Category Archives: Community

Helping others through HFA Community Awareness

Community awareness.HFA Community Awareness

For those at HFA, it’s a powerful phrase. Within the past year, HFA began an initiative within the company called HFA Community Awareness. But the roots of that initiative go back much further.

What is HFA Community Awareness? It represents our promise to contribute to the community that has supported us from the start. HFA is involved in nonprofit work and fundraising and often sponsors employees in nonprofit work. Staff members are encouraged to do nonprofit work, and they are supported not only by HFA as a whole but also by their fellow employees.

Recently, HFA employees have helped feed law enforcement officers in Bentonville, have participated in a bowling tournament to raise money for scholarships in Rogers and have helped to hand out thousands of backpacks to schoolchildren in Springdale. One employee even agreed to jump out of an airplane to help a children’s advocacy center.

HFA also attended the recent groundbreaking of a local nonprofit’s expansion for which the company is providing the design and engineering. HFA also completed a month-long food drive to benefit the local food bank and turned over 258 pounds of food.  All of this has taken place within a few weeks.

Why is HFA’s Community Awareness initiative so important?

“There are so many great organizations with a focus on enriching the lives within our communities who are in need of assistance,” said Larry Lott, President and COO of HFA. “We take this to heart, which is an essential part of HFA’s culture.”

Some of HFA's Community Awareness projects include The Pack Shack groundbreaking (top), a fundraiser for school music programs (from bottom left), the NWAIA Bowling Tournament, food drives and Skydive for Kids.

Some of HFA’s Community Awareness projects include The Pack Shack groundbreaking (top), a fundraiser for school music programs (from bottom left), the NWAIA Bowling Tournament, food drives and Skydive for Kids.

Some of the most recent events from the Bentonville, Ark., office include:

  • HFA representatives attended the Aug. 1 groundbreaking of The Pack Shack’s new facility, which will include about 7,000 square feet of warehouse and “party” space. The Pack Shack, a nonprofit that provides prepared meals for the food insecure, has “Feed the Funnel” parties at which the meals are put together. HFA is providing the design and engineering for the project.
  • HFA recently sponsored two teams for the annual NWA AIA Bowling Tournament in Rogers. The tournament raises money for scholarships for the E. Fay Jones School of Architecture students at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Not only did the HFA teams raise money for the scholarships, they won the tournament.
  • HFA held a food drive throughout July to gather food for the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank at a time when food donations aren’t as plentiful as during the end-of-year holidays. Employees donated 258 pounds of food to the food bank.
  • On Aug. 6, several staff members took part in the Backpacks for Kids Day held by local nonprofit Samaritan Community Center. The project involved handing out backpacks stuffed with school supplies to more than 5,000 area children in three locations. HFA volunteers took part in handing out hundreds of the backpacks in the Springdale location.
  • Three HFA volunteers took part in the Blue Line Challenge meal in Bentonville, started by a local resident and put together by several organizations and volunteers. The event honored local firefighters, first responders and law enforcement officers with a steak meal. The volunteers helped serve the meal.
  • An HFA employee signed up in July for the Skydive for Kids event to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County. She pledged to raise $1,000 for the event, and asked her HFA colleagues to help. We responded with a “Jeans Day” in which those who paid at least a $1 donation got to go casual on a Thursday. There was also a jar to fill and a page where donations could be made. By the end of the day, she had not only reached her goal, she had surpassed it by more than $600. As promised, she later performed a tandem jump from an airplane – and parachuted to the ground safely.

Community Awareness is not limited to the Bentonville office. HFA’s office in Franklin, Mass., sponsored a fundraising event Aug. 13 that focused on raising money and awareness to keep music programs in schools. The office staff also held a food drive throughout July in conjunction with the Bentonville office’s food drive, with proceeds going to the Franklin Food Bank. The office donated 84 pounds of food, including food for pets, as well as cut a $250 check.

“We take for granted that people within our community eat three meals a day,” said Associate Principal Lou Allevato in the Franklin office. “In our town, it’s not about having too little; it’s about caring enough to make a difference in someone’s life.”

This is a sampling of the many events sponsored or participated in by HFA and its employees

“We are very proud of our staff’s passion, generosity and willingness to participate to having a positive impact for our communities,” Lott said.

HFA is still growing. We recently opened an office in Fort Worth, and a Mexico City office will be open soon. But no matter the size of the company, the offices of HFA will continue to work with and in their communities.

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 – Bentonville to take part in annual Cancer Challenge

HFA will be competing once again in The Cancer Challenge in Bentonville.

HFA will be competing once again in The Cancer Challenge in Bentonville.

