Principal In Charge, Engineer,
The Thrasher Group Inc.
Clay Riley still remembers one of the first projects he worked on at Thrasher Engineering.
"I sat on a little lady's porch in a little town called Harding," Riley said. "There was sewer running in her ditch, and it was summer, and she couldn't sit down on her porch, and it was just awful."
Riley engineers water and sewer systems throughout the mid-Atlantic, which has taken him to every stretch of West Virginia.
"It's a good busy," he said. "People laugh at me because I'm passionate, and I use that word about these projects because you become really invested in them and the time it takes."
Riley grew up in Shinnston and signed a contract to take a job in Baltimore after graduating from West Virginia University with degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering. He and his wife even picked out a place to live, but in their hearts the knew the didn't want to leave their hometown.
His favorite thing is improving the state.
"People don't recognize wastewater systems and the importance of being able to have a clean environment," he said. "The water systems that I do, being able to provide people with safe, reliable drinking water is something that ... when you have people who come to a meeting carrying water that's black ... and you're able to provide them quality water, it just completely improves the whole area.
"It makes a difference in people's lives."
While his projects put him on the road, Riley is home nearly every evening.
"One of the things that is important to me, and a core value within Thrasher ... is that family is important," he said.
He has been appointed to the United Way board, and he coaches at the local high school. Riley runs in his free time and will compete in the New York City marathon this fall.
"People who come from here have a real affinity for being here and making a positive impact, and I'm just glad to be fortunate enough that I can do that," he said.