Ilka McConnell courtesy

Ilka McConnell was appointed as the new director of Athens-Clarke Countys Economic Development Department. (Photo/Courtesy Athens-Clarke County)

Ilka McConnell has been named the director of Athens-Clarke County’s Economic Development Department, according to an ACC press release.

McConnell, an Athens resident, worked as the strategic and economic development manager of Gwinnett County from August 2018 to October 2019, when she began to lead the Gwinnett County Office of Economic Development. She was the Hart County Director and Archway Professional with the Archway Partnership, a unit of the University of Georgia’s Public Service and Outreach program, from October 2008 to June 2016.

She was the vice president of the economic development division of Athens Technical College from June 2016 to August 2018, the release said.

McConnell earned a bachelor of arts in anthropology, a master’s of public administration and a doctor of philosophy in adult education from UGA, according to the release.

“Economic development is about helping communities — including people and businesses — thrive through meaningful work and opportunities to grow,” McConnell said in the release.

McConnell is assuming the position of director from Ryan Thornton, who has served as the interim director since December, when former director Michelle Nguyen resigned, the release said.

The ACC Economic Development Department was established in 2013 to serve as the primary point of contact for industries and commercial developments interested in developing businesses in ACC, the release said.

McConnell’s first day of work will be April 1.

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