Who We Are

Andrea Petzel, AICP


Andrea is a community planning and public engagement specialist with over 20 years of experience. A process expert, she loves to lead projects at the nexus of sustainability, health, and the built environment and has applied her skills to a diverse array of policies and programs. Recently, Andrea has facilitated a vision for change in Seattle’s criminal justice system, conducted public restroom feasibility assessments and written best practices for public restrooms to address pressing public health concerns, and developed programs that balanced recreational access and restoration for shoreline street end parks. Andrea builds collaborative teams that work together effectively to set goals, streamline processes, and develop a shared definition of success.

Andrea honed her public speaking skills and keen eye for spotting wildlife as a naturalist and kayak guide in Southeast Alaska. She earned a master’s degree in public policy from the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and her bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College, and is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Valerie Pacino, MPH

Social Equity + Community Health Manager

With more than ten years of experience in education, communication, and public health, Valerie unleashes her creative and strategic thinking and her aptitude for writing to weave compelling narratives and drive change. Focused on community-driven planning processes, she has led a variety of innovative projects and programs examining social networks, community assets, and resilience strategies. Valerie believes in the power of story to move people, and she uses bottom-up, holistic engagement strategies that help people tell their stories, and in so doing, become more invested in where they live, work, and play.

Valerie earned a BA in history from UC Irvine and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington. Valerie collaborated with the Sightline Institute and other local and national stakeholders on her publication, “Ouch Surfing: Getting Killer Chemicals Out of Your Furniture” — which helped reverse a long-standing but scientifically-discredited flammability standard in California.

Blake Heldt-Werle

Research Associate, MPA Candidate 2021

Working alongside nonprofits and social services, Blake’s professional experience and ethos emphasize the frontline service-provider perspective of authentic involvement, equitable development, and rigorous transparency. In Americorps, he facilitated inclusive and restorative development for disadvantaged families and children in Salt Lake City. In Peace Corps eSwatini, he worked in partnership with communities doing grassroots engagement and health education and was elected to the Peer Support and Inclusion Network. Blake brings his adaptive mindset, problem-solving prowess, and passion for excellence to all his projects.

Blake earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Westminster College and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Washington.