Monthly Archives: June 2016

HFA named among ‘Best Firms to Work For’ for second year in a row

HFA engineers

HFA was named among the “Best Firms to Work For” by the Zweig Group for the second year in a row.

BENTONVILLE (June 28, 2016) HFA (Harrison French & Associates, LTD) is named once again to the list of “Best Firms to Work For” by the Zweig Group.

This is the second year in a row HFA has been named to the list. Last year, HFA was ranked 52 nationwide in the Multidiscipline category. This year, HFA moved up 10 spots to 42 in the same category.

The award recognizes top architecture, structural engineering, civil engineering, environmental and multidiscipline firms in the United States and Canada based on workplace practices, employee benefits, employee retention rates and more, according to the Zweig Group website. The criteria also include a satisfaction survey from employees.

“We are very proud to be recognized again as one of the Best Firms to Work For,” said Larry Lott, AIA, President and COO of HFA. “It’s a true reflection of the quality of employees that we have, who all contribute to providing us with a very welcoming work environment.”

The award will be conferred this year at the Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference on Sept. 23 in Phoenix.

The award comes within weeks of HFA being honored with a 2016 When Work Works Award for its use of effective workplace strategies to increase business and employee success. HFA was one of only three firms – and by far the largest – in Arkansas to be recognized with this prestigious award. The When Work Works Award is part of a national project administered by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The When Work Works Award recognizes employers of all sizes and types in Arkansas and across the country.

About HFA

HFA began 25 years ago as Harrison French Architecture in Bentonville by Harrison French and has grown to a multi-disciplinary design firm with more than 200 employees and additional offices in Boston, MA, and Fort Worth, TX. HFA provides Architecture, Interior Design, MEP Engineering, Fire Protection, Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering and Landscape Design services to the retail, commercial and assisted living markets nationwide. The firm has participated in projects nationwide and holds professional licenses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Mexico. Please visit us at http://www.hfa-ae.com for more information, and follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @HFA_AE or on Facebook at Facebook.com/HFAAEHome/.

Contact: Melissa L.  Jones, Media and Communications Coordinator, (479) 273−7780 ext. 397 or melissa.jones@hfa−ae.com.

HFA giving blood to give back

blood drive

Melinda Ingram and Robert Snyder, both intern architects, give blood during HFA’s blood drive, part of its Community Awareness initiative to give back to the community.

Several employees of HFA in Bentonville helped give back to the community on Friday, June 24, during the company’s blood drive in conjunction with the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks.

The blood center collected 17 pints of blood from HFA employees on Friday. The generous employees were rewarded with cookies and juice for their efforts. (Very tasty cookies, according to a couple of the volunteers.)

HFA is scheduled to hold other blood drives with the Community Blood Center throughout the year.

HFA Community AwarenessThe blood drives are part of the HFA Community Awareness initiative, which aims to give back to the community through a variety of activities benefiting nonprofit and community-oriented organizations.

HFA’s Civil breakfast

Civil Department

HFA’s Civil Department during its monthly breakfast.

HFA’s Civil Department team enjoys its monthly breakfast in the HFA break room. The team routinely gets together to spend time as a department, to celebrate each other’s wins and to discuss news about the Civil Department. At HFA, communication is a key factor in ensuring success.

From left, front to back and around:
1. Tom Tronzano – Landscape Architect
2. Charles Zardin – Civil Engineer Intern
3. Emma Hernon – Civil Engineer Intern
4. Sara Baker – Program Administrator
5. Sarah Bryant – Landscape Architect
6. Ryan Gill – Civil Engineer \ Program Manager II
7. Ryan Edwards – Landscape Architect
8. Josh Henthorne – Civil Engineer Intern
9. Patrick Crask – Civil Engineer
10. Clint Karstetter – Civil Engineer Intern
11. Kelsey Kreher – Project Coordinator
12. Chris Johnson – Program Manager I
13. Julie Parks – Civil Designer
14. Cheryl McGuire – Civil Designer
15. Zach Hoyt – Project Manager
16. Dave Hardin – Project Manager – Missing
17. Billy Green – Regional Project Manager – Missing – Houston, TX Office
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Upcycling: DIY trends finding home in shopping center design

Looking for innovative ideas to dress up a retail storefront or breathe new life into your existing retail portfolio? Upcycling is one unique way to help your retail property stay relevant and attract the next generation of shoppers. Below, Senior Associate Jenna Stacer-Miccile of HFA|Allevato discusses this new design trend that is gaining a foothold in the retail sector.

