The Downtown Evanston board has named Annie Coakley as the organization’s new executive director.

Coakley, who will start her new job in Evanston April 21, has worked since 1998 as the assistant to the commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

She managed Chicago’s Special Service Area program developing the annual budget for the $28 million program.

Coakley has managed programs intended to strengthen commercial areas and attract new business while retaining local companies — including the Made in Chicago and Shop Chicago programs.

The Made in Chicago marketing campaign informs both the business community and the general public about products produced in Chicago, in turn helping to attract manufacturing companies and retain local business.

The Shop Chicago retail attraction and retention program connects developers, brokers and retailers, to familiarize them with development opportunities in Chicago neighborhoods, helping to grow and stabilize commercial areas throughout the city.

Coakley has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University of Chicago.

Downtown Evanston’s previous executive director, Carolyn Dellutri, left in January to become the senior director of programs and services for the National Main Street Center in Chicago.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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