-chair of the Cleveland Park Historical Society Architectural Review Committee. She is a member of Lambda Alpha and a graduate of ULI Washington’s Regional Leadership Institute.
Attorney Carol Rubin of the Maryland-National Capital Planning Commission has been appointed the Acting Deputy Planning Director. She will serve in this position while the Planning Department recruits and hires a permanent replacement for Deputy Director Rose Krasnow, who retired at the end of 2017 to run for Montgomery County Executive.
Since 2005, Rubin has worked as principal counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at M-NCPPC. She has provided legal support to the Montgomery Planning Department and Planning Board, advising on development applications and master plans, and issues related to land use and real estate. In the 1990s, Rubin served as the primary business liaison and County Executive designee on property acquisition for the Silver Spring Redevelopment project and was on the Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce Board. She was also the vice president of property management for a major developer and, during a stint at Exxon Mobil, she was the corporate representative on real estate transactions. She earned law and bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Maryland.
Rubin brings a great deal of real estate and business operations knowledge and excellent supervisory skills to her new position. While she serves as Acting Deputy Planning Director, attorney Matt Mills will be the Acting Principal Counsel at the M-NCPPC.
Planning Area 1
Robert Kronenberg is the Division Chief of Area 1, the urban areas inside the beltway, including Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and Friendship Heights. He oversees the master plan and development review functions for this section of the County. His background is in Landscape Architecture and Planning with over 13 years of service at the Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission in a number of capacities, and 10 years in the private sector as a planner, project manager and landscape architect. Robert has served on many committees at the Commission and in the County related to transportation, building and site design, environment and enforcement and is a graduate of Louisana State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture.
Carrie Sanders is the Division Chief of Area 2, and she oversees the master plan and development review functions for this section of the County. Prior to her appointment as the Area 2 Division Chief, Ms. Sanders served for seven years in the City of Alexandria, most recently as the Deputy Director of Transportation/Transit for the City of Alexandria. In this position, she moved forward several major projects, including the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station and the Potomac Yard Small Area Plan, the operation and expansion of Metroway, the DC region’s first Bus Rapid Transit system, and the review and implementation of development proposals throughout the City of Alexandria.
Ms. Sanders began her career in Brussels, Belgium working in economic development, and has over 12 years of planning experience in the DC region, in both Maryland and Virginia. Carrie holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Area 3 Division Chief
Karen Warnick is the Division Chief of Management Services. She oversees the budget, procurement, human resources, web services and communications outreach for the Department. Prior to joining the Montgomery Planning Department in February 2015, Karen spent 22 years working for the Montgomery County Department of Parks. Over the course of her career at Parks, she served as the Management Analyst, Administrative Specialist, Enterprise Regional Operations Manager and Departmental Budget Manager. She holds bachelor of science degree in finance, bachelor of arts degree in economics and a master of arts degree in recreation administration, all from the University of Maryland.
Research and Special Projects
Caroline McCarthy is the Division Chief for Research and Special Projects, which is responsible for providing demographic, economic, real estate market, and affordable housing analysis to support master plans, development review, and land use policy decisions. Caroline joined the Montgomery County Planning Department in April 2016 from HR&A Advisors, a national real estate, economic development, and public policy consulting firm, where she was managing principal in the Washington, DC office. She has extensive experience developing market analyses and implementation strategies for master plans of complex sites, including brownfields, former military bases, downtowns, and transit-oriented development. She has also provided economic and real estate market advisory services to private sector clients looking to advance real estate development or public policy initiatives. Caroline holds a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Wesleyan University. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute and Lambda Alpha International.
Functional Planning and Policy
Pamela Dunn has worked at the Planning Department since 2006. She began her tenure as a Planning Researcher in the Research and Technology Division where she worked extensively on the Transferable Development Rights, and Building Lot Termination programs. She has coordinated and drafted several editions of the Subdivision Staging Policy, while also maintaining current information on school adequacy and infrastructure. For the past few years Ms. Dunn has led the rewrite of the County’s zoning ordinance. Updating the 40+ year old code is a major accomplishment for the Planning Department. Prior to joining the Planning Department, Ms. Dunn worked on land use and agricultural policy for the Economic Research Service, the University of Maryland, and Mathematica Policy Research. Ms. Dunn received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently a commissioner for the Montgomery County Commission on Child Care, and a board member for the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County.
Information Technology and Innovation
Henry Mobayeni is the Division Chief of Information Technology and Innovation overseeing and managing 24-7 operations of the Information Technology (IT) for the Commissioner’s Office, Montgomery County Department of Parks including Park Police and the Montgomery County Planning Department. Henry’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to setting IT goals and strategic plans for the Montgomery County wing of the Commission, developing strategies and action plans for implementation, and overseeing the Wide Area Network (WAN) and telecommunication systems in Montgomery County. Henry holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in computer system applications from American University and a Doctorate in Information Science from George Washington.
Development Applications and Regulatory Coordination
Mark Pfefferle is the Division Chief that is responsible for the intake and initial processing of all development applications, providing information to customers, forest conservation inspections and site plan enforcement, recordkeeping and archiving of all plan types. Mr. Pfefferle has over 13 years of experience with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and 12 years of private sector experience. He has served as a project manager, supervisor, environmental policy analyst and environmental economist throughout various periods of his career. Mr. Pfefferle has served on many committees and is currently a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Outdoor Lighting Committee.
Senior Urban Designer in the Director’s Office
Paul Mortensen is a Chief and Senior Urban Designer in the Director’s Office at Montgomery Planning and is leading the Design Excellence efforts within the organization. He is a registered architect in the states of California, Washington and Maryland, is a LEED Accredited Professional, a member of the Congress for New Urbanism, and is an Architect and Urban Designer of significant talent and experience with a strong emphasis on sustainable architecture design in urban settings. His primary focus over the past thirty years has been on master planning and urban design of residential and mixed-use communities. Mr. Mortensen was an Associate Principle with Torti Gallas and Partners in Silver Spring, Maryland where he served as a leading principal of the Planning and Urban Design Studio and was involved in a number of large scale, award winning master planning projects and new town designs such as the Crystal City, Virginia Master Plan and the Tacoma, Washington Salishan HOPE VI development.