Q&A with David Harris
Reston Association has hired longtime Northern Virginia resident and public accounting professional David Harris as their new chief financial officer. Harris took a few minutes on Friday afternoon to discuss his background and what his plans are for managing RA’s finances and information technology department as he settles into his new role.
“I always look to leverage technology to make things simpler and more efficient for community members.”
— David Harris, Chief Financial Officer, Reston Association
Q: How long have you lived in Northern Virginia?
A: “I’ve lived here for 26 years. I lived in eastern Chantilly in high school and moved out to western Chantilly later – I also lived in Sterling for a few years. I’ve called northern Virginia my home for a very long time.”
Q: How long have you worked in Reston? What about working here drew you to wanting to work with Reston Association?
A: “I worked here for about six years with two companies – this is my third. I just really liked the layout, there’s a lot of green space and parks, dining and shopping, so it’s very convenient. It’s almost like a one-stop shop if you’re at work at Town Center and want to get out of your car and need to pick something up.”
Q: How did your work at Affinity Center International prepare you to manage the finances of the Reston Association?
A: “My work at Affinity Center definitely helped, but really it’s more the entirety of my career that prepared me for this role. I started in public accounting and that really was the beginning of my career gaining expertise in this field. I also worked for seven years as a controller for a federal government contractor, and most recently at Affinity Center.
At Affinity we created the trade association industry’s first business and personal rewards program, AchieveLinks. Our client base was really all trade associations and not for-profit businesses. We had over 110 clients when I left and I worked pretty closely with their leadership and gained some of the knowledge of the challenges they were facing.”
Q: Do you have any immediate goals as you’re starting out with Reston Association?
A: “We talked about the coming of Silver Line and the Master Plan, and really the goal of Reston Association is to make sure that any new development and communities are included under the RA umbrella.”
Q: What is your vision for RA with the expected wave of development to come with the Silver Line, along with close to 22,000 new residences on their way?
A: “Like we mentioned before when developing the Master Plan, I think one of the most important parts is going to be continuing to have a seat at the table in those conversations with developers.”
Q: How do you plan to expand RA's outreach in Reston working with information technology systems?
A: “We’re always looking for opportunities to reach members and make them a part of RA’s activities. The RA board has shown a commitment to this in the 2014-2015 budget, where they’ve allocated money for a new website rebuild and design, using new customer relationship management software, and an electronic document management system, along with some other smaller-scope projects.
Personally, I always look to leverage technology to make things simpler and more efficient for community members.”
Q: What knowledge do you bring to RA that they weren’t equipped with before?
A: “I would say that I bring sound leadership, effective communication for team brainstorming, and can work with people at all levels of an organization. I’m a big believer in teamwork, and I think that’s what drew me here.”
Q: Anything else you want Reston residents to know as their new Reston Association CFO?
A: “I’m just really looking forward to working here and helping to better the community.”
— Ethan McLeod