Auto career steers back home
Pursuit of a career in automotive manufacturing led Troy Thomas away from his native West Virginia. Now that same career has brought him back home.
Thomas manages the Allevard Sogefi USA, Inc. plant that produces automotive suspension and filtration products in Prichard. It is the first facility in North America for Sogefi S.p.A, an Italian company with plants in 13 countries worldwide.
Thomas grew up in Kanawha County, where his parents, sister and most of his extended family still live. He left the state in 1988 to study engineering. While earning his Masters of Business Administration, he built and managed a new brake pad plant. Troy returned to West Virginia for weekend visits, introducing colleagues to lazy summer floats down the Potomac River and lunches in Harpers Ferry.
“No matter where I’ve been,” said Thomas, “when I’ve had the opportunity to meet other West Virginians, we shared a sense of pride in where we came from. While it seems the world is becoming smaller, more homogenous and more transient, West Virginians still have roots.”
In 2004, Thomas moved to Huntington as plant manager for the $27 million Sogefi plant. In 2008, the Italian-based company began a $7 million expansion and promoted Thomas to general manager.
“My strong desire to live closer to my family and an excellent opportunity to work for the international company Sogefi brought me home,” he said.