Task Force: Who They Are
Task Force Members Biographies
Chair: Heather Dlhopolsky - Heather Dlhopolsky is an Attorney at Linowes & Blocher’s Land Use/Zoning practice group. Ms. Dlhopolsky has appeared before the Montgomery County and Prince George's County Planning Boards and Charles County Planning Commission, as well as the Montgomery County Board of Appeals and Hearing Examiner, Montgomery County and Prince George's County Circuit Courts, and Montgomery District Court.
She is extensively involved in the community, primarily focused on the Bethesda-Chevy Chase region. Ms. Dlhopolsky currently serves on the Board of Directors and is Chair of the Economic Development & Government Affairs Committee at the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of and immediate past Chair of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board.
Vice Chair, Henriot St. Gerard - is currently an Associate/Financial Deputy for Booz Allen Hamilton. He is a Montgomery County native and current resident of Wheaton. He is very active in the community and is currently the Chair of the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee (WUDAC). He has a diversity of experience in budget, finance, and consulting, which he hopes to contribute to the Nighttime Economy Task Force.
Kristina Bigby: As a Barwood team member since November 2004, she has nearly nine years' experience in the transportation industry. Barwood is nationally recognized for its technology and service innovations and is responsible for internal communications and employee relations, with some public relations and community outreach activities included. External communications consists of maintaining a strong relationship and brand identity within the community. This includes customer response letters, Constant Contact email marketing to over 14,000 customers, a quarterly newsletter to State and local elected officials and managing Barwood’s social media portals such as Facebook and Twitter. Ms. Bigby holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Virginia. After graduation, she worked as a front line manager in the Small Business department for Capital One Services Inc. However, her desire for a communications career prompted her to leave Capital One to pursuit a master of journalism degree from the University's Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She is on the Board of the Family Support Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help youth, school, communities and families reach their full potential through educational and preventative programs. www.fscone.org.
Andy Chod - Chod is Vice-President of Leasing and Marketing for Minkoff Development and, as a young professional, he looks for a vibrant social environment that can balance the work place. His knowledge of the local market is a requirement for his work and would be an asset in guiding Montgomery County's efforts to create/position our nighttime economy.
Mike Diegel - A native of Washington, D.C., Mike moved to Silver Spring’s Northwood/Four Corners neighborhood in 1993. He quickly became involved with his local civic groups including his local civic association, the Allied Civic Group, the Silver Spring Redevelopment Steering Committee, and later helped create Silver Spring Forward, which was devoted to bringing a music hall to Silver Spring. His efforts to build grassroots support for the project helped win approval for The Fillmore in Silver Spring from the state, the County Council and the Park & Planning Board. Diegel was appointed in 2008 by County Executive Ike Leggett to the executive’s new Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee, and has served as its chair for the last two years. Professionally, Diegel has worked in public relations for a number of national trade associations and advocacy groups in Washington. He and his wife are principals in Primo Partners, a communications and public affairs consulting firm.
Miti Figueredo - Miti is Vice President for Public Affairs at the Chevy Chase Land Company. Currently, she is managing the Land Company's redevelopment project at Chevy Chase Lake, which when approved and built will create a walkable, mixed-use community adjacent to a Purple Line stop in between Bethesda and Silver Spring. Previously, she served as the East County Regional Services Director in Montgomery County, Maryland. Before being appointed Regional Director by County Executive Isiah Leggett in 2011, Miti served as Chief of Staff to Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro and as a Senior Legislative Aide to Councilmember Roger Berliner. She is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law.
Evan Glass - Evan has served on the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board since 2006 and was elected Chair in May 2012. A communications professional and former CNN journalist, he co-founded the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association and is currently president of the Indian Spring Citizens Association. During his tenure on the Advisory Board, Evan has advocated for transit-oriented development, more green space in downtown Silver Spring, and he continues to support the area's independent mom-and-pop businesses through various initiatives. An active participant in the community, Evan is also a graduate of Leadership Montgomery and serves on the boards of Equality Maryland, Conservation Montgomery, Montgomery Housing Partnerships and Safe Silver Spring.
