Stewart Schwartz is the Executive Director and a founder of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, which he built into the leading smart growth organization in the Washington DC region, addressing the interconnected issues of land use, transportation, urban design, housing, and climate change. An attorney with experience in land use, transportation, and the environment, Mr. Schwartz has worked for the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, the Land Trust Alliance, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and has volunteered for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He is responsible for the strategic direction of the Coalition, whose Blueprint for a Better Region makes the case for urban revitalization, transit and transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and more walkable communities. He is a leader of state transportation reform campaigns in Virginia, serves on the board of the Virginia Conservation Network, and is a founder and board member of the Richmond Area Partnership for Smarter Growth.
Stewart is an attorney, but he’s also a retired Navy Captain with 24 years of active and reserve service. He holds a BA and JD from the University of Virginia (a “double-Hoo”) and an MA from Georgetown University. He’s a member of the Virginia Bar Association, and a 2012 graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. We’d think he’s amazing, even if he hadn’t been recognized by the Washington Business Journal as Business Person of the Year (2002), a finalist for their Green Business Visionary Award (2009), and as a member of their Power 100 (2012, 2013, 2015)!
Our Policy Director, Cheryl leads our efforts in DC and Maryland. Cheryl is the voice of our equitable development campaigns — working with community activists, nonprofits, and government agencies to promote transit-oriented development, housing choice, economic development, pedestrian and bicyclist safety and access in less-affluent communities throughout the region. She routinely demonstrates that it’s possible to use the bus system for hard-to-reach meetings in the suburbs (but boy, is there room for service improvement). Prior to her work as Policy Director, Cheryl served as the Executive Director for the Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities (WRN), which merged with the Coalition for Smarter Growth in 2007.
Before WRN, Cheryl worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from UMD College Park and a Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley.
Adding to the many plaques adorning our office’s walls, Cheryl received the Distinguished Leadership for a Citizen Planner Award from the National Capital Area Chapter of APA in 2006. She is a parent of two small children and an enthusiastic bird-watcher.
Maryland Advocacy Manager
As Maryland Advocacy Manager, Jane engages with local officials, community and business leaders, residents, and activists in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to build coalitions that support smart growth policies. She researches, develops, and executes strategies for new and ongoing campaigns to achieve our priority goals in transit, safe walking and bicycling, transit-oriented development, and affordable housing.
Jane’s experience spans multiple levels of government, including the EPA’s Smart Growth Program, the Maryland General Assembly, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and Hyattsville Community Development Corporation. Before joining CSG, Jane completed a fellowship at the Montgomery County Council, researching policy issues related to accessory dwelling units and affordable housing.
Jane holds a Master of Public Policy, with a specialization in City Management and Public Finance, and a BA in Economics, both from UMD College Park. Outside of work, Jane enjoys going to concerts, finding new bike routes, and seeing plays.
Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager
Sonya is our Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager and teams with our NoVA partners to achieve our shared goals for healthy, livable communities. She is on the board of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, Fairfax Families for Safe Streets, and a past leader with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. She spends a lot of time in Fairfax where she’s tracking the Huntington Metro and West Falls Church Metro plans, and Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit.
Sonya lives in Falls Church in a car-light household where she is able to bike, walk and take public transit to get around the neighborhood and region. She enjoys the outdoors and has long worked to promote active transportation, outdoor recreation, and environmental sustainability.
Communications and Administrative Assistant
Ayesha is the newest addition to our team, joining full-time after her graduation from the University of Maryland in May 2021. Ayesha majored in Public Policy and is a strong believer in communication as a catalyst for real change. She is passionate about using her communications and policy skills to promote smart growth, sustainability, and environmentalism. In her spare time, she loves hiking new trails, pretending to be an esthetician, and volunteering for organizations that make the D.C. region a better place to live.
Bill Pugh, AICP CTP
Senior Policy Fellow
Bill is our policy fellow, working at the intersection of CSG’s initiatives and climate change mitigation & resilience. He is looking at how land use, transportation and housing decisions in VA, MD and DC can support local and regional efforts to reduce GHG emissions 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Bill is an urban planner who has worked on a wide range of transportation projects and studies across the DMV region. He lives in Alexandria, where he serves on the City’s Environmental Policy Commission and is active in various community and faith groups.