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.
Tanya Stern is Deputy Planning Director at the Montgomery County Planning Department where she oversees five divisions providing countywide policy development and data analysis for zoning, growth management, transportation planning, historic preservation and housing; real estate and economic analysis and population forecasting; and department-wide services including human resources, budgeting, GIS and information technology and communications. She also is serving as an advisor for Montgomery County’s General Plan Update, Thrive Montgomery 2050, launched in 2019.
Ms. Stern previously served for 14 years in the Government of the District of Columbia. She spent eight years at the DC Office of Planning (OP), most recently as Deputy Director overseeing OP’s Neighborhood Planning and Design divisions. While in that role, she also served as Project Director to launch DC’s current Comprehensive Plan update. She led the creation of new planning policies to integrate the topic of resilience throughout DC’s Comprehensive Plan, oversaw updates to the Plan’s land use, urban design and 10 geographic area policy chapters and evaluated proposed plan amendments from the public. Ms. Stern’s District government experience also included serving as OP’s Chief of Staff, in agency program and performance management and budget development roles in other District agencies, including the Executive Office of the Mayor, and as a community planner for the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. Additionally, she has 11 years of non-profit sector experience.
Ms. Stern holds a master’s in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania and is certified through the American Institute of Certified Planners and as a Certified Public Manager. She also is a member of Lambda Alpha International, the Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Ms. Stern is currently the co-chair of the ULI Washington District Council’s Placemaking Initiative Council and co-chair of ULI Washington’s Initiative Council Steering Committee.
Robert Kronenberg is the Deputy Planning Director for Montgomery Planning and oversees the Downcounty, Mid-County and Upcounty planning teams as well as the Intake and Regulatory Coordination Division (IRC). His background is in Landscape Architecture and Planning with over 19 years of service at the Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission in a number of capacities, including enforcement, development review and master plans. He has led a wide range of projects and plans that have improved the quality of life and experience in the natural and built environments, including Cabin Branch, Clarksburg Town Center, Marriott Headquarters, Park Potomac, and Downtown Silver Spring.
Prior to his career at the Commission, he spent 10 years with private engineering and land planning firms as a planner, project manager and landscape architect. He has served on many committees and panels at the Commission and in the County related to transportation, building and site design, environment and enforcement, and is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree and license in Landscape Architecture.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Director in 2019, Mr. Kronenberg served as the Division Chief of the Area 1 team, focused on urban development and master planning in Bethesda, Chevy Chase Lake, Longbranch, Lyttonsville, Silver Spring and Westbard.
Mr. Kronenberg lives in Silver Spring and is active in local Boy Scouts. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Planning Association and Lambda Alpha International.
An urban designer and architect by training, Elza Hisel-McCoy is the Division Chief of Downcounty Planning. He leads the master plan and development review teams in the urbanizing areas of Montgomery County inside the Capital Beltway. Elza joined the Montgomery County Planning Department in 2006 after five years in the private sector designing HOPE VI neighborhood revitalization projects with Torti Gallas and Partners of Silver Spring, MD. Prior to his current position, he led two sector plans, Chevy Chase Lake and Bethesda Purple Line Station, and reviews of numerous development applications.
Carrie Sanders is the Division Chief of Mid-County Planning, and she oversees the master plan and development review functions for this section of the County. Prior to her appointment as the Mid-County Planning 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.
Patrick Butler is the Chief of the Upcounty Planning Division. He leads the master plan and development review teams within the Upcounty, which encompasses approximately two-thirds of the County and includes Potomac, Darnestown, Germantown, Clarksburg, Damascus, Olney, Ashton-Sandy Spring, Burtonsville, Fairland and the Agricultural Reserve. Patrick joined the Montgomery County Planning Department in 2007 and has been a resident of the Upcounty since 2008. Prior to joining the Commission, Patrick worked as a planner in Kittitas County, a predominantly rural and agricultural county in the State of Washington, working directly with natural resource and agricultural industries and communities. As a college student in the State of Washington, he worked multiple jobs within and related to the agricultural industry. Patrick is excited about the eclectic diversity of the Upcounty, which includes urban, suburban, rural and agricultural disciplines.
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.
Bridget Broullire is dedicated to getting the word out about the valuable work of Montgomery Planning. Bridget is proud to work with a talented team of graphic designers, writers and digital media specialists who take an audience-centric approach to promoting the work of Montgomery Planning through a variety of channels. She has honed her approach to communications through her work at Hearst-Argyle Television, NBC Sports Washington (formerly Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic) and the City of Rockville’s award-winning government access channel – Rockville 11. Bridget holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from the Philip Merrill School of Journalism with a minor in Marketing from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Bridget is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and has presented on engaging outreach strategies at the American Planning Association’s national conference. Bridget invites you to Connect with Montgomery Planning and get involved with the future of Montgomery County.
Research and Strategic Projects
Caroline McCarthy is the Division Chief for Research and Strategic 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.
Jason Sartori is the Chief of the Countywide Planning and Policy Division, which focuses on Montgomery County’s countywide planning efforts, including: transportation planning, transportation networks and modeling, public infrastructure adequacy monitoring (including schools), environmental resources, historic preservation, Vision Zero, zoning and housing policy. Jason joined the Planning Department in 2016, and has since helped lead two updates to the county’s adequate public facilities ordinance, known as the Growth and Infrastructure Policy. He is currently overseeing Montgomery Planning’s efforts to allow more diverse housing options in the county’s single-family zones, develop the county’s first ever pedestrian master plan, and identify transit priorities for the I-270 corridor. Jason previously served as the Associate Director of the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland. While there, he led numerous projects related to affordable housing, transportation modeling, opportunity accessibility metrics, economic development, and growth visioning and scenario evaluation.
Christina was a senior legal advisor to the Planning Board and the Montgomery County Planning Department. She received her bachelor’s degree in History/Environmental Studies and Psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo, followed by a law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in New York, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, and has been with the Commission since 2008. Prior to her work at the Commission, she was a site development consultant manager with Perkowitz and Ruth Architects. She has been directly involved with the IRC team in managing forest conservation enforcement cases, is the liaison for DRC meetings, and has been involved in the updates to Chapter 50 Subdivision Regulations, Forest Conservation Regulations and zoning.
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.