The leading voice for smarter growth since 1994

1000 Friends of Maryland advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns.



Staff and Board



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Dru Schmidt-Perkins
President and CEO
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Dru Schmidt-Perkins became 1000 Friends of Maryland’s first Executive Director in 1998 after serving on the founding steering committee for two years. Prior to joining 1000 Friends she was the Maryland State and Chesapeake Regional Director of Clean Water Action for over nine years. Dru has over 30 years of experience on a broad range of energy, growth, and environmental issues gained while working on the state and federal level.



Kimberly Golden Brandt
Local Policy Director
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Kimberly manages the organization’s local campaigns. She advises officials and advocates working to advance sustainable growth in their communities and provides technical analysis of local planning efforts. Kimberly received a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked as a professional planner for eighteen years, focusing primarily on the relationship between people and the natural and built environments. Her work experience includes local land use planning and natural hazard mitigation planning for the State of Maryland. 


Sally Otto
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Sally has over twenty years of project administration and management experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She is a graduate of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and the University of Maryland at Baltimore with extensive experience in construction management, historic preservation, and human resources. 


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Alexandra Ryan

Alexandra is the local policy intern. She supports the organizations local campaigns by assisting with communication and outreach, including maintaining social media presence and online updates for several of the organization’s coalitions. Alexandra received an Associate’s Degree from Anne Arundel Community College in Business Administration and is working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Baltimore’s R.G. Merrick School of Business. 


Board of Directors

  • Dale Sams, Chair
  • Karla Aghajanian, First Vice Chair
  • Caroline Moore, Second Vice Chair
  • Rick Struse, Treasurer
  • Marsha Ramsay, Secretary
  • Alfred W. Barry, III
  • Robert C. Embry, Jr.
  • Klaus Philipsen
  • Edwin Remsberg
  • Ellen Stifler
  • Ginger Woolridge

Recognizing Karen Lewand

After eighteen years of service to the organization, in October Karen Lewand stepped down from the Board of 1000 Friends of Maryland in 2013. Ms. Lewand was a founding member of the organization; through her professional connections, deep understanding of the issues, and visionary nature, she helped create the organization in 1994.

In her professional and volunteer service she has long pursued the dual goals of providing resources to Baltimore City’s architects to help them better their practices through knowledge and fellowship and educating Baltimore’s public about the significance of the built environment in their lives. Ms. Lewand served as the Executive Director of AIA Baltimore since 1992. She introduced the city’s first architecture walking tours and created a curriculum that teaches architecture to young students through the lenses of art, math, and history.

We thank her for her dedicated service to 1000 Friends, to Baltimore City, and to smart growth in Maryland.