Associate Planner Sonja Kruesel brings 10 years of pro leadership in municipal planning and zoning, and a passion for community development and Midwest places.

As former City Planner / Planning Director for both the cities of Monona and Fitchburg, WI, she has worked in comprehensive planning, project leadership and management, and strategic planning across a variety of geographies and soci-economic contexts.

Working as Planning Director for both cities, Sonja served alongside the Vandewalle & Associates team on Comprehensive Plans and key projects such as the catalytic Monona Waterfront Redevelopment.

Sonja brings to every project her technical expertise in TIF, environmental issues, municipal zoning, subdivision regulations, housing, real estate, greenfield development, urban redevelopment/ revitalization, form-based regulation, and farmland preservation zoning.

In her current role as an Associate Planner at Vandewalle & Associates she enjoys guiding projects from concept to occupancy and facilitating communication with developers, elected officials, and the public. She is also primed to lead long-range planning efforts and strategic initiatives.


University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin – Master of Science, May 2013

Degree focus in Urban and Regional Planning – Land Use and Sustainable Community Development; Capstone project – “Cultivating Main Street in Suburban Business Districts.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin – Bachelor of Arts, May 2011

Degree focus in Geography, History, Environmental Studies. Capstone project – “Wisconsin Barns: Stewards of our Dynamic Cultural Landscapes.”

  • American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) – May 2015
  • Market Leadership Advisory Board, Secretary – WI United States Green Building Council – December 2015
  • Plenary Panel Speaker “Forwarding Equity” APA Upper Midwest Planning Conf. – 2019
  • Speaker “Strategies for Market-Ready Redevelopment” APA Upper Midwest Planning Conf. – 2015
  • Fitchburg Mayoral Award for Outstanding City Department – 2020
  • Madison Community Shares “Backyard Hero Award” – February 2013
  • Wisconsin County Code Administrators Scholarship Recipient – 2012