Print Edition

  Email News Updates

CHA announces promotion of James Stephenson to CEO of CHA Holdings on Jan. 1

By Eric Reinhardt


James Stephenson
James Stephenson (Photo provided by CHA Consulting)

ALBANY, N.Y. — CHA Consulting, Inc. (CHA) has promoted James Stephenson to CEO of CHA Holdings, Inc. and president of CHA Consulting, Inc. on Jan. 1, 2020.

Stephenson will succeed Michael Carroll, who will transition to chairman of the board of CHA Holdings, Inc.

CHA is an Albany–based engineering consulting firm with an office in Syracuse. It was previously known as Clough, Harbor & Associates.

The CHA Companies include CHA Consulting, Inc.; CHA Tech Services LLC; CHA Canada; Novara GeoSolutions; American Fire; CHA Architecture; and Wolverton & Associates.

About the new CEO, reaction

Stephenson joined CHA in May as executive VP and chief strategy officer, bringing to the firm more than 20 years of “broad” strategy, financial and corporate development experience, CHA said.

Prior to joining CHA, he was the chief strategy officer at Lowell, Massachusetts–based TRC Companies, per a May 29 CHA news release.

While at TRC, he was responsible for structuring a five-year strategic growth plan.

“CHA is a great company with a rich history and exceptional staff, and I am honored to take over from Mike and build on his legacy. With support of a great financial partner in First Reserve, the company is in a unique position to accelerate growth and deliver value within our end markets. With three successful acquisitions this year and the largest backlog in our history, CHA is poised for continued growth and success,” Stephenson said. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with the leadership team to propel CHA to be the most client-focused and responsive engineering firm in the industry.”

First Reserve is a private-equity firm that acquired CHA from New York City–based Long Point Capital in April 2018. First Reserve has offices in Stamford, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; and London, England, per its website.

“This is the right time for a leadership transition and Jim is the perfect leader and strategist to take CHA to the next level,” Carroll said. “When Jim came on board earlier this year to oversee strategy and growth, we knew he was the right person to deliver exceptional value to our clients, effectively scale the business, and guide our staff to becoming the best firm in the industry.”

Two officials with First Reserve say they’re satisfied with the leadership transition plan at CHA.

“Mike is a true partner and has been instrumental in CHA’s transformation over the past five years,” Jeff Quake and Mike Scardigli of First Reserve said in the CHA news release. “We look forward to working with Mike in his role as chairman where he will continue to support the company in areas of strategy, organizational excellence and mergers & acquisitions.”

They also describe Stephenson as a “perfect fit for CHA.”

“He brings a wealth of relevant experience, strategic vision and proven leadership ability that will serve CHA well for many years to come. The company has made significant strides in organic growth, acquisition and talent initiatives and we have full confidence in Jim and the team to continue building on this momentum,” Quake and Scardigli said.

Contact Reinhardt at

Thank You For Visiting