Consultants


Consultants-Kretchmer


Valerie Sandler Kretchmer
President

Valerie has over 40 years of real estate and planning experience as a consultant, real estate analyst and city planner. She has particular expertise in real estate market analysis for affordable housing, senior housing, retail, office and industrial developments. Prior to forming Valerie S. Kretchmer Associates, Inc. in 1985, she was an Assistant Vice President at VMS Realty Partners, a real estate syndication company, where she was responsible for acquisitions and due diligence market analysis for shopping centers, office buildings, apartment buildings and hotels across the country.

In addition, Valerie is active in numerous professional and civic organizations, including the Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association, Lambda Alpha land economics honorary society, Illinois Housing Council, National Council of Housing Market Analysts, Affordable Assisted Living Coalition and the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago. She served as a member of the Evanston, Illinois, Plan Commission for seven years and as a public member of the city’s Joint Review Board for a tax increment finance district.

Valerie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in urban studies and the New York University Graduate School of Public Administration with a master’s degree in public administration (MPA) in urban policy analysis.


Consultants-Brett


Deborah Brett, AICP
Senior Consultant

Deborah has more than 40 years of experience as a real estate market analyst and planning consultant. She was Senior Vice President and National Consulting Director at Real Estate Research Corporation, where she worked for 18 years. In addition to her wide ranging consulting assignments for developers, financial institutions, property owners and municipalities, she has served as an adjunct faculty member at Rutgers University, where she taught classes on housing and retail market analysis.

Deborah is a prolific writer who has co-authored books, research papers and articles for the Urban Land Institute and other real estate publications. She has been a speaker at numerous professional meetings, is a member of the Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association, Lambda Alpha land economics honorary society and is a charter member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Deborah graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.A. in history and a master’s degree in urban planning (MUP).


Consultants-Friedman


Susan Friedman
Senior Consultant

Susan has over 35 years of experience in real estate analysis, including 12 years with Homart Development Co. (now General Growth), one of the largest regional mall developers and owners, where she directed the market and consumer research program. She has worked on a wide range of consulting assignments for private developers and municipalities and has particular expertise in market analysis and consumer research.

Susan is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Lambda Alpha land economics honorary society and the International Council of Shopping Centers. She also served on the Wilmette, Illinois, Plan Commission.

Susan graduated from the University of Chicago with an A.B. and A.M. in geography and from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management with a M.M. in marketing and finance.


Consultants-Holmes


Ryan Holmes
Senior Planner

Ryan has worked in urban planning and related fields in the public and private sector for 9 years. His consulting experience includes market studies for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) developments, market-rate housing, and supportive and assisted living for families, seniors and special needs populations. He has also conducted retail, office and industrial market analyses for comprehensive, downtown, corridor and economic development plans for municipalities and regional planning agencies.

Prior to joining VSKA, he analyzed and wrote about regional water sustainability with the Construction Engineering Research Lab, a US Army Corps of Engineers R&D Center, co-authored the Champaign-Urbana Green Corridors Project report and handbook with the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District and researched Chicago foreclosures. Ryan is a member of the American Planning Association and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.

Ryan graduated from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a B.A. in English and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a master’s degree in urban planning (MUP).


Consultant-Marsten


Laurie Marston, FAICP
Senior Consultant

Laurie has over 40 years of experience and has been working as a consultant for more than 18 years, providing planning and economic development services to municipalities, businesses, developers and not-for-profit organizations. She worked in zoning and community development for local governments for 22 years, including 9 years as Director of Community Development for the Village of Wilmette, Illinois.

Laurie is a past member of the Evanston, Illinois, Plan Commission and a current member of the American Planning Association (APA) and Lambda Alpha International (LAI) land economics honorary society, of which she is Secretary on the Board of Governors. In 2015, she was selected as the LAI Member of the Year for her strong leadership, guidance and steadfast support. In 2011, the Ely (Chicago) Chapter recognized her with the Distinguished Chapter Service Award for excellence in publishing the book The Plan of Chicago @100. The Illinois Chapter of the APA honored her with the Distinguished Service Award for selflessly providing robust plan commission training in 2012. 

Laurie has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a M.A. from the University of Chicago.


Consultant-Pachter


Uri Pachter
Senior Planner

Uri has worked on place-based issues in the public, non-profit and private sectors for 9 years. At VSKA, he contributes to market analyses for affordable and market rate housing, retail, industrial and office projects for developers, municipalities and regional planning agencies.

Prior to joining VSKA, Uri was a project manager at Greenbelt Alliance, the Bay Area’s preeminent smart growth organization, where he led their equitable transit-oriented development endorsement program and directed an innovative online civic engagement initiative in partnership with Neighborland. Among other experiences, Uri worked as a community organizer for Metro Seniors in Action, a consultant at MySidewalk (formerly MindMixer) and in the planning department at the Town of Carrboro, NC. He was a state winner in the Urban Land Institute Hines Student Competition and won a Best Practices award from the American Planning Association for his work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Uri graduated from Columbia University in New York City with a B.A. in Psychology, the Jewish Theological Seminary with a B.A. in Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a master’s degree in urban planning (MCRP) specializing in real estate development and transportation.