Downtown Springfield, Inc. (DSI) has named Carlos Ortega to lead the organization as executive director, effective Feb. 1.
Ortega most recently served as the executive director of Elevate CCIC, Inc. in Mattoon for nearly five years. Prior to that, he was a Peace Corps Fellow and also spent time working for the Peace Corps in Namibia and Kenya.
Ortega holds a master's degree in public administration from Western Illinois University and a bachelor's degree in political science from University of Illinois Springfield.
“He brings many years of leadership and vision in his career that will benefit the organization and our members,” said DSI President Blake Pryor.
"It is an honor returning to my hometown as the executive director of DSI,” Ortega said. “I look forward to making a positive impact on the lives of our citizens, small businesses and community organizations that have called or will call Springfield home.”
Ortega replaces former executive director Kayla Graven, who left in November 2023 to take a position with the city of Springfield's Office of Planning and Economic Development.
“I am eager to bring the lessons I've learned throughout my journey and turn them into opportunities for growth and prosperity,” said Ortega. “I look to grow the community and support the development and inclusion of anyone wanting to make Springfield a better place to live."