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Montgomery County Welcomes Four New Regional Services Center Directors

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has appointed four new Regional Services Center directors due to a promotion and retirements of the previous directors. Three of the current Regional Services Center Directors, Catherine Matthews, Reemberto Rodriguez, and Luisa Montero are retiring from Montgomery County Government; and Ken Hartman, formerly the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services director, assumed a new role as director of Strategic Partnerships in the Office of the County Executive. Matthews, Rodriguez and Montero have served the County collectively for over 65 years.


"Our Regional Service Centers are critical outreach and operational hubs for a County as large and diverse as Montgomery County. The engagement and assistances these offices provide our residents are invaluable assets to our government operations," said County Executive Elrich. "I want to thank our four departing directors; as everyone who has worked with them knows, they have been dedicated to the community and tireless in their efforts. Their many successes will remain even as they leave their positions. Between the four of them, they have over 65 years of service to Montgomery County, including an extraordinary 45 plus years from Catherine Matthews. Each of these individuals embodied our County's values of good governance, equity and inclusion."

 

The new regional directors were confirmed by the County Council on Tuesday, July 27.


Background on Departing Directors:

 

Ken Hartman served as Director of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, representing the County Executive in a rapidly urbanizing region with a population of 280,000 and home to 50 percent of Montgomery County jobs. Hartman has proven adept at promoting community leadership and building lasting, positive relationships with business and neighborhood leaders. He has facilitated the establishment of villages – grassroots organizations that serve the needs of older adults – and drafted a guide for establishing villages. Through partnerships, Hartman greatly expanded public programs at his center in downtown Bethesda and built urban services in the Pike District, all during a period of budget reductions.  

 

Catherine Matthews started with Montgomery County Government in 1973, first working with the Department of Recreation, then the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, followed by the appointment as the Upcounty Regional Services director in 2001. She worked closely with architects to design the Silver Spring Regional Services Center and the Upcounty Regional Services Center, and then managed the selection of services and general operation of the Upcounty Center through the years to ensure that services met the changing needs of the community. With her leadership, multiagency activities were coordinated to complete much of Germantown’s commercial town center, and Clarksburg’s wave of development that began in 2001. In addition, partnerships were created with agencies and community leaders to establish a bike patrol for Germantown’s commercial district, the county’s first day worker center, the business-focused Destination Germantown Initiative, and the Germantown Youth Collaboratory. She also led site selection processes for 10 County facilities to bring county services closer to the Upcounty community.

 

Luisa Montero has been with the County as Mid County regional services director since 2015.  She played a critical role as a conduit between the County, the developer, and the community – both business and residential – for the culmination of the Wheaton Revitalization Project. Under her leadership, the County secured an Arts and Entertainment District designation which strengthened Wheaton’s support of the arts, economic viability, and attractiveness. Her work with numerous community-led groups through Neighborhood Action Teams reinvigorated trust between government and community and addressed key quality of life issues. 

 

Reemberto Rodriguez came to the County as the Silver Spring regional services  director in mid-2009. Working with multiple stakeholders in the community and business sector, he stewarded the Silver Spring Region, the Urban District, and the Arts and Entertainment District through robust growth while maintaining a welcoming environment. During this time the number of 'feet on the street' in downtown Silver Spring blossomed with the then-new Civic Building and Veterans Plaza, various entertainment venues, new restaurants and nighttime activities as well as; a doubling of the number of apartments; and the beginning of construction of the Purple Line. Throughout Silver Spring, Rodriguez worked alongside nonprofits, faith communities, tenant groups, advisory groups, and civic organizations to ensure equitable access to services, the continued livability of neighborhoods, and the economic success of small commercial areas.


"I am pleased to welcome Luisa F. Cardona de Vence (Mid-County), Peter Fosselman (Bethesday-Chevy Chase), Jacob Newman (Silver Spring) and W. Gregory Wims (Up-County)," said County Executive Elrich.  I am confident that our new directors will pick up where their respective predecessors left off. They bring a variety of different backgrounds, experiences and insight to Montgomery County, and I am looking forward to working closely with them. I also want to acknowledge the ongoing dedication and hard work of Jewru Bandeh who continues to serve as the RSC director for East County; I am delighted he will remain and know that he will provide valuable assistance to our new directors as well as continue his great work for the East County."

