Harrison French founded Harrison French Architecture in Bentonville 30 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a multi-disciplined architecture and engineering firm known as Harrison French & Associates LTD, or HFA, the largest A&E firm in Northwest Arkansas.
On Tuesday (Oct. 13), HFA announced the company’s next progression — construction services.
Enformed Construction Services (ECS) is the name of the new company. Like, HFA, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a holding company formed late last year called HFA Enterprises LTD.
“I’m excited that HFA us taking another big step in providing a service that allows our clients to be more efficient and effective,” Harrison French said in a statement. “Offering construction services along with our well-established A&E services provides a more seamless and fluid process from initiation through project completion.
“HFA is always seeking new ways to help our clients achieve better success and establishing ECS is a serious and significant way to do just that.”
Chris Horton is president and CEO of ECS. He has more than 25 years of engineering experience and was the vice president and chief financial officer of HFA.
Horton joined HFA in 2004 to help get the architecture firm’s engineering group off the ground. He said ECS’ services include project management, construction management, owner’s representation and full turn-key services.
“ECS was created to address a gap in the construction industry,” Horton said. “Our industry is full of very capable and smart general contractors who are usually the first contact a client makes when undertaking a building project.
“However, there is more to your building project than gathering materials and assembling them into a finished product. It takes a team of individuals, each playing their role, collaborating to create the environment you seek.”
Horton said construction industry veteran Matt Orender is ECS’ director of construction. Orender has more than 22 years of project management experience and most recently worked for CDI Contractors in Little Rock. Orender will remain based in central Arkansas, Horton said.
Orender has managed multimillion-dollar projects across various industries, including the Outlets of Little Rock, a 370,000-square-foot retail center that opened in October 2015.
“He checked off so many boxes, but the thing that gets me about Matt is his integrity,” Horton said. “Contractors take a bad rap, and I don’t think that’s fair. With Matt, it’s almost like he goes out of his way to be transparent. I appreciate that about him, and that is how we want to work.”
EC S’ first project is a remodel of HFA’s office in Franklin, Mass., just outside Boston. Horton said the company’s growth strategy is to work nationally with growing companies.
“Occasionally, you may see us do a one-off project like an office building,” he said. “But what we want to do is some national [work] for one of the convenience store groups, or a restaurant group, for example — where we’re going wherever they are doing the projects. And Matt has that background.”