BENTONVILLE – HFA’s Bentonville, Ark., office is putting together a team to participate and raise money for The Cancer Challenge. The event will be Saturday, June 11, in Bentonville.

Last year, we set a record and raised $5,760 with 38 team members, and the goal is to top that this year.

The Cancer Challenge helps cancer patients in Northwest Arkansas with costs for medications, treatments, travel, etc. Ninety percent of every dollar raised goes directly to helping people, and 100% of these funds stay in Northwest Arkansas.

If you would like to make a donation to Team HFA, please visit the Team HFA website at:

If you would like to know more about the Cancer Challenge please visit:

10 nonprofits take part in inaugural HFA Open House

Attendees visit with nonprofit representatives during the HFA Open House on May 12.

Attendees visit with nonprofit representatives during the HFA Open House on May 12, 2016.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – On May 12, 2016, HFA (Harrison French & Associates, LTD) held a special nonprofits Open House event for invited industry members and HFA staff. The event allowed attendees to meet representatives from 10 local nonprofits and learn about their causes.

A large crowd attended the successful event, which included catering by Catering Unlimited, music by The Squarshers and door prize drawings. Both attendees and nonprofit representatives said they were pleased with the event and the opportunities it presented.

“Being involved in our community is an integral part of HFA’s culture,” Larry Lott, President and COO for HFA, said prior to the event. “We are very excited to host an event which brings community awareness to Northwest Arkansas nonprofits.

“These organizations have a tremendous impact and commitment to enriching the lives of those in our community and are in need of everyone’s ongoing support,” Lott said.

The open house provided unique opportunities for the nonprofits as well.

“It educates people in the community who are not familiar with the nonprofits,” said Shannon Green of the Samaritan Community Center. “Also, it helps us get the word out about volunteer needs, donation needs, so it’s a worthy opportunity to be here.”

The following nonprofits took part in the event:

7Hills Homeless Shelter – The Fayetteville-based nonprofit has been around since 2001, starting with the Day Center and expanding to include the SSVF program, which provides short-term, rapid rehousing to veteran families at risk of homelessness; and Walker Family Residential Community, a complex that provides transitional and permanent supportive housing on a 3.5-acre complex in south Fayetteville. The nonprofit is working to prevent homelessness in Northwest Arkansas and to help those struggling to get out of a homeless situation. More information on the program is available at

Ability Tree – Ability Tree began in 2010 to provide rest and support for families impacted by disability. The charity provides special care and after care support for siblings as well as parents and the disabled relative. The goal is to provide recreation, education, support and training (R.E.S.T.) to families and volunteers. The charity serves communities in Arkansas and New Jersey and provides special art events for clients, after school programs for the clients and their siblings, and rEcess, designated nights where the special needs kids and their siblings can stay from 6-10 p.m. to give the parents a break. More information is available at

Cancer Challenge – Started in 1993, the Cancer Challenge has invested more than $11 million into Northwest Arkansas communities for direct patient services including treatment and navigation, financial and emotional assistance, transportation, early detection screenings and follow-up care, bereavement, charity care and community outreach, among others. The grant money is raised through donations and participation in events such as the upcoming, annual golf tournaments and a 10K/5K Run/Walk. More information is available at

Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County – The center opened in 2000 to provide a safe, secure environment for children who had been physically or sexually abused. Today, the center provides on-site counseling with specially trained, forensic interviewers; advocacy for the child; and on-site medical exams in a less-clinical environment than a standard hospital. Counselors are available to meet and assess family needs and to provide follow-up, support and referral services. All services are at no charge to the family. More information is available at

Children’s Safety Center of Washington County – Opened in 1997 as the first child advocacy center in Arkansas, this center also provides resources for children of physical or sexual abuse. The center has helped more than 8,000 children since its inception, and it continues to provide a safe environment for forensic interviews and examinations, therapy and advocacy. This includes assisting the child and non-offending parent through the court process and linking the family with other types of concrete services, such as housing and job services. The center raises money through donations and events such as the Dream Big Charity Gala coming in July. More information is available at

Micah’s House – This progressive, independent living program focuses on young men aging out of foster care. Targeting 18-19-year-olds, the program teaches basic life skills to help the young men to lead productive lives on their own after up to 18 months in the program. The charity recently purchased a home to house up to 8-10 men at a time, and they hope to expand in the future to provide duplexes for those looking to transition to a more independent way of living before heading out on their own. More information is available at

Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter – Since 1993, the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter has provided 24-hour residential care to children who are victims of family violence, neglect or physical and sexual abuse. The 48-bed facility offers on-site schooling and counseling services. Programs include emergency care, counseling, case management, on-site education, a pre-school program and The Sophia Scott Expanding Horizons Program, which gives children a chance to participate in fun activities to help them manage fear and stress and build self-esteem. More information is available at

