Published in the October 30, 2020 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Fairmount Avenue resident Erin Kokinda has been named to the new position of Community and Economic Development Director for the town of Wakefield.

Kokinda was officially introduced to the Town Council at this week’s meeting.

After the Town Council voted to create the position and last June’s Annual Town Meeting agreed to fund it in the budget, Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio appointed a screening Committee to review the nearly 20 applicants that applied for the job.

After several rounds of interviews, Maio said, the choices were narrowed to two candidates.

“Because I saw both candidates as potential superstars,” Maio said, “I was trying to conceive of a way that Wakefield could utilize both candidates. In the interim, the Office of Massachusetts Business Development hired away one of our candidates, proving at minimum that we have an eye for talent.”

Kokinda earned a bachelor of arts degree in Geography, Urban and Regional Planning from Bloomsberg University of Pennsylvnia, where she also minored in political science. 

She was employed for seven years as an Economic Development Assistant in the city of Lowell, where she worked closely with the business community, providing outreach and support, as well as maintaining a database of over 200 potential commercial properties in Lowell available for development. Another area of focus for her was her participation on a planning committee to revitalize underutilized areas near UMass Lowell.

Since 2016, Kokinda has worked with the Middlesex 3 Coalition, most recently as its Deputy Director. While at the Middlesex 3 Coalition, Kokinda cultivated relationships with all stakeholders, including members of the business, non-profit, regional, state and municipal communities to, among other goals, promote and attract new businesses to the Middlesex 3 region. 

At last week’s virtual Town Council meeting conducted via Zoom, Kokinda told the council that she looks forward to “working with them to grow the community.”

Members of the Town Council welcomed Kokinda to the team.

“I am so excited to have you on board,” chair Ann Santos said.

Councilor Paul DiNocco also welcomed Kokinda.

“I look forward to sitting down and talking with you,” DiNocco said. “I’m thrilled to have such a qualified candidate.”

Kokinda thanked the board and said that she looked forward to meeting all of them in person.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity,” Kokinda said, “not only on a professional level but on a personal level to really feel like I’m making a difference for myself, my children and our community as a whole. There is so much opportunity here.