ST. LOUIS – The HFW Companies (HFW), a fast-growing professional services firm with a national focus on the architecture and engineering industry (AE), has announced that it has promoted Michelle Huber, MBA, to vice president of finance and a principal of the firm.
Huber joined HFW in December 2021 as director of finance, bringing with her more than 12 years of finance and accounting experience in professional services, six of those specific to the AE industry. Since then, she has been helping the firm lead in developing a robust accounting department at HFW to support its growing portfolio of HFW Partner firms.
Before joining HFW, Williams was president and CEO of CRANSTON, an Augusta, Ga.-based engineering, landscape architecture, surveying, and planning firm serving Southeast communities for more than half a century. CRANSTON solidified its partnership with HFW in June of 2022. Williams, who led the firm since 2019, had joined the firm as a civil engineer in 2002, right out of college. Since then, he orchestrated a strategic growth initiative that culminated this past June in a strategic partnership with HFW.
Added Daniel Forguson, CPA, chief financial officer of HFW: “This promotion recognizes the many contributions Michelle has made to HFW since joining the firm. In her new role, Michelle will oversee the financial reporting functions of the recently consolidated corporate finance team and will lead a growing team of incredibly talented finance professionals.”
HFW’s goal, Hein explained, is to invest in a growing network of middle-market architecture and engineering firms serving metropolitan infrastructure markets with strong legacy brands and growth potential. Hein describes HFW’s “House of Brands” growth model as one designed to retain and leverage each partnering firm’s own brand identity, loyal employee base, and the allegiance of its project partners.
To date, HFW has built a portfolio of seven strategic partner firms with a combined 400-plus employees and collective annual revenues that put HFW at 281 in Engineering News Record’s annual Top 500 ranking of the largest AEC companies.
HFW’s rapid growth posed some challenges to the company and the accounting team, Hein said, in aligning various accounting systems and reporting procedures between HFW and its HFW Partner firms. Huber’s promotion was part of the solution to those challenges, followed by a move to consolidate the accounting functions into one department under HFW.
“Michelle was the conductor of the plan and the leader for this project,” Hein said of the plan to add structure and efficiencies to the accounting department. “Our scale and growth are predicated on more robust systems and processes. We’re excited to have Michelle in a position to orchestrate this.”
Based in St. Louis, HFW is an AEC industry professional services company investing in architecture and engineering firms that serve metropolitan and infrastructure markets and are open to aligning with partners for growth. Its member firms, grounded in technical excellence, solve the most critical problems facing the built environment, improving communities through creative design, engineering, and planning.