Richard claytor, Jr., P.E.
Sr. Water Resources Engineer
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE THE HORSLEY WITTEN GROUP (HW) AND THE WORK YOU DO TO SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF THE A|E|C AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROFESSIONS?
HW is a small business planning, engineering and environmental service consulting firm. Much of our work involves ensuring that clean and plentiful water is available for use by humans and nature. We do this through careful short- and long-term planning, assessment of natural resources, and designing solutions to ensure a sustainable future for people and the natural world alike. HW is also engaged in making communities a better place to live, work, and play; our mission is to address both environmental and social challenges with sustainable solutions.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT THE HORSLEY WITTEN GROUP THAT IS A DIFFERENTIATOR FROM OTHER FIRMS IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
HW is a mission driven firm, and this informs all aspects of our decision-making process, particularly as related to our staff and wanting them to feel proud to work here.
HOW DO THE HORSLEY WITTEN GROUP COMPANY VALUES IMPACT THE WAY YOU OPERATE ON A DAILY BASIS OR MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS?
Similar to answer above, our values drive our day-to-day decision making; from the projects and work we pursue, to the clients we work with, and the outcomes we strive to achieve. We frequently ask how a given project aligns with our values. These values are not static nor were they defined by a small group of HW staff. These values can evolve over time or as conditions change and they are truly our shared values.
BEYOND THE REQUISITE TECHNICAL SKILLS, WHAT SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN YOU HIRE SOMEONE TO JOIN THE HORSLEY WITTEN GROUP TEAM?
We seek out and attract people who really want to make a difference in protecting our natural resources and enhancing the communities where we live. Our staff are committed to making our world a better place.
WE NEED MORE PROFESSIONALS IN THE CIVIL ENGINEERING AND ENVIRONMENTAL INDUSTRY TO KEEP UP WITH THE PROJECT WORK DEMANDS. WHAT IS THE HORSLEY WITTEN GROUP DOING TO ATTRACT THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS INTO THE INDUSTRY?
We work in partnership with local high schools and trade schools to expose future professionals to the kind of work we do. Our staff volunteer annually at local high schools to engage STEM students in a few technical areas covered by our engineering and planning practices, for example. In the last several years, we’ve been very active in the X-CEL Education program working with students in Greater Boston’s underserved communities to expose students to sustainable career paths in the technical and geographic areas where we do business.
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO BECOME AN ENGINEER, AND WHAT ABOUT YOUR CAREER ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I was an analytical-type child, and I enjoyed the order and precision of engineering and I loved nature. Civil engineering afforded me a career that combined the natural and built environment and I gravitated to the earth-sciences (water, soils, geology, etc.). I’m most proud of the people who work for HW and their collective aspirations for the future.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF LEADERSHIP ADVICE YOU WISH SOMEONE HAD SHARED WITH YOU SOONER?
I had a mentor who often repeated the adage “the client is always right,” and that’s true, except when it’s not. But what was never said, was you can choose your clients and you can both be right. It took me several years to recognize that when we work together with shared values so much more can be accomplished.
LOOKING FORWARD, WHAT ASPECTS OR TRENDS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL INDUSTRY ARE THE MOST EXCITING FOR YOU?
That is a difficult question. Certainly, the technological advancements in data collection, management and manipulation allow us to do so much more, with more accuracy and in less time. That’s exciting. But equally exciting are the challenges brought on by climate change. Though troubling, they are also motivating, and it often involves water, maintaining or restoring quality water supplies for the future, managing the risks of changed precipitation characteristics that cause or contribute to flooding and/or drought, reacting to sea level rise and associated coastal impacts, all while protecting or enhancing nature and human interactions are important now and will only be more so in the future.
Credit: Smith and Wilkinson.