Robert Weissbourd – President
Robert Weissbourd founded RW Ventures, LLC in 2000, after serving for ten years in executive positions at Shorebank Corporation, including as co-manager of Shorebank Chicago Companies and of Shorebank Advisory Services. He was a lead developer of MetroEdge, the Center for Financial Services Innovation and the Urban Markets Initiative. Bob is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Center.
Bob is a frequent public speaker and author on a broad range of urban and regional economic growth issues, including business, finance, housing, clean tech, human capital and innovation dynamics. He has also testified on these issues before federal, state and local legislatures. Bob served on the Obama Transition HUD Agency Review Team and as Chair of the Obama for America Campaign Urban and Metropolitan Policy Committee.
Bob has been active for over twenty-five years in community and civic organizations. He has served as President or Vice President of the Boards of the City Colleges of Chicago, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Crossroads Fund, Businesspeople in the Public Interest and PROCAN, as well as on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School and the Advisory Committees for the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, (Chicago) Mayor’s Technology Advisory Committee, CWICSTATS (research advisory board to the Chicago Workforce Investment Council), Brookings Metropolitan Economy Project and Brookings Urban Markets Initiative.
Before joining Shorebank, Bob was a partner at Hartunian, Futterman & Howard, specializing in federal constitutional litigation, school desegregation and representation of government and non-profit agencies. Bob clerked for federal Judge George Leighton, after receiving a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and a B.A. from Yale University.
Gretchen Kosarko – Vice President
Gretchen joined the firm in August 2009, bringing experience in urban planning, community and economic development, public-private partnerships, real estate economics and market analysis. Her current projects include exploring new frameworks for regional economic development analysis, planning and implementation and developing methods for linking neighborhood and regional economic development.
Prior to joining RW Ventures, Gretchen was the Director of Research for World Business Chicago, the city’s public-private economic development organization and a Project Manager for S. B. Friedman & Company, a Chicago-based real estate and urban planning consulting firm. Gretchen holds a B.A. in Statistics, with a second concentration in Economics, from the University of Chicago; and a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Vidisha Vachharajani - Senior Analyst
Vidisha joined RW Ventures in July 2012, bringing extensive expertise in sophisticated statistical modeling, particularly econometric applications. She has applied these methods to regional and international development issues ranging from capital flows in emerging markets to environmental shocks in developing nations. Her current projects include exploring new methods for understanding the drivers of regional and neighborhood economic development, identifying high-growth industry clusters and improving equity and efficiency in the field of property assessment.
Vidisha has a Masters in Statistics and a PhD in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she worked as a graduate and undergraduate teaching assistant. Courses taught included microeconomics, doctoral level statistics and econometrics. She also worked as a faculty research assistant, managing large data sets and implementing varied statistical models for solving applied research problems in environmental economics.
Sophie Cohen – Associate
Sophie joined RW Ventures full time in January 2011 after a six-month internship. She brings experience in environmental and energy issues, green economic development and neighborhood tourism development. Before joining RW Ventures, Sophie worked as a Field Researcher for the Chicago Office of Tourism and as a Research Associate for energy policy consulting firm Martin Roth Cohen and Associates, where she researched the economic development potential of renewable energy technologies. Sophie graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and minors in Political Science and Spanish.
© 2011 RW Ventures, LLC