Inspired to Thrive: A Conversation with Lisa Hess

Embark on an enlightening journey with CEO Dave Wilgus (AIA, NCARB) as he engages in an insightful conversation with Lisa Hess (CMA, CSCA), HFA's new CFO. In this video, Lisa unveils her vision to revolutionize transparency in financial reporting, fortify HFA's strategic growth endeavors, and adeptly maneuver through the ever-changing financial terrain of today's dynamic business world. Brace yourself for a remarkable addition to the studio team – welcome aboard, Lisa!‍

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas–March 19, 2024 — HFA Architecture + Engineering recently announced that veteran financial leader Lisa Hess (CMA, CSCA) has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer.

Based in HFA’s Fort Worth office, Hess brings more than 18 years of finance, accounting and management experience in sectors such as engineering, construction, law and technology. Her areas of expertise include transforming financial workflows through tools and systems based on automation, analytics and data visualization.

“Lisa boasts extraordinary management, organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills, and she is passionate about embracing change and positioning for the future,” said HFA President & CEO Dave Wilgus (AIA, NCARB). “We’re thrilled to welcome her to the HFA team.”

HFA COO Ryan Ray (P.E.) pointed to Hess’s emphasis on listening, honest feedback and creating a supportive atmosphere for her teams. “Lisa is a firm believer in empowering people to reach their maximum potential,” he said. “That makes her a strong fit for the people-centric culture here at HFA.”

Hess’s initial goals as CFO include laying the groundwork for bringing more automation and analytics to HFA’s financial workflows. “I want to provide more transparency and understanding behind the numbers, so that everyone—not just the C-suite but also our project and team leads—can make better decisions,” she said.

That transparency stands to support her second immediate area of focus as CFO. “I want to provide guidance and direction to firm leadership regarding our growth strategies,” Hess said. “When you have those key performance indicators in place and you understand both your opportunities and your business risks, it allows you to grow at just the right pace to maintain long-term sustainability.”

Hess joins HFA from her prior role as CFO of Mackie Wolf Zientz & Mann, P.C., a mortgage banking law firm operating throughout Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee. Based in Dallas/Fort Worth, she was with the firm for nearly 10 years, having started as its Controller/Director of Finance & Accounting in 2014.

Her additional prior positions include accounting and finance roles at the Dallas Stars professional hockey team; the technology company eGistics; the French international engineering and compliance firm Bureau Veritas; Brinckerhoff Construction Services, Inc.; the engineering consultancy Landis + Evans Partners; and Citigroup, Inc.

Hess has earned certifications in management accounting; strategy and competitive analysis; and the fundamentals of data analytics and visualization. At the University of South Florida, she earned an MBA in Finance and Economics as well as a BA in Accounting.

A self-described military brat whose family frequently moved from one base assignment to the next, Hess said she learned to embrace change at an early age—a capacity that is well-suited to today’s world. “The future is moving faster than ever, from blockchain and cryptocurrency to AI and ChatGPT,” Hess said. “If we’re going to stay competitive, we need to stay on top of how change affects, not only us, but also our clients.”

Media Contact: Tanya Castella, Communications + Media Specialist. 479-866-9058 or

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