Director of Community Development: Johanna Leonard

Ms. Leonard has been with the City of Evanston since 2010. As Economic Development Manager, she was responsible for overseeing the City’s activities associated with attracting businesses to Evanston and the marketing of Evanston’s business districts to the community and region. Her notable projects have included the arrival of Trader Joe’s to Evanston, retention and expansion of Evanston’s only car dealership, support for the creation of the special service area for businesses along the Chicago Avenue corridor, and redevelopment of City-owned properties on Howard Street. She was born and raised in Evanston and graduated from ETHS.

“Evanston is fortunate to have such a talented, home-grown professional take on the important job of Director of Community Development,” said Mr. Bobkiewicz. “Johanna is a thoughtful, smart community builder whose passion for Evanston is unmatched. She is the leader we need as the City continues to enhance the livability of Evanston.”

Economic Development Manager: Paul Zalmezak

Mr. Zalmezak joined the City of Evanston in 2011 and is currently the City liaison with Downtown Evanston.

Mr. Zalmezak’s projects have included bringing Valli Produce to Evanston, the revitalization of the Evanston Plaza Shopping Center, keeping ZS Associates in Evanston, and spearheading many new business projects.

“Paul Zalmezak has been a cornerstone of our economic development efforts over the past six years,” said Mr. Bobkiewicz. “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.”

Prior to joining the City of Evanston, Mr. Zalmezak worked as a neighborhood economic development planner for the City of Chicago, covering the Loop, River North, Cabrini, and Goose Island.

Sustainability Coordinator: Kumar Jensen

Mr. Jensen will manage strategic planning, program development and project implementation to address energy efficiency, water and waste reduction, renewable energy, and climate change. He will also work on natural resources policy and challenges facing Evanston’s urban forest. 

During his tenure with the City, Mr. Jensen has served as the Evanston Environment Board staff liaison, Age Friendly Task Force liaison, staff lead on the energy and water benchmarking ordinance, coordinator of the annual Evanston Recycles and Clean up Evanston events. He is also a certified TreeKeeper.

“Kumar has distinguished himself in the past three years through his dedication to the environment and quality of life in Evanston,” said Mr. Bobkiewicz. “This new role shifts the focus of the Office of Sustainability back to its original purposes of energy efficiency, water and waste reduction, renewable energy, and climate change.”