Rob is our Principal in Economic Positioning. With over 25 years of experience, he is a seasoned leader in regional economic positioning, redevelopment strategy, asset analysis and opportunities identification.

Rob is passionate about making big visions happen on the ground and specializes in helping communities retool by developing the innovation capacity as well as the vibrant places necessary to grow or rebuild.

He is our go-to when it comes to crafting economic development strategies and sustainable development opportunities for regions, cities, and urban corridors.

Rob is also a seasoned project strategist, a skilled graphic communicator of complex ideas, and an inventive urban planner.

Madison-Area Transformation. Rob has considerable experience in strategically repositioning and rebuilding major manufacturing sites and urban corridors throughout the Midwest. Working with the City of Madison and private sector partners, Rob and the Vandewalle team led the creation of the Capitol Gateway Corridor Plan for the  Capitol East District, a former industrial corridor in the heart of Madison. Rob continued to work as a lead implementation consultant to help facilitate and guide the rebuilding efforts from 2009 to 2015. The district has seen over $400M of reinvestment since 2010.

Recently, he led the Oscar Mayer Area Strategic Assessment and Special Area Plan with the City of Madison, as well as the Fitchburg Economic Vision and Strategic Framework. Rob is currently helping shape a vibrant Destination District in and around the Dane County Alliant Energy Center, and advance redevelopment implementation in the Regent Street corridor in Madison. Rob has and continues to work with Madison Gas & Electric since 1999 on numerous economic development, vision and implementation projects throughout the Madison region. He has served as a leading team member on several transportation plans including the Madison Transportation Plan, Transport 2020 and the Madison Streetcar Preliminary Feasibility Report.

Advancing Regions and Economies. He is equally comfortable working to rebuild economies at the regional scale. He has built, honed, and tested highly complex and results-driven processes that focus on crafting economic development strategies and sustainable development opportunities for regions and industry clusters. This asset-based, whole-system approach for analyzing and synthesizing data helps uncover and grow opportunities that are truly rooted in a region’s place-based assets.

Projects include: Asset and Opportunity analysis for the Milwaukee 7 Region; the Madison, Wisconsin Region;  Quad Cities Region of Iowa and Illinois, and the 80+ County Region spanning Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. He led the development of an Economic Vision and Manufacturing Strategic Plan for the East Central Indiana Region, bringing together the communities of Anderson, Muncie, and New Castle to collaborate and restructure their former manufacturing-built economy. Rob helped spawn and advance a Leadership  Vision and Implementation strategy for the Water Council in Milwaukee, Wisconsin., led the Wisconsin Aerospace Industry Strategic Framework, as well as economic positioning work in Shipbuilding, Regional Food, BioAg and Bio Energy clusters.

Executive Leadership. Aligning corporate, academic, public sector, and nongovernmental executive leadership around a core vision and leading the early stages of implementation are critical to these large-scale, multi-faceted projects.

You can email Rob here.


B.S. Landscape Architecture
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin


Founding Team Member, StartingBlock Madison

Governor Appointed Member, WisconsinLand Council, 2003-2005

Member, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin

Member, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

Member, American Society of Landscape Architects

Past Board of Directors, Natural Heritage Land Trust

Past Member, Working Lands Steering Committee, State of Wisconsin