William H. Riehl (1897-1954) was born in Kastnerville near Stratford in 1897, the only child of Henry and Martha (Schmidt) Riehl. After attending the Stratford Collegiate Institute, he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1920 with a degree in civil engineering. He returned to Stratford in 1921 to be the assistant to city engineer Alex B. Manson. When he left Stratford in 1925 to become engineer for the Town of Brampton, he was 25 years old, one of the youngest town engineers in Ontario.
In 1926 the ratepayers of the City of Stratford voted to buy the Stratford Gas Company, which meant the Public Utilities Commission then had to manage the gas works in addition to the electrical department, the water department, and a retail shop.
The PUC commissioners decided that "steps should be taken to secure a qualified, technically-trained man, capable of taking full charge of the three departments," namely electrical, water and gas. (The PUC did not take over the bus service until 1952.) City Engineer Alex B. Manson was appointed the first general manager of the PUC in 1928. When he resigning as city engineer, he recommended his successor by William H. Riehl.
The commissioners took Manson's advice and Riehl returned to Stratford, where he was the city engineer from 1928 until his death in 1954. He became thoroughly versed in the intricacies of Stratford’s roads, bridges, sidewalks and sewers. He was one of the principals involved with creating engineering regulations for the Province of Ontario. By Stanford Dingman