The Pack Shack – The Pack Shack encourages individuals, businesses and other entities to participate in “Feed the Funnel” parties where participants create packages of food, hygiene and personal items to be distributed in the community. The nonprofit services those with “food insecurity,” which is defined as “the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food.” Meals packed during parties go to local organizations, including food banks and pantries. Since beginning in 2013, more than 7.2 million meal packs have been created by volunteers. More information is available at

Samaritan Community Center – For more than 25 years, the grace-driven Samaritan Community Center has provided volunteer services to the area to help those in need. Programs range from the Samaritan Market food pantry, garden and soup kitchen to social services, a thrift shop, a health clinic and a program to create snack packs and stuff backpacks with school supplies for children. Located in both Rogers and Springdale, the nonprofit also includes a dental clinic for uninsured adults. The organization relies on volunteers and in-kind donations. More information is available at

Saving Grace – Begun in 2009, Saving Grace provides a home for women ages 17-25 who are aging out of foster care or facing homelessness. The facility provides dorm-style living with common areas maintained by the residents. The organization focuses on creating long-term solutions so the women become self sufficient. The average stay is 14-18 months, and women are encouraged to complete or continue their education. Life skills education and community involvement are also encouraged. Residents are paired with three mentors who help them through the program and allow them to build self-esteem and independence. More information is available at

HFA would like to thank the representatives of these nonprofits, as well as the attendees and HFA staff members, for making this inaugural event a success.

About HFA

HFA began 25 years ago as Harrison French & Associates in Bentonville by Harrison French and has grown to a multi-disciplinary design firm with more than 200 employees and offices in Bentonville, Ark.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Boston, Mass. 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 and the District of Columbia. Please visit us at for more information.
Contact: Melissa Jones, Media and Communications Coordinator, (479) 273-7780 ext. 397 or

HFA intern architect helps dedicate Little Free Library project

HFA's Little Free Library design

Matt Turner of HFA dedicates the Little Free Library he helped design on South School Avenue in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE (May 11, 2016) — HFA teamed up with the Ozark Literacy Council earlier this month to dedicate the latest installation in the council’s Little Free Library program.

The newest Little Free Library is the design of HFA’s own Intern Architect Matt Turner, along with former HFA Intern Architect Esteban Ayala.

Their design, “Pequeña Biblioteca,” took second place in the Ozark Literacy Council’s contest for Little Free Library designs.

Sponsored by Dick and Margaret Rutherford, the library’s design includes hidden benches that slide out, allowing users to sit and enjoy a book on the spot. The vertical wooden fins are made to resemble the pages of a book, and the UV-resistant acrylic container protects books from the elements, including the sun’s rays.

The new library is located at 831 S. School Ave. next to the Frisco Trail, and between Archetype Productions and the El Camino Real restaurant. The library is part of the Ozark Literacy Council’s program born in 2009 to provide little libraries throughout the area, with a “take a book, return a book” approach. HFA is proud to be one of the designers associated with the project.

About HFA

HFA began 25 years ago as Harrison French & Associates in Bentonville by Harrison French and has grown to a multi-disciplinary A/E design firm with more than 200 employees. 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 and the District of Columbia. Please visit us at for more information.

Contact: Melissa Jones, Media and Communications Coordinator, (479) 273-7780 ext. 397 or

Engineering a Meaningful Place

We sat down with A/E Firm HFA to ask about the importance of integrating engineering into a good architectural design.

Q: What is the role of engineering when designing a new space?

A: The architect creates the space with the needs of the client in mind, while it’s the challenge of the engineer to make the space functional, comfortable and safe. One of the engineer’s main goals is to design the most optimal use of the space.

“Successful design integrates architecture and engineering into a holistic space.”


Q: What’s the biggest advantage of HFA being an integrated A/E Firm?

A: Communication. The HFA design team all work in the communication to stimulate creative design solutions. Truly integrating an A/E firm is like designing a good space, you have to understand how the disciplines work together to create the holistic experience for the end-user. In this scenario, our clients are the end-user.


Q: How does that integration help in creating meaningful places?

A: Any designer can create a space, but great spaces happen when architects and engineers are working together to optimize it for the human experience. That’s the end goal of any project. Good space design is about the way it makes you feel when you experience it, and we want to create a meaningful place for all to enjoy!

Mar-Apr_CCR Ad-Open House

HFA Ranked Top 5 by Architectural Record

Arch Record List

Architectural Record has ranked HFA the 5th top design firm in the nation for the Retail Market.

As a full service architecture and engineering firm, HFA continues to be a leader in Retail Store design across the United States.