Upcycling is a design trend commonly being used in the residential DIY sector and has recently begun to influence retail and food service industries.  Defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item,” upcycling is a cost-effective way in which developers can re-up their portfolios. Savvy designers, operators, and developers have started to successfully utilize this tool to revitalize existing centers and create inviting and re-energized spaces that enhance the shoppers’ experience.

Rejuvenate and find new life for your existing shopping center.

While I admit that we all get excited at the idea of a new ground-up shopping center and the blank slate of possibilities it brings, I find that I get almost as excited when visiting an older shopping center that needs some updating.  A friend and client of ours sarcastically refers to such an approach as ‘putting lipstick on a pig.’  While not the most gracious of phrases, sometimes that is exactly what a center needs to make it relevant and attractive to shoppers again. (Of course, there may be cases where the bulldozer is the best option, but those are few and far between.)  There are clients out there looking at options to improve upon their existing property portfolio’s performance.  Some properties may require elaborate structural updates and construction hurdles to breathe new life into these existing centers, while others may need a little less effort and more finesse – a simple but innovative solution.

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Liven up existing facades with unique materials.

Whether it’s a new retail and mixed-use development or renovating an existing center, designers, operators, and developers are beginning to understand the importance of a dynamic shopping experience.  On some recent projects we have looked at how to do this without breaking the bank. We investigated innovative solutions like finding new uses for reclaimed barn boards, wood pallets, and scrap metal as façade materials.

Plantings are another way to enliven an existing location. One inventive use for plants is to dress the roofline/parapet space with a line of greenery; this brings a fresh, natural element to the building architectural form. Alternatively, vertical green screens can be added to break up a large wall. Large CMU walls may benefit from a coat of paint and a large graphic mural or a stamped logo. That pesky hollow metal door set in a large brick wall could use a bright pop of blue paint instead of trying to monochromatically paint it out to disappear entirely. The possibilities for enlivening an existing façade are limited only by the designer’s imagination.photo 2

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Never underestimate the power of a carefully staged sidewalk.

Current trends at Terrain by Anthropologie and West Elm stores are a great place to look for inspiration when it comes to developing the sidewalk design. A sidewalk should no longer be a 15’ wide swath of concrete. Adding pavers and in-ground planters is a start, but that will not be enough to make your shoppers feel at home and want to hang around and shop.  Now, add some hanging plants, Adirondack chairs, garden sculptures, tree stump bench seating and other items you might think to use in your own garden to liven up the experience. Bringing in unique pieces and using diverse materials is a great way to bring warmth and life to a sidewalk.

One example of such an approach would be to wrap an existing CMU sidewalk planter in reclaimed wood and add a sculpture found at an antique shop in among the plantings – a simple touch, but a beautiful way to add texture, interest, and ambiance.  We also love to introduce pergola elements along the sidewalk just to create a moment to pause and enjoy the environment, and work up the energy to continue on shopping.

We are seeing and using some of these principles in some current shopping center rehab projects, tenant façade designs, and new ground-up retail construction projects.  The possibilities are limitless to a creative mind with a vision to see the potential a retail center has to become a great place to be.

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Stay tuned for future posts discussing the benefits of upcycling as a design tool in the restaurant and food & beverage design sectors.

Greg Schluterman

HFA’s Schluterman certified BEMP/BEAP, only one in Arkansas with both

BENTONVILLE – HFA (Harrison French & Associates, LTD) is proud to announce that HFA Greg Schluterman, P.E., recently passed the Building Energy Modeling Professional (BEMP) certification and Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP) certification exams to be named as a registered BEMP and BEAP professional, the only person in the state of Arkansas with both certifications.

The BEAP certification is an American National Standards Institute-accredited certification program that validates competency to audit, assess and analyze residential, commercial and industrial building energy use and develop recommendations. BEMP certification validates competency to model new and existing building and systems with the full range of physics and to evaluate, select, use, calibrate and interpret the results of energy modeling software where applied to building and systems energy performance and economics.

A main benefit of having both certifications is that not only can Schluterman assess the energy usage for a building or design, but he can test the validity as well with his modeling knowledge.

“The ability to accurately model energy measures is a great asset in providing an energy audit,” Schluterman said. “Being able to model these measures without passing it on to another certified professional can make the results even more accurate, since so much can be lost in the translation.”

“Greg exemplifies HFA’s passion and commitment to expand our expertise, which will help to create and validate more energy-conscious building designs by utilizing the latest in technology,” said HFA President/COO Larry Lott, AIA, LEED BD+C. “Everyone can benefit from more energy-efficient performing buildings, which will have a positive and meaningful impact for the end users and our environment.”

In addition to his BEMP and BEAP certifications, Schluterman is also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), showing advanced knowledge in green design, construction and operations, as well as a certified commissioning agent through AABC Commissioning Group.