Kate Fritz is no stranger to the issues that face the Chesapeake Bay watershed, having lived in five of the seven Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions.
Fritz joins the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay as the new executive director, bringing more than 15 years of experience in scientific data collection, local land use planning, ecological restoration and nonprofit management. She served as the executive director for the South River Federation for the last three years in Annapolis.
Fritz started at the Alliance on Aug. 1, and has spent her first month and a half talking to staff, partners, and sponsors to learn about the opportunities that lie ahead for the Alliance.
Kate received her bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in environmental science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland; her master of science in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland University College, and an Executive Masters in Natural Resources Management, focused on Leadership for Sustainability from Virginia Tech.
She sits on the Board of the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy, having served in various leadership roles as one of its founding board members.
She also volunteers her time as the membership committee chair for the Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, a local giving circle focused on women and family issues.
For the last 15 years, Fritz has been sharpening her professional leadership skills while focusing on building and fostering partnerships and collaborative teams engaged in watershed restoration and protection.
She started her career collecting water quality data on the St. Mary’s River, and upon graduation from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, started working as an environmental scientist at a local Annapolis consulting firm, Environmental Systems Analysis. After spending two years performing forest stand and wetland delineations, learning stream restoration techniques, and collecting water quality data related to land development, Fritz shifted to a career in policy. She spent seven years working in the Planning Department in Prince George’s County, MD, focusing on land use planning related to water resources. Her last assignment at the Planning Department was to update the County’s General Plan, helping to shape where and how Prince George’s County will grow over the next 30 years.
She was hired as the executive director of the South River Federation in 2014, where she helped the organization grow into a well-respected advocate and implementation partner for ecological restoration. She spent three years at the federation helping to build a multimillion-dollar stream restoration and stormwater reduction program, and led a highly regarded monitoring program that tracks the health of the South River.
In a reality, where Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts are turning increasingly local, Fritz is seeking opportunities to increase the Alliance’s partnerships with community groups, farmers, governments, businesses and other diverse stakeholders. One of her main focus areas is looking for ways to duplicate successful efforts across the watershed.
During the first month of her tenure, she focused on getting to know the important stakeholders for the Alliance, and looking to the future of where efforts in scientific monitoring, stewardship, engagement and restoration will be shifting. One of her top priorities will be to continue to engage businesses and build on the important work of the Businesses for the Bay Program.
“My whole career has been focused at the local level,” she said. “But now I am moving my scope from a scale of 66 square miles on the South River, and expanding it to 64,000 square miles on the Chesapeake Bay. The ability to achieve greater impact by leading, inspiring and supporting local actions is even greater now, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be at the helm of this incredible organization.”
You can meet Kate Fritz and welcome her to the Alliance, as well as wish Al Todd a happy retirement, at the 2017 Taste of the Chesapeake Gala and Silent Auction on Sept. 14 at the Belcher Pavilion of the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. The event showcases our programs and our progress toward Bay restoration and raises critical funds to support our vital mission to restore and protect the Chesapeake and increase the impact of our work across the Chesapeake watershed.
At The Taste of the Chesapeake, the Alliance will also recognize its environmental leadership award winners: Mayor Rick Gray of Lancaster, PA; Dave Gunnerson, a senior staff environmental engineer at Lockheed Martin in Manassas, VA; Betsy Love, a Master Watershed Steward in Anne Arundel County; and Greg Wilson, with Donegal Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Lancaster, PA.
Those who attend will be treated to Chesapeake-inspired food and drink, live music, raffles and a silent auction. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased online at allianceforthebay.org/taste or by calling the Alliance at 443-949-0575.
Marissa Spratley is the communications specialist for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
The views expressed by columnists are not necessarily those of the Bay Journal.