HFA Architects and Engineers Celebrate 25 Years

Identifies 25 Ways to Impact the World Through Design


The architectural and engineering firm based in Bentonville, Arkansas reached a major milestone unachieved by most firms, 25 years in business. In recognition, the staff developed ideas of ways to impact the world through design.

Founded by architect Harrison French, the one person firm has grown to over 170 employees serving nationally recognized clients throughout the United States and is positioned to begin working internationally. The fully integrated, multi-disciplined firm has been recognized among the fastest growing firms for the past six years, by Zweig Group, a national architectural and engineering industry consulting firm.  Based upon the number of licensed professionals, HFA was recently recognized as the largest architectural and engineering firm in Arkansas. The growing Bentonville firm has an office in Houston, Texas and staff in Dallas, Texas.

“This anniversary would not have been possible without the hard work of a lot of talented professionals and great clients.” said Harrison French, AIA, Principal / CEO,  “I’m even more excited about our future as we continue to challenge ourselves and develop our skills even further.”

In celebration of their achievement, HFA hosted an event on May 7th in their newly renovated headquarters office which was transformed from a vacant home improvement retail store. The beautifully designed studio was awarded LEED CI Gold certification for its utilization of sustainable design and energy saving systems.

In recognition of their 25 year achievement, the HFA staff launched 25 Ways to Impact the World Through Design initiative.  This thought provoking initiative asked our staff members to identify a design idea that can be used in our daily lives and the impact that design can have upon the world.  There were 89 entries submitted by our staff of which the 25 where chosen by the staff to represent our 25 years in business.  At our May 7th anniversary celebration, the top three design ideas were selected by a vote of the attending guests.

“This has been a very fun design challenge and we were excited to see that there were so many innovative ideas created by our staff.   The design ideas really tell the story that our staff is not only very creative, but that they are truly caring people who really want to help the world become a better and more meaningful place to enjoy.” said Larry Lott, AIA, President and COO.

About HFA (Harrison French & Associates, LTD) is a multi-disciplinary design firm providing Architecture, Interior Design, MEP Engineering, Fire Protection, Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Landscape design services to the retail, commercial and assisted living markets throughout the U.S. and holds professional licenses in all 50 states; and the District of Columbia. Please visit us at

Press Release: HFA Awarded an Arkansas American Planning Association Award

National Design Firm, HFA, was given an award by the City of Bentonville for the work HFA did for the 2004 Downtown Bentonville Master Plan.  The City of Bentonville received an Achievement in Plan Implementation award from the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association and wanted to recognize HFA’s contribution to that project.  The award was presented to HFA on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 during the Bentonville City Council meeting.

APA Award

HFA’s work in the Downtown Bentonville Master Plan project consisted of an analysis of different building types that could be used as models for future development.  Renderings were produced that the city used to promote their vision of the urban fabric and scale of downtown Bentonville.  Since the master plan was implemented, Bentonville has seen successful private development occur that is consistent with the model developed.


HFA Helps a Neighbor

HFA employees reached out to a neighbor, collaborating to design and build an accessible ramp.

When John Berkley, Project Manager, at HFA was talking with his neighbor, he saw an opportunity for him and co-workers to do a team building exercise. But when he presented the idea to Dave Wilgus, Associate, Dave knew he had an eager group of intern architects on staff already seeking an opportunity to provide community service as part of their Intern Development Program or IDP.  The IDP requires these interns to gain exposure to various aspects of architecture and one element requires them to provide a minimum of 80 hours of community service, a way for them to give back.

John would often help out his elderly married neighbors with minor home repairs.  Recently, the need for a ramp became apparent.  And the joining of a need and volunteer resources came together.

The HFA volunteers completed the project over the weekend which took about 16 hours.  On Sunday afternoon, Mary Mae wheeled Jody, her husband, down the ramp out onto the carport.  Jody is 97 years old and loves the outdoors, but due to his limited mobility, has not been able to get out of the house except for occasional doctor appointments.  With tears in her eyes, Mary Mae shook each one of the volunteers’ hands and thanked them for what had been built.

You may recognize the name of the couple.  Mary Mae and Jody Jones.  Yes, Mary Mae is the retired school teacher who Bentonville Public Schools named Mary Mae Jones Elementary School after.

Dave Wilgus said: “I was so impressed with everyone on the team and the team’s cohesion – each one brought their own expertise and leadership to the group.  We are a luckily office to have such talented and classy individuals working for us.  Finally, I want to thank John for bringing this project to our attention, spearheading the project management and acting as great foreman over the weekend.”

The HFA interns involved include:  Mike Czajka, Stacey Jawor, Sean Paquin, Dan Richards and Matt Turner.