Economic Development, Event Consultants Join Town of Blythewood

The Town of Blythewood announced this week the addition of two new consultants to their arsenal to guide the Town in its pursuit of economic development and to organize and manage special events.

Ed Parler, a Lancaster native now living in Cobblestone Park in Blythewood, will lead the Town’s economic development efforts. Parler has 30 years of experience in that arena, most recently as the head of his own consulting firm, Palmetto Governmental Assistance. Prior to that, Parler worked for the Central S.C. Economic Development Alliance from 1995 – 2008.

“I have a huge stake here,” Parler, who has lived in Blythewood for the last five years, said. “Goal number one is to make sure this doesn’t turn out to be like Harbison Boulevard in Irmo.

“We need to compliment the efforts that are already there,” Parler continued, “and keep to the vision that’s already been established. We want to see what the commercial and other types of needs are that the community wants and see if they want to invest here, while not forsaking those who have already invested here.”

Martha Jones, meanwhile, will organize and manage events held by the Town, as well as act as concierge for community business and organizations. She will organize events currently on the books with the Town and also establish new events. She will continue her volunteer work with Bravo Blythewood, the Town said.

Mayor Michael Ross said the new consulting positions replace two former full-time positions with the Town – Director of Economic Development and the Events, Annexation and Tourism director.

“We eliminated two full-time Town positions,” Ross said, “but we knew we could not go without help in economic development. We believe there are a lot of economic development opportunities on the horizon here, and it’s great to know we have expert help from local people.”

Parler will earn $35 an hour on an as-needed basis, compared to the $50 an hour paid to his predeccessor, Phil Hamby. Jones will earn $25 an hour for 20 hours of work per week.

The positions become effective July 1, the Town said.