Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz today announced today the appointment of Paul Zalmezak as economic development manager for the city.

Zalmezak, who has been the the senior economic development coordinator, joined the city staff in 2011.

He serves as the city’s startup liaison, works in business attraction and retention efforts and is the city lead working with Downtown Evanston.

His projects have included bringing Valli Produce to Evanston and the revitalization of the Evanston Plaza Shopping Center, retaining ZS Associates in Evanston and many new business projects.

“Paul Zalmezak has been a cornerstone of our economic development efforts over the past six years. His understanding of the role Evanston plays in the larger Chicago metropolitan marketplace both in commercial and retail estate has been critical to our success in those areas. He is the perfect choice to lead our economic development team,” Bobkiewicz said.

Bobkiewicz last week promoted the previous economic development manager, Johanna Leonard, to head the Community Development Department.

Before joining the City of Evanston, Zalmezak worked as a neighborhood economic development planner for the City of Chicago covering the Loop, River North, Cabrini and Goose Island, and worked for several years as an economic development consultant conducting market analyses, tax increment financing,  and special service area creation.

He holds a master’s degree in urban planning, focused on economic development, from Wayne State University. Paul and his family live in Evanston.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. How many managers do we need ?

    Just recently another development manager was named.

    Seems like Wally is just padding his administration to make it look important.

    We really need someone to rein in the Council and all the nay sayers who want to keep business out or expanding and jumping through eternal hoops.

    1. No additional managers

      Johanna Leonard was proposed to “Community Development” Department director last week, replacing Mark Muenzer, who left back in February. Community Development does planning and zoning, inspectional services and some other functions.

      “Economic Development” Division, which Leonard previously led, is a smaller unit currently housed in the City Manager’s office, although in the past it has been within Community Development. It’s focused on bringing new businesses to town and retaining ones that are already here. Zalmezak is moving up into what had been Leonard’s job.

      — Bill


      1. I did not see this job

        I did not see this job advertised on the city website. It is something I would have certainly applied for. When was the job placed on the website and how many people interviewed for it?

  2. Triple thumbs up!

    Paul is one of the most effective and diligent professionals I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and Evanston’s economic future is greatly enhanced based on this promotion and his leadership. And one heckuva guy!

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