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Expansion of Thrasher Group based on relationships

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Photo courtesy of The Thrasher Group Photo courtesy of The Thrasher Group

By MARLA PISCIOTTA

For The State Journal

A focus on retaining clients through relationship building is one of the many reasons The Thrasher Group has grown and prospered to earn a reputation as West Virginia’s top engineering-architectural firm and one of the leaders in the mid- Atlantic region.

The firm’s growth and expansion has received accolades including being named to Engineers News Record’s Top 500 list in both 2013 and 2014. Official ranking for 2013 is No. 303. Thrasher is the only West Virginia ranked firm on the 2014 list.

Thrasher was also named to the Zweig White Consulting 2013 “Hot 100” firms at No. 37.

Founded in 1983 as Thrasher Engineering Inc., the company recently changed its name to The Thrasher Group.

“The name change reflects our many facets of business outside of engineering,” said firm partner Daniel Ferrell, PE. “These areas include architecture, surveying, planning and construction services.”

Much of Thrasher’s growth has resulted from its philosophy of producing successful projects for repeat clientele. The company has long-term client relationships with some of the state’s smallest entities, as well as the state’s largest municipalities and agencies.

Thrasher continues to serve customers throughout West Virginia and beyond, and lives up to its mission of “Successful Projects … Repeat Clientele. It’s How We Do Business.”

Examples of Thrasher’s “successful projects … repeat clientele” approach are within Hampshire County. Thrasher has completed, or is currently involved in, seven infrastructure projects for the City of Romney and Town of Capon Bridge in Hampshire County.

In 2006, Thrasher completed a water and wastewater infrastructure study on behalf of the Hampshire County Commission. That study allowed for Thrasher to become familiar with the challenges presented within the county and to develop working relationships with officials of municipalities and public service districts.

Both Romney and Capon Bridge selected Thrasher for their proposed water and wastewater projects when the countywide study was completed.

The Town of Capon Bridge selected Thrasher to upgrade the town’s water system, including repairs at a water source pump station, small distribution lines and lack of fire protection. Much of this work will be done in town. Thrasher has a long history of doing work in business areas of towns and uses its relationship building approach to work with business owners and residents to overcome the complexities of the process and eliminate issues with traffic and other concerns.

Thrasher’s relationship with the City of Romney began with an emergency power backup project for the city’s water treatment plant. The success of that project has generated a partnership between Romney and the Thrasher team resulting in additional improvements to both water and wastewater systems for the residents and businesses in the area.

Currently, work continues on upgrades to Romney’s wastewater system. This $11 million construction of a new 750,000 gallons per day wastewater treatment will allow the city’s system to meet the federally mandated Chesapeake Bay Initiative’s strict effluent requirements for nitrogen and phosphorous.

Thrasher was also involved in the now completed interconnector system between Romney and the Central Hampshire Public Service District.

Hampshire County also has benefited from Thrasher’s site development engineering team. The Hampshire County Planning and Development Authority worked with Thrasher on a concept plan and cost estimate for the Romney Business Park. The plan and cost estimates for the park, rail spur extension and train station depot has been developed with the goal of the plan to help secure funding.

Assisting their Hampshire County clients in securing funding is also testament to their long-term relationship approach. Their relationship with funding agencies and regional councils have helped clients in Hampshire County and beyond receive grant dollars — including stimulus funds — and low-interest loans to make projects affordable.

Thrasher has built a roster of long-term clientele such as those in Hampshire County throughout the State of West Virginia and surrounding states using the same successful projects approach.

Currently, Thrasher has six offices in four states, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. West Virginia offices are located in Bridgeport, Charleston and Princeton. A materials testing laboratory is located in Beckley and the firm is in the process of opening a new office location there as well.

Since its founding more than 30 years ago, Thrasher has grown from a staff of three individuals to a firm of more than 325 people.

Both expansion of services and entrance into additional market areas are also attributable to the company’s growth.

In recent years, Thrasher has become a major engineering services provider to the natural gas industry in the mid-Atlantic shale plays. Engineering for site development and water resources, along with field services of surveying and construction monitoring are among the types of projects Thrasher provides. Architectural services from Thrasher have also been used by natural gas companies for the design and construction of local office facilities.

Growth at Thrasher also has come from acquisition of firms whose personnel and experience bring depth to the firm’s offerings and opportunity for expansion of services.

Recently, Thrasher acquired Blackwood Associates, a 50-year-old award-winning West Virginia architecture firm.

Blackwood brings additional expertise to Thrasher with its portfolio in education, medical and governmental buildings.

H. Wood Thrasher, PE, founder of Thrasher, remains as president of the firm. He and the firm’s partners are actively involved in the day-to-day operations and management of Thrasher.

The partners oversee business sectors of the company, including public utilities, survey services, storm water systems, site development, transportation, airports, architecture, GIS mapping and software development, environmental services, construction management and monitoring, pipeline inspection services, materials testing, parks and recreation and landscape architecture.

More information about Thrasher can be found on the company’s website thrashereng.com.