Clay received his Bachelor of Science in zoology/wildlife ecology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1996. Following a two-year Peace Corps Volunteer post in West Africa working in the agro-forestry sector, he began his professional career as a wildlife technician for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This work led to a position with Pheasants Forever in southeast Wisconsin as a grassland ecologist where he facilitated more than 6,000 acres of private land prairie and wetland restorations, including development and management of a statewide prescribed fire program. In 2008 Clay entered the private consulting sector as a restoration ecologist, and in 2012 Clay accepted a position as a senior ecologist with Eco-Resource Consulting, Inc. (ERC). Since this time Clay has developed his skills in the areas of native plant ecology, invasive species management, stream restoration, wetland mitigation and delineation, urban stormwater management, erosion control, project planning/design and monitoring and reporting. Through the design and implementation of adaptive management approaches, Clay has accrued 20 years of “hands-on” knowledge base in native plant community management and now leads business and new market development at ERC.