Our History

Building a legacy against the grain

In 1974, Carl Harris, David Newton, and a few colleagues left a national design firm to start their own venture, disheartened by typical corporate bureaucracy.

Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, they envisioned a culture where employees were truly empowered, where opportunities to grow were plentiful, where enthusiasm and expertise converged.

That's how the Harris & Associates ethos was born.

Over the next several decades, the firm grew steadily into a leading western-based construction management and engineering firm. Harris & Associates recruited a world-class team of civil engineers, construction managers, public finance professionals, environmental professionals, and strategic advisors to serve a diverse roster of public-sector and institutional clients.

Designed to Last

In 2010, as the entire industry sought to rebound from the economic downturn, Harris & Associates' board opted to shift course under the direction of new CEO Lisa Larrabee. Lisa served as CEO for Harris from 2010 until her retirement in 2021, at which time Steve Winchester became CEO.

During Lisa's tenure, the company transitioned its ownership entirely to employees, becoming a 100% employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), S corporation.

Then, the firm's leadership structure was reorganized to enhance collaboration and, along with the executive team, mapped a strategic plan focused on four markets and core services, including expanding capabilities in environmental, planning, climate change and sustainability, and advisory services.

During his tenure as CEO and CFO, Steve Winchester led Harris to high-performance as an organization and drove growth across all metrics at the firm. He led the formation of the 2025 Strategic Plan and the development of strategic initiatives to position Harris for the future and along with the Board of Directors, oversaw the succession planning for the next CEO, Michelle White.

In early 2024, Michelle White assumed the role of CEO and President. Prior to this, she served as the firm's Chief People Officer and Chief Operating Officer, demonstrating her leadership abilities and commitment to the company since joining in 2018. As CEO, Michelle continues to actively champion inclusivity and leadership development, aligning with our Shared Values and providing strategic direction for Harris in the future.

Carl Harris

Carl Harris