Will Jawando - Jawando is the Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at Discovery Communications. Based at the company’s global corporate headquarters in Silver Spring, Jawando is responsible for developing and cultivating Discovery’s public-private partnerships with key external constituencies. He provides counsel and outreach on various policy issues. Jawando most recently served as the Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Assistant to Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. In that role, he served as a liaison to the business and philanthropic community on the Obama Administration’s education initiatives. He also served as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement where he led White House outreach efforts in the areas of education, poverty and on issues relating to children and families. Jawando holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a J.D. from The Catholic University of America. He lives in Silver Spring with his wife and two children.
Erica Leatham - Erica A. Leatham, of counsel in the Real Estate Department, possesses extensive experience in local zoning and land-use matters in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region, including Montgomery, Prince Georges, Howard, Frederick, and Anne Arundel Counties in Maryland and Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Northern Virginia. She is a member of the firm's Commercial Real Estate Recovery, Eminent Domain, Real Estate Development, Real Estate Tax, and Zoning and Land Use Groups. Ms. Leatham represents clients before Metropolitan D.C. government bodies and agencies and various state and local administrative boards and committees, including the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Planning Board, planning commissions, historic preservation commissions, boards of appeals, and sign review boards. Ms. Leatham also serves as the Chair of the Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Commission. She lives in Bethesda with her husband and two children.
Alice Nappy - Alice Nappy is Executive Director of VisArts, a non-profit arts organization located in Rockville. She has been with VisArts for three years and was appointed Executive Director in January 2011. Previously, Alice spent 12 years as a consultant working with area non-profits on fundraising, board development, special events and management issues. Her clients included the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Operation Homefront, the International Women’s Media Foundation, Crossway Community and the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups. Alice served for ten years as the Director of Development and Director of Human Resources and Finances at the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C. and for two years as Director of Development at the Women’s Equity Action League. She is a 1979 graduate of Georgetown University with a Bachelors Degree in Foreign Service. She and her husband reside in Potomac, Maryland and she has three college age daughters who are graduates of Montgomery County Public Schools.
Megan Pagado – Pagado is an arts marketer, technophile and cultural evangelist. Currently working as the Assistant Manager of Digital Media at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, she previously served as the Digital Communications and Outreach Manager at the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, where she served the County's cultural community through marketing services, professional development and capacity-building opportunities and advocacy work. She also worked to promote the role of the arts in business and community through a variety of projects, including the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Summit in September 2012. Megan also serves on the steering committees of Emerging Arts Leaders DC and Emerging Arts Advocates of Maryland. She holds a B.A. in Public Communications from Washington Adventist University (formerly Columbia Union College) in Takoma Park, MD and currently resides in downtown Silver Spring.
Alan Pohoryles: Born in Washington, DC, but grew up in Laurel, MD until 1985. Parents Louis and Libby Pohoryles, moved the family to Bethesda, MD in 1985. Attended Sandy Spring Friends School in Sandy Spring, MD from 6th grade through 12th, and graduated from The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio in 1992 where he majored in History and lettered in Football and Lacrosse. He worked in the restaurant business since 1985 learning the business from every position there was to work. After graduating college, he began working in sales with Datawatch Systems, located on East West Highway in Bethesda. He also worked for the Washington Capitals, with Kevin Plank the Founder and CEO of Under Armour and Red Coats Inc. In 2000, he finished his business plan to open his own restaurant, at that time he was working full time at Tommy Joe’s as a Manager and Bartender. The Owners of Tommy Joe’s approached him to buy their restaurant instead of opening his own and agreed. Since 2001, he has turned a struggling restaurant into a neighborhood restaurant and bar that has been thriving for the past 12 years. Today, he is in the process of opening the first large Roof top restaurant and full service bar in Bethesda called Roof, on the corner of Norfolk and Cordell Avenues in Bethesda.
Dan Reed – A planner and architect by training, Dan Reed writes about how young people experience the public realm. Dan works for the Friends of White Flint, writes his own blog, Just Up the Pike about Silver Spring, and serves as the Land Use Chair for the Action Committee for Transit.
