Stewart Schwartz is the Executive Director and a founder of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG), the leading organization in the D.C. region advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way to grow and provide opportunities for all. The Coalition, celebrating its 25 th year, has been recognized by the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of the best small charities in the Washington, D.C. region. In 2017, CSG earned the Regional Partnership Award from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Mr. Schwartz is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the Congress for the New Urbanism, and serves on the boards of Smart Growth America, the Virginia Conservation Network, and the Richmond Partnership for Smarter Growth. A retired Navy Captain who served a combined 24 years of active duty and reserve service, he earned a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and a J.D. from the University of Virginia, and a M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. In addition to his Navy service, he worked for the President’s Council for Sustainable Development and consulted to the Land Trust Alliance prior to launching CSG. Mr. Schwartz is a 2012 graduate of the UVA Sorensen Institute’s Political Leadership Program.
The Washington Business Journal recognized him as Business Person of the Year in 2002 and has included him three times in their Power 100 most influential private sector and non profit leaders in the DC region.
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.
Montgomery Advocacy Manager
Carrie comes to CSG by way of Action in Montgomery (AIM), where she worked with 30+ community organizations to organize in support of affordable housing, safe streets, and more, and Greater Greater Washington, where she worked on the engagement team.
During her time with AIM, Carrie partnered with CSG and Montgomery for All to advocate for the Thrive 2050 general plan and organize a rally for affordable housing at the Chevy Chase Library.
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.