Interim Richland County Administrator Ed Gomeau announced the appointment of Richland County employees Ashley Powell and Dr. John Thompson to fill the vacant Assistant County Administrator positions.
Both appointments became effective Monday, Feb. 25.
Powell, who joined Richland County in 2014, most recently served as the Interim Director of the Divisions of Planning, Zoning and Conservation. Dr. Thompson joined the County in 2018 to head the Transportation Department.
“Richland County is extremely fortunate to have two County employees with extensive, well-rounded backgrounds that prepared them for these critical roles,” Gomeau said.
Powell and Thompson bring to three the number of Assistant County Administrators. They join Dr. Sandra Yudice in these key positions.
Powell, who obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University and a Master of Urban Design from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, joined Richland County as a Neighborhood Planner and was soon promoted to Interim Planning Services Manager. After gaining private sector experience, she returned to Richland County as the Planning Services Division Manager in November 2016 and continued in this role until being named Interim Director of the Divisions of Planning, Zoning and Conservation in November 2018.
Her experience includes extensive travel throughout Europe and China to study architecture and urbanism. While in China, she led a design team that produced the winning conceptual proposal for the redevelopment of a major industrial park. Her work on revitalization is published through the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
She brings to the position of Assistant County Administrator a wealth of institutional knowledge and proven success in many critical areas of County government including long-range, neighborhood, comprehensive and sustainability planning; zoning, engineering, project management and constituent services. In addition to professional achievements, Powell values civic engagement via planning and design and maintains active memberships with the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, Congress of New Urbanism and Urban Land Institute.
Columbia native Thompson, a Certified Public Manager with a master’s degree in Business Administration, joined the County in January 2018 to head the department that oversees the Transportation Penny program and the contractor hired to carry out the $1.07 billion infrastructure improvement initiative.
Prior to his arrival to Richland County, Thompson headed governmental agencies in Fulton County, Ga., and the District of Columbia and has experience turning around governmental agencies with financial and operational issues. Thompson also has served as an adjunct professor for the past 14 years teaching undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses in policy, not-for-profit leadership and public, business and health services administration.
Thompson holds an earned Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minn.; a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Health Services Management from Webster University in Columbia; and a Bachelor of Science in Biology, with a Minor in Psychology from the University of South Carolina. He holds the Certified Public Manager (CPM) credential, which was awarded by the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from Anderson University in Anderson and plans to graduate in May 2019.