Vanessa Rodriguez - Vanessa is a Senior Marketing Manager for Federal Realty Investment Trust and has been with the company since 2009. She is responsible for all marketing, branding, and communications programs for Bethesda Row and Wildwood Shopping Center. Vanessa also oversees the brand development, implementation, and community engagement for the Trust’s largest mixed-use redevelopment, Pike & Rose. Ms. Rodriguez has been in the real estate industry for over 10 years and has held a variety of sales and marketing positions. As a Marketing Manager for Forest City Washington, Vanessa managed marketing and branding initiatives for the company’s mixed-use development projects in the DC Metro area including The Yards, a 42-acre project in the capital riverfront; Konterra, a 488-acre, master-planned, mixed-use community in northern Prince George’s County, Maryland; and Waterfront Station, a 13.5-acre mixed-use, transit-oriented project in Southwest, DC. A native of South Florida, Vanessa graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies. She began her career in television news, reporting in the Sarasota, Florida market. Vanessa currently resides in Friendship Heights.
Jonathan Sachs - Jonathan Sachs’ career has been shaped by a passion for public service and government relations at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels of government. Jonathan began as an intern for Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-5) in the United States House of Representatives while he was a high school student in Montgomery County and returned to that office when Congressman Hoyer became the Majority Leader in 2007. While he was a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, Jonathan took the lessons he learned on Capitol Hill to become President of the University’s chapter of the College Democrats and then President of the Maryland State Federation of College Democrats. Jonathan also got his introduction to the state legislative process as the Legislative and District Director for Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher (D-MD18). As a sophomore, Jonathan was elected President of the Student Body, the youngest person to be chosen in 30 years. In 2011, Jonathan was named Director of Public Affairs at the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. His portfolio includes federal, state, and county government relations, communications, media, social networking, and managing the Chamber’s four policy committees. During his time with the Chamber, Jonathan has served on the Montgomery County Executive’s Transit Task Force and currently serves on the Rapid Transit System Steering Committee. On the State level, the Chamber led the advocacy effort passage of two bills that were signed by Governor O’Malley in May of 2012. One bill expanded the Maryland Small Business Reserve Program and the other created a one-of-a-kind tax credit to incentivize defense related federal contracting business to locate in Maryland. A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, Jonathan currently resides in Bethesda.
Holly Sears - Holly Sears is the President of the Montgomery County Business Development Corporation (MBDC). As President of the MBDC, her primary responsibilities include business advocacy, retention of existing companies and recruitment. Prior to MBDC Ms. Sears was Vice President Economic Development for the Rutherford County, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce.
William C. Smith, Jr: is an attorney and presidential appointee in the Obama Administration serving at the Department of Homeland Security as a Director of the Homeland Security Advisory Council in Washington, DC. Ms. Smith also serves as a direct commission officer in the US Navy Reserve working in the intelligence community. Before coming to the federal government, Mr. Smith worked in the general counsel’s office of a government relations firm and at a civil rights law firm handling employment discrimination cases. In 2005, inspired by his work as an Americorp volunteer, Mr. Smith founded Youth Achieve, the nonprofit and scholarship fund which last year raised $40,000 for exceptional non-traditional post secondary students who have shown academic promise and a dedication to public service. Mr. Smith has a J.D. from the College of William and Mary and a MA in Government and Public Policy from John Hopkins University.
Gamunu "Gam" Wijetunge - Gamunu "Gam" Wijetunge grew up in Wheaton, where his parents still reside, and graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. While in high school he began volunteering with the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad (WVRS), where he currently holds the rank of captain and is a volunteer paramedic and firefighter. He has also held a number of administrative positions with the WVRS since joining in 1995, including serving as its Second Vice President and parliamentarian. Gam was appointed to the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board (MCCAB) in May 2008. In addition to serving as the 2011-2012 Chair of the MCCAB, Gam has chaired several of the MCCAB's committees and is currently the MCCAB's representative to the Wheaton Public Safety Work Group.
Doug Wrenn - Wrenn is a principal with Rodgers Consulting, Inc. working with many development projects in Montgomery and Frederick Counties and he was a leader in the successful redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring. He has served as Chairman of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce and participated on Urban Land Institute panels, and he works to ensure that the right elements are considered in place making while realizing that Montgomery County has different communities that may require different elements.