10 Arlington Power Players

What do they have in common? They're all Leadership Arlington graduates.

Illustration by Tim Williams.

For 20 years, the Leadership Center for Excellence has been helping local professionals in the private, nonprofit and public sectors become more effective and connected leaders. Participants in its signature nine-month Leadership Arlington program have the opportunity to step outside of their day-to-day jobs and gain a bigger-picture understanding of how the county works at all levels—delving into areas such as economic development, health and human services, public safety, education, government and the arts. In the process, they gain broader insights into complex issues facing the community and ways they can have an impact. And more often than not, they act on what they’ve learned. Here are 10 of the program’s most influential graduates.

Michael Foster

Class of 2000

Foster’s impact on the local landscape is tangible. His firm, MTFA Architecture, has designed some of Arlington’s most prominent structures, among them the Washington Golf & Country Club clubhouse, The Church at Clarendon and the Arlington Homeless Services Center. With each project, he says, his team strives to mirror the client’s “mission, vision and values” and translate those tenets into blueprints (often sustainable ones that emphasize green building, universal accessibility and public transit use). Peers describe Foster as a “quiet giant.” As a member of the Arlington Task Force on the Future, he helped pen the county’s current vision statement. He’s also held leadership roles with the Arlington Planning Commission, the Economic Development Commission, the Board of Code Appeals and many other committees and councils. MTFA does important preservation work, too. Its portfolio includes The Falls Church Episcopal, the National Building Museum and the Cannon House Office Building, not to mention several of the iconic monuments that make up D.C.’s distinctive skyline.

“We are seeing an organic disruption of how buildings are used, in response to shifts in technology, transportation, retail, telecommunications and how we live, work and play. We need to update our thinking about planning, building and zoning codes accordingly. We can’t just plan today for tomorrow. Sustainable and resilient communities must plan for the needs, environment, economy and populations of future generations.” —Michael Foster

Categories: Community