 

Background on New Directors:


Regional Services Center: MidCounty

Luisa F. Cardona de Vence is a dedicated public servant who brings to Montgomery County more than 10 years of experience engaging diverse communities in local, state and federal government. She is a justice-driven attorney who advocates tirelessly to eliminated unfair laws and bring about systematic change and a skilled public speaker with dozens of successful media appearances. For the last six years Cardona de Vence served as the deputy director for the City of Atlanta's Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs - Welcoming Atlanta - where she provided citywide policy and programmatic support for the integration and inclusion of migrant and marginalized communities. During her tenure she helped the city end an immigrant detention contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, implemented a city-wide Language Access Plan to 8,000 employees and led diverse community outreach campaigns for the 2020 Census and City of Atlanta COVID-19 vaccination efforts. 



Prior to joining the Mayor's Office, she served the immigrant community as an attorney in Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Maryland. IN this capacity she advocated on behalf of immigrant workers, tenants, and DREAMers. Cardona de Vance is a naturalized U.S. citizen and proud Colombian American. She holds a law degree from the American University's Washington College of Law and a bachelor's degree from Georgia State University. 

 

Regional Services Center: Bethesda-Chevy Chase

Peter Fosselman brings over 30 years of experience in the business, private, and public sectors to the position with an education in Urban Studies and Landscape Design. Currently Fosselman is the Master Plan ombudsman for Montgomery County, overseeing the implementation of the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan and the White Flint Sector Plan. From 2006 to 2016, Fosselman was the mayor of Kensington. He oversaw changes in Kensington to include a new sector plan, rejuvenated streetscapes, professional marketing, community events and the County’s first bio-retention storm drain parking facility. Fosselman was also elected president of the Maryland Mayors’ Association, serving all 152 Maryland mayors.



Prior to joining the County Administration, Fosselman was appointed Deputy Secretary of State by Governor O’Malley; and continued under Governor Hogan. In his post he was responsible for the Charity and Legal Divisions with oversight of the Maryland Charity Campaign, prisoner extraditions and the Safe at Home Program, which aids victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. Preceding his appointment as Deputy Secretary, Fosselman was a principal with Rodgers Consulting. Fosselman served as the project manager for the award-winning neo-traditional Kentlands community. Fosselman began his career with the City of Gaithersburg in 1990 as the Zoning Inspector, where he oversaw construction activity, assisted with historic safeguarding and was responsible for tree preservation. He later served as the City Council’s chair for the Olde Towne Community Development Corporation bringing new life to Gaithersburg’s historic downtown.


Regional Services Center: Silver Spring

Jacob Newman has over 15 years of experience in program development, project and grant management, fiscal oversight, business and community engagement. Newman currently serves as the Montgomery County Managing director for the Latin American Youth Center/Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (LAYC/MMYC). Over the past 13 years at LAYC/MMYC, he has managed a broad portfolio of programs focused on education, workforce development, and wrap around supports for more than 500 youth annually. In 2013, he led the restructuring of the Montgomery County Conservation Corps and subsequently implemented River Corps – locally and nationally recognized innovative green infrastructure job training programs.



Newman serves on the Board of Directors for Nonprofit Montgomery and Safe Silver Spring. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island and is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery and American University’s Key Executive Leadership Program. As the son of immigrants, he enjoys living and working in Silver Spring and values raising his family in the wonderful cultural diversity of Montgomery County.


Regional Services Center: UpCounty

W. Gregory Wims is a sixth generation Montgomery County native who has dedicated his life to serving others. He has over 45,000 community volunteer service hours and has served on over 30 nonprofit boards and commissions. He is the founder of the Victims’ Rights Foundation (VRF) which works closely with law enforcement, local governments and the business community to help victims of violent crimes. He has raised over a million dollars for the VRF in the last 25 years.




Wims started a small business in the 1980s after leaving the United States Small Business Administration where he worked in the Minority Small Business Office. He is currently vice president of Government Affairs for Bold Concepts, Inc. in Gaithersburg. Wims has raised funds and volunteered for a number of organizations in his Upcounty community, including the Boys and Girls Club (Germantown), Montgomery College, Holy Cross Hospital, Adventist Hospital and the Rotary Club of Montgomery Village.  


For more information regarding the County's Regional Service Centers, including a map, click here.

Release ID: 21-585
Media Contact: Barry Hudson, 240-300-7348
Categories: Executive Office