HFA Announces Leadership Transition

As the CEO of a nationally-recognized architectural and engineering firm, Harrison French is stepping away from his long-held title

After 29 years as the CEO of what has become a nationally-recognized architectural and engineering firm, Harrison French is stepping away from his long-held title.  During a ceremony on April 17th, he announced to his staff of 230+ that he is handing over the reins of HFA to Principal and Vice President of Architecture, Dave Wilgus, AIA, effective May 1st, 2019.  Harrison will hold the title of Chairman of the Board and will keep his office in the heart of HFA’s Bentonville firm.  Harrison, who is known for bringing a deep sense of humility and wisdom to any table he sits at, holds no worries for the continued success of his company and its vast clientele.

“I never could have imagined that HFA would have matured into the firm it is today.  I have had a rewarding experience as CEO, but we are looking to the future.  We recognize that a change in leadership will make us even more effective with our Strategic Growth Plan that we are in the process of launching for 2020 and the future.” – Harrison French

Dave Wilgus, who also spoke at Wednesday’s anniversary celebration, remains adamant that while he cannot imagine filling Harrison’s shoes – he is honored to have been selected to continue his legacy.

“It has been a privilege to work under Harrison’s leadership.  He has set great examples for us to follow into the future.  Harrison is deeply committed to caring for our people’s livelihood and providing them opportunities.  Harrison’s formula for success is simple:  Provide quality drawings and service to our clients.” – Dave Wilgus  

Dave aims to continue the culture of collaboration, integrity, and long-term client relationships HFA is known for with a fresh perspective.  He will carry out his new duties with fellow Principal and Vice President of Engineering, Ryan Ray, as the new Chief Operations Officer (COO), also beginning on May 1st.

“The opportunity to continue to build upon the legacy set by Harrison and Larry alongside Dave and his vision for the future of HFA is very exciting.” – Ryan Ray

Principal and President, Larry Lott, AIA, will also step into the role of Chief Innovations Officer (CIO). Larry will lead the future opportunities developed by the firm’s investments in applied technologies for the design industry.

“It’s really amazing to see how Harrison has led us into the legacy company of today.  Our future looks very bright with Dave and Ryan leading us into our next era.  I can’t wait to see what we achieve next.” - Larry Lott.

Chris Horton, P.E., Vice President and Lou Allevato, AIA, Vice President will continue to serve on the HFA board of directors. The firm expects to have further announcements as the year progresses and positions the firm for long-term growth.

Written by
Kaleigh Evans