A lifetime of dedication to the Chesapeake Bay

In August 2017, alumna Kate Fritz was named executive director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, an organization dedicated to restoring the bay’s rivers and streams through partnerships, collaboration, and individual and community stewardship.

This move represents the next step in an educational journey and professional career that, over the years, has allowed her to live in and help protect five of the seven Chesapeake Bay watershed jurisdictions.

Fritz started her career performing wetland and forest land delineations, then moved to land and water use policy, spending seven years with the Planning Department in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where she worked on the county’s General Plan.

“I loved working at the local level to improve policy, but I found myself craving more of a leadership role,” Fritz recalled. “I was drawn to the Executive Master of Natural Resources program through the college’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability because it’s an executive master’s. These are skills that any leader needs to have, and you learn to use them through the lens of sustainability. I use that framework all the time in my current position.”

Fritz, who in 2012 was among the first Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) graduates, was also drawn to the program’s international aspect. “I thought I wanted to work overseas, so this let me get some international experience on my resume,” she said. Fritz completed an international residency in China, where she and the rest of her cohort designed a sustainability strategy for a historic landmark hotel.

Upon completion of the program, however, Fritz decided to continue her work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that she has called home for much of her life, accepting a position as executive director at the South River Foundation in Edgewater, Maryland.

In her current role as executive director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Fritz uses the skills she learned in the XMNR program to impact the Chesapeake Bay on an even larger scale. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization, takes part in strategic planning, and works closely with volunteers and the board of directors.

“I love seeing new locations and traveling around the watershed. I get to experience new geographies and have conversations with people about how we do our work and how we can help each other,” she said.

Fritz was thrilled to learn that another XMNR graduate, Brian Macnamara, senior vice president and corporate controller of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., serves on the alliance’s board of directors. “He’s been exposed to the same sustainability framework that I was, so we can talk about operations from the same mindset. It gave us an instant sense of camaraderie,” Fritz said.

“This organization works tirelessly for cleaner water in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s their passion and drive that is contagious to me. I hope mine is to them as well,” she added.