The director of Columbia County Department of Housing and Community Development was an eyewitness to the devastation in New York City on September 11, 2001, and the experience confirmed his resolve to leave the Big Apple and head to Maryland, where he has revitalized the efforts to improve low-income housing.

Ballard Spahr attorney Paul K. Casey, a former Chairman of the Housing Department’s advisory board, said the county’s affordable-housing effort was “kind of in the doldrums” before Mr. Spann arrived. “With his mixed-income communities, people can feel like they’re living in their housing of choice, and living with dignity and respect,” Casey said.