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Meet Nicholas Riley

We continue our "Meet the Team" blog series with Nicholas Riley, a graduate of Iowa State University and now Materials Engineer at Advanced Heat Treat Corp. in Monroe, Michigan.

posted On Friday, January 5, 2024 in Blog

Meet Nicholas Riley

Q&As with Nicholas Riley

Nick, you started at AHT in June 2023. How did you initially hear about AHT and what influenced your decision to apply?

I initially heard about Advanced Heat Treat Corp. (AHT) through the Iowa State job fair. AHT was looking for materials science engineers - my major. I was very selective about who I chose to speak with at the career fair, but the AHT Human Resources representative, Joel Robinson, was very friendly and inviting. Lexi Springer, a 2021 Iowa State graduate and AHT materials engineer, was also in the booth and we figured out that we had several of the same professors. 

You started your on-the-job training at AHT in Waterloo, Iowa. Now you’re at AHT in Monroe, Michigan. Tell us about that transition.

I received a job offer prior to graduation, but even before I officially started full-time in June, I visited AHT for some initial training and onboarding and to meet my future co-workers (April 2023). I worked at the corporate headquarters in Waterloo, Iowa for about two months and then moved to our AHT facility in Monroe, Michigan. The two locations offer similar heat treat services (ion & gas nitriding/nitrocarburizing, UltraOx, etc,), so it made for a smooth transition from one facility to the next. 

What does a typical day look like for you as Materials Engineer?

My day involves time in the office, on the shop floor and within the lab. Some day-to-day activities include: creating processing parameters for new customer parts; reviewing contracts; metallurgically evaluating heat treated parts; and ensuring AHT QMS (quality management system) processes and procedures are communicated, well-documented and followed. I've also been helping out with quoting lately.

I continue to learn more each day at AHT and find ways to assist other departments to provide our customers with the best possible service and quality. 

Nicholas Riley and Brother at ISU Graduation 2023We hear there’s quite a few engineers in your family…

Both my brothers are in engineering, all three of us go/went to Iowa State. My twin brother is an Electrical Engineer and now works in Minneapolis, and my younger brother is studying material science engineering at ISU.

My extended family is also heavily involved in engineering. My uncle has a doctorate in Material Science from Penn State and my cousin is going to be a freshman at Penn State next year, also studying Material Science.

Aside from your college classes and on-the-job training, you’ve also taken some certification classes recently while employed at AHT. Tell us about those.

I recently completed an IATF Internal Auditor training course through the Michigan Technology Center; the course is IATF 16949:2016 certified. We learned internal audit methodology, terminology and techniques.

During one practice exercise, we had to audit how to make scrambled eggs so not only did I learn how to audit according to IATF standards, I also learned an easier way to make great scrambled eggs. Ha ha. 

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

I enjoy watching movies and reading books. I recently read all the Harry Potter books for the first time and really enjoyed those.

What is one thing people may not know about you?

I won the Illinois state championship in football my senior year of high school. I played tackle for Cary-Grove, a 6A school.

What is one thing people may not know about Advanced Heat Treat Corp.?

Even though AHT has four plants in three different states (Iowa, Alabama and Michigan), there is still a lot of collaboration and communication between them all. I talk to someone from another plant almost every day of the week. AHT's mission is to "exceed customer expectations with UltraGlowing results" and we work as a team to ensure we achieve that mission for all customers, at all locations.

Name something at AHT or about heat treatment that has fascinated you.

The purple glow that surrounds the parts during ion nitriding fascinated me, and the fact that when titanium is nitrided, it turns gold.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Read more about nitriding titanium in our article, "Heat Treatment of Titanium Aerospace & Armament Applications" by clicking here.)

What’s a project you’ve worked on that you enjoyed?

I am working with Dr. Rolinski on a project related to stainless steels and paramagnetic layers during the nitriding process.

If a college student was considering working at AHT, what would you tell them about the company?

The AHT team is very friendly and ensures you are properly trained and able to be successful in your role at AHT.

Now, a series of quick random questions:

  • First Job: Bagger at a grocery store near Chicago
  • Favorite Food: A good sandwich... any sandwich
  • Have You Ever Played a Musical Instrument? If so, what? Percussion 
  • Any Hidden Talents? I was in choir all four years of high school
  • Favorite Sport: Football
  • Favorite Team: Green Bay Packers
  • Favorite Book or Movie: Dune
  • If you had a super power, what would it be? Time travel
  • Favorite Vacation or Road Trip? Hawaii with my family
  • First Concert / Best Concert / Most Recent Concert? The answer to all three of these is Luke Bryan. (It was a free ticket.)
  • Pets? My family has a cat named Morris
  • Favorite Class in College: History of the American City

Learn About Other AHT Employees in our "Meet the Team" Blog Series.


  1. meet monroe
  2. meet the team