Former star quarterback carrying on family real estate legacy.
Clayton Riley Skinner, who goes by Riley, joined the family-founded Skinner Bros. Realty Co. in 2013 after working as a commercial mortgage broker in Charlotte, North Carolina, for four years. The Bolles School football legend was the starting quarterback for Wake Forest and won an ACC title in 2006. The extended Skinner family descended from the original landowners of property that included what now is St. Johns Town Center. Skinner answered questions about his football and professional career in an interview this week.
The majority of my time is spent managing our commercial development projects and commercial acquisitions around Northeast Florida, down to Tampa.
I played some football in college, so that was a memorable time for me. Playing quarterback in the ACC for four years, getting a fantastic education at Wake Forest and going through their business school was an incredible experience. Wake Forest is a place that will always be very dear to me.
I got thrown into the fire as starting quarterback in my first game of my redshirt freshman year because somebody got hurt. That year we were picked last in the ACC and we ended up going 11-2, winning the ACC Championship in Jacksonville and playing in the BCS Orange Bowl in Miami. You can’t script a more memorable experience for a Jacksonville native than to come home and play in front of that many friends and family. It was rainy and cold. We didn’t even score a touchdown. We won 9-6, but I didn’t care if we won 2-0. The fact that we won and got an ACC Championship – the second in school history – was special. Being fortunate enough to stay injury-free, for the most part, and start 53 football games and play in stadiums all over the country was a dream come true.
I went to New York and was signed by the Giants. I was on their practice squad during minicamp and then got cut and I came down to Charlotte and started working in mortgage banking for the next four years. Right about the time my wife and I were thinking about having kids, we decided to move back home.
I have a beautiful and loving wife, Megan, who’s also a Jacksonville native. She went to Bishop Kenny High School and her dad, Anthony Parete, played quarterback at Bishop Kenny and then at Clemson University. The fact that my wife and I went to rival high schools as well as two different ACC schools always makes for fun “conversation” during football season.
I feel very fortunate to have role models like my parents and grandparents in my life. Their character, wisdom, graciousness toward others and hard work are some of the many things I try to observe and learn from on a daily basis. Everything from a character standpoint that you would look up to as a kid, and now as a father myself, I can find right in our family. It’s special and year after year I gain more appreciation for that. My wife and I feel very blessed with our supportive families.
They love this city and I believe that everything that is done in our family from a real estate perspective is for the benefit of the city of Jacksonville. It’s been fun to see it all evolve, such as the way the Town Center area has grown. I remember driving over JTB (Butler Boulevard) and that’s where our cattle were. I spent a lot of time at our property hunting or camping out and doing Thanksgiving and picnics. To have your cattle and a dairy farm there and then to see what it is now is pretty wild.