In the News

Class of 2018 Experiences Energy & Environment in Southern Maryland

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – May 29, 2018 – On April 26 & 27, 2018, the Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Class of 2018 participated in the last of nine educational sessions for LSM’s 2017-18 Executive Program – Energy and Environment.

The two-day event began at the Calvert Marine Museum’s Lore Oyster House where the class met with Captain Jack Russell, owner of Finns+Claws.  Russell spoke to the class about the life of a waterman, tools and practices of the trade, and challenges facing the industry.

Next, participants boarded a bus where Linda Vassallo, LSM founding sponsor and director for Calvert County Department of Communications and Media Relations, provided background information to the class about the day’s scheduled stops.  With that, the class arrived at Exelon’s Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant where they had the rare opportunity to take a walking tour of the facility.

Another brief stint on the bus brought the class to Dominion Energy’s Cove Point LNG Terminal, where Mike Frederick, LSM’11, Vice President of LNG Operations for Dominion Energy spoke with participants about Dominion Energy’s transition to exportation of liquefied natural gas. Dominion Energy hosted lunch with an educational briefing followed by a windshield tour of the newly operational facility and a walking tour of the pier to showcase the off-shore exportation pier as well as the shore restoration and maintenance project. The participants wrapped up their day with a “behind the scenes” tour of the Calvert Marine Museum by Doug Alves, LSM’13.

The second day began with a visit to the Loveville Produce Auction, allowing the participants to experience “commerce in action” while observing interaction of the Mennonite and Amish agricultural community with local restaurateurs, grocers, and individuals who purchased from their harvests. This portion of the program was facilitated by manager of The Front Porch, Jeff Lewis. Lewis shared his passion for sourcing ingredients for the restaurant’s menu locally and discussed the economic challenges of a locally-owned business. He also helped the class understand the process of buying through the auction and how impactful this market is to Southern Maryland. The participants then traveled to Hughesville, where they were given a tour of the SMECO Solar Farm by Ron Fuller, SMECO’s managing director, asset management, and Tom Dennison, SMECO’s managing director of government and public affairs.  Following the tour, Dennison, along with Natalie Cotton LSM’11, director of community and public affairs, hosted the participants at the SMECO Engineering and Operations Center, where they had a tour of the facility, including the Operations Center and educational brief on SMECO. The group finalized the afternoon with an agricultural panel discussion. The guest speakers were Shelby Watson-Hampton, Director, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), Yates Clagett, Chairman of the Board, SMADC, and Paul Kellam, a commercial waterman and owner of Kellam’s Seafood.

The class interacted with staff at each site, including program advocate, Joe “Mort” Mortensen, LSM’16 and Natalie Cotton, LSM’11.  As leaders living in the Chesapeake Bay area they had the opportunity to discuss the impact to the economy, environment, wildlife, natural resources and future generations while understanding the commitment each one of these organizations visited has towards our community.

Leadership Southern Maryland is a nine-month tuition-based program and is designed and dedicated to educate and inspire a diverse group of current and emerging leaders to create collaborations and partnerships to impact the community needs of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties and incorporates a cross-section of the region to include diversity of geographic location, profession, ethnicity and gender.


 Leadership Southern Maryland is a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service (EIN#26-2989381).  Contributions are deductible as charitable contributions to the extent permitted by law.

For more information, please contact Denise Foster, Executive Director Leadership Southern Maryland, 301-862-SOMD, via email or visit