by Mike Conroy
On January 3, Katherine Webb began the newest phase of her career, as the Director of Architectural Standards at the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF). Webb replaces long-time employee Diane Stasiewicz, who retired at the end of 2017 with over 38 years of service to MVF.
Stasiewicz was responsible for building the department from the ground up, and had historical knowledge of many decisions and key elements of each community as prescribed by the Kettler Brothers.
Webb says she has big shoes to fill, but is looking forward to learning quickly in order to make valuable contributions to the organization and the community. “Diane was very knowledgeable and had a great appreciation for, and history of, what the Kettlers built. Other long-time staff will be a huge asset in my ability to understand the community in the way she did.”
Webb comes to MVF from an international development consulting firm that held contracts with the Federal Government. She was the operations director in one of the firm’s largest divisions where she developed skills in management, HR/personnel, finance, policy development and implementation and staff and resource management. Webb also holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning where she studied urban design and suburban development with a specialty in housing, community and economic development. The combination of degree and skills make her a great fit to lead the Architectural Standards Department.
“This is an opportunity to apply my management skills and academics, and work at the community level to make an impact where I live,” says Webb. “As a resident, I care about what the community looks like.” From a homeowner’s perspective, Webb notes that architectural standards help protect property values and keep the continuity and integrity of the Village. A major reason that homeowners purchase Village homes is the look, feel and upkeep of the community, which exist because of architectural standards.
As a staff member, she is gaining an extra appreciation of the history and the purposefulness of the Kettlers’ planning. Through working with the MVF Design Consultant, the Architectural Standards staff and heeding some of Stasiewicz’s wisdom, it is evident that the architectural standards are in place to uphold each neighborhood’s unique look and how they play together in the larger Montgomery Village picture.
This position offers Webb the opportunity to blend those two perspectives and work at a level where the results are visible and tangible. She likes that part of the uniqueness of a planned community with architectural standards is the structure that helps maintain the look of the community. “I’m excited to be part of what makes Montgomery Village a great place to live. It’s that sense of community that made our decision to purchase a home here easy,” she says.
As a professional with a resident perspective, Webb is looking forward to putting her own stamp on how MVF serves residents, making sure that there is a balance between service and upholding the all-important architectural standards. She is interested in improving community outreach, and resident education and awareness of the property improvement and Architectural Review Board processes. Webb hopes a direct result of this will be a reduction in number of violations, and engaged, happier homeowners. She also hopes to examine internal processes to determine where there are opportunities to process applications more efficiently so homeowners can make exterior improvements according to their personal timelines. Overall, she understands both the need for the guidelines and the homeowner’s struggle, something she hopes will translate in her interactions with residents.
Of course, it’s not all business for Webb. Outside of the office, she enjoys the natural aspects of the community, taking family walks along the path system and taking her kids to the playgrounds and pools. Being a resident and working for MVF has its advantages—the commute is great and the investment in both job and community is greater. Welcome aboard, Katherine!