Get to Know Our New CEO: Q&A with Jessica Baker Daily

January 18, 2024

Get to know our new CEO Jessica Baker Daily Q&A header image

It’s a new year, and we have a new CEO! After 20 years with Halff, Jessica Baker Daily became the firm’s sixth president and CEO on Jan. 2, 2024.

Let’s take a few minutes to get to know Jessica.



You started out as an intern at Halff in 2003. What made this a company you wanted to stay with long-term?


The people. I’ve built meaningful relationships with so many incredible people over the years at Halff. I chose Halff to build my career because of our purpose. Knowing that the work our people are doing to improve lives and communities makes going to work every day so special.

Jessica Baker Daily collaborating with Lenny Hughes and Chad Gardiner in 2006 on a Halff project.
Jessica Baker Daily pictured with Lenny Hughes and Chad Gardiner in 2006.

Any lessons learned from the beginning of your career that have stuck with you?


I learned to get comfortable being uncomfortable because that’s when you know you’re growing.

Having met Dr. Halff, what type of impression did he make on you?

Dr. Halff was so good about making people at Halff feel valued whether it was dropping by your office to say “hi” every morning or giving employees special recognition.

Dr. Halff truly cared about people, and it was the reason for his success. I tell all our leaders to follow in his footsteps—their most important responsibility is caring for their teammates and the communities our work impacts.

His passion for serving others should be an inspiration for us all.

How do you maintain work/life balance?

I prefer to use the term life/work balance because it puts emphasis on family or loved ones over everything. Life/work balance is something that I want our people to prioritize. I try to lead by example by setting priorities and establishing clear boundaries. One way I do this is by blocking out important commitments for family and friends on my calendar.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

I stressed about everything when it came to work in my early career. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect and not make mistakes. If I could, I would tell my younger self to not fear failure because sometimes it takes making a mistake to learn and grow.


What are some of the challenges that the AEC industry is facing in 2024?


We attract and retain the best and brightest in our industry by providing the opportunity to work on projects that improve lives and communities. Our competition for talented professionals now extends beyond the AEC industry to include the technology sector. The key to differentiating ourselves from technology firms is to leverage the best technology to make the biggest impact on the quality of life in our communities. The challenge is to never be content with your current approach to technology. We must adapt to constant change and mitigate the impact it has on our people. Advancing technology can make our projects more efficient, allowing our people to use their technical expertise and leadership skills in creative ways as we build resilient infrastructure for the future. We couldn’t be more excited about that.

Why do you feel engineering is important to community growth?

Engineering is how we live out our purpose to improve lives and communities. One of the ways we do that is helping our clients be resilient—to think and prepare for the future, no matter what it brings.

Halff has a people-first focus. Why is that unique and important?

It may not be unique to say that we put people first, but at Halff we align our words with actions. This is demonstrated in our culture values, Halff Community Initiative, career development and much more.  It’s so important to truly make decisions with our people at the forefront because when our people thrive, our business thrives.

From left to right: Ben Pylant, Jessica Baker Daily, Dan Warfield, Melanie Cleavelin, Keith Courson and Joseph Sagel. Together they hosted a pancake breakfast for the Richardson office to raise HCI donations during HCI Giving Week in 2023.

What was your first job?

My first real job was interning at Halff, but during the summer in college I worked at a small university spirit shop across from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. I also cleaned my parents’ pool!

Do you have a secret talent that no one knows about?

I was a dancer growing up and a member of the drill team in high school. I often have to put on my “drill team smile” when overcoming tough challenges!

If you could travel anywhere in the world today, where would you go?


Italy! I went on a high school trip when I was 17 and would love to go back.

What does your typical Saturday look like?

I spend time with my family. This usually includes my husband and I watching our son, Bennett, play toddler “soccer” or spending quality time with my mom.

What are you looking forward to most in 2024?

Leading this amazing firm! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with the people of Halff and I’m eager to bring my best every day because our people deserve it. I have my dream job at my dream company, what more could I ask for?

Halff's 2024 Leadership Team with CEO and President Jessica Baker Daily in the middle
President and CEO Jessica Baker Daily with Halff’s Leadership Team. From left to right: Joseph Sagel, Ben Pylant, Jessica Baker Daily, Todd Jackson and Steve Miller.