photo of Mary Bradford

Montgomery Parks Director Mary Bradford Retiring in June

photo of Mary Bradford

Mary Bradford
Photo | Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) announces that Mary Bradford, Director of the Department, will retire this June. Bradford has served as director since February 2006, overseeing more than 35,000 acres of parkland featuring 420 parks; and more than 700 employees. She was responsible for an annual operating budget of $100 million in tax-supported, revenue-supported or fee-based funds.

During her eight-year tenure, Bradford

  • Oversaw the reestablishment of the Department of Parks (separate from the Planning Department)
  • Oversaw the reestablishment of the Montgomery Parks Foundation
  • Turned fee-based enterprises into profit and revenue centers
  • Established a strong, responsive public information, outreach and marketing office
  • Created units devoted to historic and cultural resources protection
  • Strengthened property management functions for hundreds of park buildings
  • Implemented a Weekend Manager on Duty program to respond to park users at peak use times
  • Led the department into measurable performance goals for operations through improved use of technology
  • Launched many Green Initiatives, including a remarkable electricity, water, and energy savings program for parks and facility operations, such as fleet, nature centers, ice rinks and tennis centers
  • Established an Urban Parks initiative for rapidly growing transit-oriented communities
  • Established a program of community gardens in parks
  • Managed Parks’ emergency response to a major leak at Lake Needwood Dam

Major new parks added, developed or renovated during her tenure include

  • Cabin John Dog Park
  • Carroll Knolls Local Park
  • Josiah Henson Cultural Park
  • The Matthew Henson Trail
  • Olney Manor Skate Park
  • Serpentine Barrens Conservation Area, and,
  • Woodstock Equestrian Park

“Mary has led Montgomery Parks through good and bad times with grace and professionalism. She strengthened the department in many ways—increasing organizational responsiveness, rebuilding professionalism and community trust,” said Francoise Carrier, Montgomery Planning Board Chair. “Montgomery Parks, its staff and the residents of this county have all greatly benefited from Mary’s work and dedication to the department. While she will certainly be missed, we wish her the best in her retirement.”

Bradford currently serves as a founding member of the Governor’s Partnership for Children in Nature; is on the Urban Directors Advisory Council of the National Recreation and Park Association; and is a member of the Maryland Association of Counties’ park and recreation affiliate.

Prior to joining Montgomery Parks, Bradford served three decades with the National Park Service, where she started her career as a seasonal Park Ranger and Ranger Historian. Over the years Bradford gained increasing responsibility to become a Deputy Regional Director (NPS Southwest Region – Santa Fe), responsible for 44 national parks in six states; and later the Associate Director for Administration and CFO for the National Park Service, Washington D.C.

“Serving as the director of Montgomery Parks has been an honor and privilege. It is an extraordinary park system with so much to offer the residents of the county and an unparalleled staff of dedicated, hard-working people who care so much about their work and the communities they serve,” said Bradford. “I am really going to miss the people here, but I know I leave the department in very capable hands.”

Bradford has a B.A. from the University of Maryland, a Master’s degree in Management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business (Sloan Fellow), and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. After graduating from high school in Madrid, Spain, she studied in Munich, Germany. Her hobbies include trail hiking, skiing, travel, geology and boating. She and her husband Bill have two grown children; three grandchildren in Barcelona, Spain; and reside in Silver Spring. She and her husband plan to travel and spend time at their homes in Delaware and Florida.

An acting director for the department will be named following Bradford’s June retirement, while a search for her replacement is taking place.

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