Joliet hires lifelong resident as economic development director

Paulina Martinez comes in after shakeup in community development department

Paulina Martinez has been hired as economic development director for the city of Joliet. May 20, 2024.

The new economic development director for Joliet is a lifelong resident, according a city announcement.

Paulina Martinez started the job Monday, the city said in a news release announcing the hire.

She will be paid a salary of $135,000.

Martinez most recently was business development director for World Business Chicago, a nonprofit economic development agency for the city of Chicago. She also is vice president of the Joliet Latino Economic Development Association.

She replaces Cesar Suarez, who left March 7 in what officially was designated a resignation. Both Suarez and his supervisor Eva-Marie Tropper, the city’s former director of community development, officially resigned on the same day during a week in which City Council members were vocal about dissatisfaction with economic development efforts.

According to the city news release the economic development director has a “newly defined role.”

Joliet Economic Development Director Cesar Suarez attends the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Harbor Freight distribution facility in Joliet. Harbor Freight opened a new 1.6 million square-foot distribution center in Joliet that is expected to bring 800 new jobs to the area. Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Joliet.

“Paulina has extensive experience not only in business development but also in municipal government which will make her transition to the city easier,” City Manager Beth Beatty said in the release. “Her responsibilities among many include being the city’s business liaison and first point of contact for existing and prospective business owners seeking to locate to Joliet.”

Martinez is “a lifelong resident of Joliet,” according to the release.

She has a master’s degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and bachelor’s degree in sports, recreation and tourism from the University of St. Francis in Joliet. Martinez also is certified a planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners.