Monday, January 11, 2016


Clinton Thomas
Charleston, WV

Mobile Phone: 304.549.8599
Secondary Phone: 304.348.1232




Charleston Newspapers, Inc.
Charleston, WV

Develop, write, assign, photograph and edit feature, business (automotive, health care, real estate, et al) advertorial and news articles, editorials, headlines and columns for zoned editions and special advertising sections of The Charleston Gazette-Mail, including the weekly Pulse direct mail publication, Web copy and company newsletter. Create/contribute content to Facebook, Twitter and other social media feeds. Experienced in Word, NEWSCYCLE Solutions and Adobe InCopy.


Fahlgren (Advertising Agency)
Parkersburg, WV

Wrote and produced print, broadcast and collateral copy for clients including:
· West Virginia Lottery
· Blue Cross/Blue Shield
· United Way
· Ames Garden Tools
· Kardex Office Equipment
· Huntington Federal Savings & Loan
· Area Ford Dealers


Jack J. Morris & Associates Advertising & Public Relations
Falls Church, VA

Sole copywriter for full-service advertising/public relations agency. Primary clients were builders of upscale homes in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Work appeared in The Washington Post, Washingtonian, Regardie's, New Homes Guide and other area publications.


Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC

Supervised a staff in the FBI Office of Congressional & Public Affairs, Director's Office, responsible for twice-daily compilation of topical news information for FBI Director William H. Webster and other Justice Department executives. Selected, prepared and produced weekly magazine news synopses and weekly news synopses for FBI field offices throughout the nation and wrote scripts for ABC Radio Network series FBI Washington.


West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV

Cum laude, Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Minor in Psychology.

 photo Crystal_Project_magic8ball_zpsfqu3xbvi.png

Friday, October 25, 2013

Profile: Chris Hook, San Francisco Giants

Big league hurler, former Wheeler to pitch sportswear line locally
By Clint Thomas, Gazette-Mail Metro

Big-time baseball pitcher Chris Hook aims to encourage energetic upstarts to play hookey.

His wife, Toni, a former Fayette County teacher, emphasizes that the expression shouldn't be taken literally. The accent is on "play," she said, while "hookey" is defined primarily as wordplay on the couple's surname.

"Play Hookey Sports" is the sportswear line Chris plans to test-market in the Charleston and Cincinnati areas, probably by next winter.

Currently working as a Headstart psychologist and counselor in the greater Phoenix area, Toni expressed some trepidation about the concept's name when Chris pitched it to her a few months ago.

"Being an educator, I wondered, 'What kind of meaning does this have?'" Toni, 28, said during a telephone interview from the Hooks' Scottsdale, Ariz., condominium home. "We decided we were using it both ways. To play hookey might be something mischievous-sounding to draw people into it, particularly teens who aren't always so pro-school.

"But then they'd see the message that it's not about skipping school. It's more of a positive aspect, just using sports as a vehicle they can use to go other places, such as college, to gain insight, to have a road to the future."

Chris agreed. The recent San Francisco Giants middle-relief pitcher said his idea for the project stemmed, in part, from the 1994 strike-stricken baseball season and the fan rancor it created in its wake.

"I thought we were losing focus on the fun of sports," the 28-year-old right-hander explained. "I think not just kids, but young adults and people who are active in sports, need to concentrate on fun. When I play the game, I enjoy playing it, that it's gotten me to where I am. I love the people, the game, the competition.

"People look at sports as money, money, money. Sports are for fun. I think that's the root of everything. 'Play Hookey Sports' is kind of a free-and-easy attitude, going out and enjoying yourself, playing as hard as you can."


From Watt Powell...

After a triad of tryouts for his hometown Cincinnati Reds as a junior at Northern Kentucky University and an instructional pitching stint in Plant City, Fla., Chris found himself a member of the 1990 minor league Charleston Wheelers team. He said his first extended time away from home and family helped spark an unremarkable start as a pro.

"I was grabbing for something," he recalled. "I didn't perform as well as I could have. I did poorly the first half of the season."

Wheeler Manager Jimmy Lett shifted Chris to the bullpen, where he eventually tallied a 6-5 record for what emerged as the South Atlantic League championship team.

In June 1990, the rookie pitcher met his wife-to-be. While teaching first grade at Valley and Falls View elementary schools for five years, Toni earned a master's degree from West Virginia Graduate College. Celebrating her graduation, she and some girlfriends encountered Chris and other Wheelers at a downtown Chili's restaurant.

"I was still in my go-out-and-have-a-good-time phase," Toni said. "I walked by Chris, and he gave me some silly pick-up line. We just hit it off."

Later, Chris offered to drive Toni home. She noticed a Reds sticker on the windshield and mentioned offhandedly that her father was a big fan of the team.

"He very humbly said, 'That's why I'm in the area,'" she said.

"Meeting Toni really solidified my life that year," said Chris. "It put me on a positive thought. She has always been such an inspiration and always [has] been behind me. Her family has also been really supportive. It was kind of a turning point for me."

The couple married in November 1994. Candlestick

From 1991 to 1995, Chris hopscotched across the country, refining his pitching skills at various minor league levels. Disappointed at not being added to the Reds' 40-man spring training roster in 1994, Chris was traded to the San Francisco Giants.

Along with pitching for the Giants' AAA Phoenix Firebirds franchise, Chris participated in the Arizona Fall League with another up-and-coming player hungry for the bigs.

"The first day of practice," Chris recounted, "we were all sitting on the bench. We were going out to do some stretching, and I heard that laugh. I see that smile down the bench, and it kind of shocked me. I was frozen: Michael Jordan.

"I really appreciate the time I got to spend with him," he said of the basketball legend who attempted a baseball career with the Chicago White Sox. "He was a pure gentleman and a great teammate, just one of the guys."

Unlike Mike, however, Chris reached the majors the following spring.

He had worked at the T.J. Maxx in Scottsdale that winter, uncertain of his status with the Giants. Two days into spring training, the call came.

"It was a shock, as big as any shock could be," Chris said of the telephone call from his trainer, telling him to report to the stadium immediately. Toni had their car at work, so Chris shimmied frantically into a pair of sneakers and began running to the ballpark approximately five miles away. Not far from his porch, he skidded to a halt.

"Wait a minute!" he thought. "I've got a bicycle! I'll ride my bicycle to the stadium!"

(When he broke the news to Toni over the phone, she chided him for pulling a sophomoric prank while she had work to do and other lines to answer.)

A few days later, Chris, wearing No. 37 on his San Francisco Giants jersey, made his major league debut against the Florida Marlins in the third game of the season.

His next game was against the Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Hideo Nomo, a match-up Chris won for the Giants in extra innings.

"It thrust me into the team, really made me a part of the team," Chris said of the win. "It made it real comfortable for me for the rest of the season."

Chris completed the year with a 5-1 record and a 5.30 ERA. Although he became the first Giants rookie to pitch five consecutive wins, the team removed him from its roster after the season.

"That was a real letdown," Chris said. "I cleared waivers, and no one claimed me, so I went to spring training as a non-roster player once again. But I went with a mission. I was fortunate enough to become only the second pitcher to make the team as a non-roster player. It was quite a fight."

He spent most of last season with the Firebirds and 45 days with the Giants before becoming a free agent.


The Future

Chris hopes to know if he'll make a major league roster within the next few weeks. He said he is even weighing the option of pitching in Japan this year.

Regardless, Chris wants to introduce his self-designed T-shirts, caps and other "Play Hookey" sportswear items before the end of the year. He envisions augmenting them with sports and motivational clinics featuring local athletes and ex-athletes who have excelled in other professions besides sports.

"I'd like to have athletes who have played in [the youths'] area. I think it's easier for kids to realize that this guy's really done this.

"A kid could think, 'Maybe if I play sports, I could be an accountant or a lawyer.' There are so many strings to this rope -- I need to intertwine them all to try to make the kids come back to sports, that playing sports is about having fun, that if you put that effort into it, it can take you to more places than your back yard -- to college, to a better job."

Chris said he began preparing the sportswear last summer.

"Designing ... helps time go by quicker in the winter," he said. "I started with the idea last summer and made some T-shirts for some guys here. I decided to take this to a different level, put some meaning into this, give something back. And maybe I could start another career for myself later on down the road."

For more information, visit

"Volvo Irv" Gordon Article

"Two-Million-Mile Volvo Irv" rolls into town
By Clint Thomas, Autobeat, July, 2004

When Irv Gordon rolled his sleek, red Volvo P1800 into Smith Company Motor Cars' Volvo dealership on Corridor G at Southridge this past Wednesday, his odometer rolled over another digit to 2,245,023 miles.

Yes, that is a Guinness Book of World Records number, and it keeps on rising.

An East Patchogue, N.Y., resident, Gordon drove into Smith Company Motor Cars on July 7, having seen its listing as a Charleston Volvo dealership, on his way from Blooming Prairie, Minn., to a Volvo club meeting in Danville, Va.

In Search of a Durable Set of Wheels

A fresh-out-of-college Gordon purchased his Volvo P1800 on June 30, 1966. He bought the car from a Long Island dealership that still services it (and where Gordon worked part time for 15 years).

"I was a schoolteacher who had owned two Chevys that had given me nothing but grief and aggravation," he said. "I had a 125-mile commute each day; I needed a car that was reliable. A friend of mine showed me a P1800 in Road & Track and Car & Driver magazine, so I took one for a test drive."

He paid $4,150 for the new P1800. ("I couldn't afford the convertible," he explained, "which was a little over $5,000, about the same as a Corvette then.") He said Volvo manufactured only 55 of the cars.

Since then, he said, the P1800 has needed little more than regular maintenance and upkeep. He uses Volvo parts strictly and has had the engine rebuilt only once, in 1978, after it had logged 680,000 miles.

"This past May, I replaced the fuel pump for the first time since 1978," Gordon noted.

The car still gets 30 to 35 miles per gallon on the highway and 25 mpg or so in city driving, he added.


A Driving Advertisement for Volvo

The P1800's uncanny endurance has garnered Gordon far-reaching notoriety as an unofficial spokesman for Volvo, but he said recognition was slow in coming.

"When I had reached 250,000 miles and never had a single major repair, not counting regular maintenance, I wrote a letter to Volvo to tell them the car had been terrific," Gordon recounted.

"They wrote me back and said, 'We're glad you're happy. Don't forget to buckle up and have a nice day.'

"When I reached 500,000 miles and wrote them again, someone in their public relations department wrote back and said, 'Don't forget to buckle up and have a nice day.'

"I've saved those letters."

The P1800 attained its Guinness world-record status in September 1998 when it reached 1,696,000 miles. The odometer surpassed two million miles in March 2002.

A Hero's Welcome

Smith Company Motor Cars owner Jed Smith and his staff were caught unawares by Gordon's impromptu appearance, but the surprise was swiftly, warmly received.

"The funny thing is, a few days ago, my dad sent me an article about him from the Times-Union in Jacksonville," said Smith. "I'd known about Irv since he had hit the million-mile mark, but just to have him and the car here by happenstance is a delight and a chance for me to meet one of my heroes."

Since retiring in 1996, Gordon has driven the P1800 to as many places as he's invited and his schedule allows.

"If I have time to go, I'll go," he said. "I have a list of Volvo dealerships around the country, and sometimes I decide to stop by and just say hello."

He arrived in Charleston from the Minneapolis area, he said, where he had been invited to bring the P1800 and sample a Juicy Lucy cheeseburger. ("It's an inside-out cheeseburger; the cheese is inside the burger," he said.)

Asked the P1800's attraction level as a chick magnet, Gordon replied dryly, "Let's just say it's a nice way to meet people."

And how much would it cost to buy his record-holding vehicle from him?

"I tell people, 'It'll cost you a dollar per mile.'"

Gordon said he will return to his New York home shortly for an oil change and to take care of personal business. Later this year, he's off to automobile shows in California, Canada and plenty of points between.

After 38 years and two million-plus miles, Gordon has no intention of selling the P1800 or donating it to a museum any time soon.

"I'm going out with it," he said with questionable earnestness. "I'm getting stuffed behind the steering wheel when I go. Sort of like Roy Rogers did with Trigger."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

ABC Radio Network Series: "FBI Washington"

"Modernized Bikers"
By Clint Thomas

ANNCR.: (Appropriate opening remarks.)

MR. BAKER: Thanks, George.

MR. ANSBRO: Mr. Baker, over the past 40 years or so, a
subculture has emerged in this country that's
been both ostracized and romanticized by society.
Its members are regarded as extremely violent,
openly contemptuous of law and order, and largely
misunderstood. I'm referring to outlaw motorcycle
gangs. The FBI has a strong interest in these
renegade bikers and their activities, and, in
fact, considers them a major organized crime
problem today. Why is this?

MR. BAKER: You used a key word when you said "organized,"
George. A common misconception of these outlaw
bikers is that they almost literally live on
their motorcycles, traveling in relatively small
and loosely knit groups leading an independent
and nomadic existence. While only a small
percentage of motorcyclists in the United States
belong to outlaw motorcycle gangs, the FBI
estimates that their combined membership is in
the thousands. Beyond numbers, however, the bikers
who deal in criminal activities have become much
more sophisticated in recent years.

MR. ANSBRO: In what ways?

MR. BAKER: Well, in one respect, the range of illegal
activities by outlaw motorcycle gangs is more
pervasive than you might first imagine. Throughout
the nation, these gangs have participated in
narcotics manufacturing and distribution,
extortion, prostitution, murder and many other
offenses on a large scale -- generating millions
of dollars. We've learned that many outlaw
motorcycle groups invest their illegal funds in
legitimate business ventures.

MR. ANSBRO: What types of businesses do they use?

MR. BAKER: There are a variety of enterprises outlaw bikers
employ as fronts for their illegal activities.
Motorcycle repair shops and massage parlors come
to mind as a couple of examples.

MR. ANSBRO: So, the stereotype of the outlaw biker as a
tattooed, leather-jacketed tough guy isn't all
that accurate?

MR. BAKER: No, George -- nowadays, a motorcycle gang member
can be seen wearing a three-piece suit and run
what appears on the surface to be a respectable
business. The stereotype of the undereducated
outlaw biker is invalid, too: Many outlaw gang
members have college degrees in such fields as
accounting, computer technology and chemistry.
One outlaw motorcycle group has had doctors,
lawyers and other professional people on its
roster. Another group was found to maintain its
own laboratories to manufacture methamphetamines
and other narcotics. Evidence even indicates that
another group has kept funds in Swiss bank

MR. ANSBRO: Aren't some outlaw motorcycle gangs now using
computers, Mr. Baker?

MR. BAKER: Yes, they are. To further illustrate the
sophistication of today's outlaw motorcycle gangs,
FBI investigations have turned up computer
operations with such things as software packages
for financial operations and data on the group
members. Add to that, George, that many outlaw
motorcycle gangs maintain security with the most
modern technical monitoring equipment to scan for
law enforcement communications frequencies. So,
you can see why we think these groups have gone

MR. ANSBRO: Then the outlaw motorcycle groups are a very
modern and very present threat to society.

MR. BAKER: Unfortunately, yes, they are, on several levels.
As you mentioned at the start of the program,
George, outlaw motorcycle gangs have traditionally
been known as ruthless and violent individuals
who are generally disdainful of law and law
enforcement. Along with an almost fraternal code
of silence among the various motorcycle gangs,
these characteristics make them a significant
and menacing segment of organized crime in the
country today. Their modern-day tools and tactics
have widened the scope of their illegal
activities, and, as a consequence, they've made
themselves a much higher priority with the FBI.
Today we're more dedicated than ever to curtailing
illegal acts by organized groups such as the
outlaw bikers.

MR. ANSBRO: A series of coordinated investigations of the
outlaw bikers across the country in the last
two or three years shows that they are into
racketeering and narcotics. It's clear the FBI
is making headway in this area, Mr. Baker.
Thank you for being with us today, and we'll
see you next week.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, George.

ANNCR.: (Appropriate closing remarks.)

Advertising Age Submission


New River Community & Technical College Magazine Advertisement

Freelance piece for Image Associates, 6 hours from assignment to completion, August 14, 2008

New River Community and Technical College: Optimizing Homegrown Education and Career Opportunities

Serving Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, and Webster county residents for more than five years, New River Community and Technical College has brought higher education and training opportunities closer to home for thousands in Southern West Virginia.

Formed by the state Legislature in July 2003, New River Community and Technical College was independently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 2005. The accreditation was reaffirmed in 2007.

At its campuses in Beckley, Beaver, Bluefield, Lewisburg, and Summersville, as well as off-site locations and online, New River Community and Technical College offers 10 Associate in Applied Science degree programs, 13 Associate in Science degree programs, an Associate in Arts degree, collegiate certificates, and collegiate skill set certificates.

Fields of study include accounting, information technology, medical assisting, nursing, fine arts, and many others. Career enhancement and special-interest classes are available, along with multigenerational programs such as Kids Kollege for public school students and the Elderhostel program for senior citizens.

New River Community and Technical College specializes in customized training, continuing education, and other programs specific to regional employers’ needs. These programs have benefited more than 60 area companies and 7,000 employees, strengthening the local economy by helping West Virginians find and retain high-quality careers in the Mountain State.

The college experienced a 33% increase in enrollment last year, a trend expected to continue with the addition of new facilities, programs, and courses.

New River was bolstered by a recent $16.5 million allocation from the Legislature. These funds have been earmarked toward constructing, renovating, and expanding campus buildings.

For example, the Bluefield campus will move from the site it shares with Bluefield State College to Princeton this fall. At the new Mercer County campus, the college will introduce its mechatronics program.

Incorporating the latest techniques in precision mechanical engineering, controls theory, computer science, and electronics, mechatronics is a design trend thriving in numerous manufacturing and fabrication industries in New River's nine-county service area.

Curriculum levels range from eight-hour, entry-level technician training to AAS degree programs.

"We want to create a strong technical presence in the Mercer County area,” said Greg Shrewsberry, interim dean of the Bluefield campus. “We feel it's vitally important to increase the number of technical when these students graduate, they can get jobs in the area.

"The mechatronics program was created to meet the ever-increasing need for more highly skilled employees. The reason it’s based in Mercer County is because we have one of the highest concentrations of manufacturing and industrial employers in Southern West Virginia,” he said.

"Ultimately, the purpose of the New River Community and Technical College at all our campuses, and certainly in Bluefield, is to provide a better-qualified workforce and produce a more competitive workforce across all industries, including health care, manufacturing, education, and service industries,” Shrewsberry said.

For more information about New River Community and Technical College, visit the college’s website,, or call your nearest campus: Beckley/Raleigh County, 304-255-5812; Bluefield, 304-327-4071; Greenbrier Valley, 304-647-6560; or Nicholas County, 304-872-1236.

Jack J. Morris Advertising & Public Relations (Magazine Advertisement)

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Monday, December 07, 2009

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blithering, Blathering Blog

Just a brief plug for my "sister" site of columns, articles, screeds, and other esoterica, accessible right here. Take a look!