History of FHI - 30 YEARS!


Ruth Fitzgerald founded FHI in her home in Hartford, CT with the belief that planning should encompass all aspects of community; and it should be accomplished by integrating active and meaningful public engagement throughout the planning process.


FHI hired its first employee: Claudia Massie. Over the next 15 years, our ranks continued to grow and Ruth’s house began to feel a little crowded! (P.S. Claudia is our longest-serving staff member and remains a part of FHI’s administrative team)


FHI moved to its second home: a historic town house at 72 Cedar Street in Hartford. By this time, the company had almost 30 employees and Ruth remained President and sole owner.


FHI transitioned from having a single owner (Ruth) to being an employee-owned company with five additional owners. Since then, the number of employee owners has continued to grow, a testament to our commitment to the company’s vision of generational succession.


Susan VanBenschoten became President of FHI, allowing Ruth Fitzgerald to begin a gradual transition to retirement.


FHI opened a New York City office to better serve clients in New York City and the Tri-State region and to expand our urban planning capabilities. In a short time, our New York City office has grown and expanded its services to include one of the strongest concentration of Public Involvement specialists in the industry, as well as urban designers and transportation and transit planners.


Once again FHI outgrew its home, and in 2014, we moved to our current headquarters at 416 Asylum Street in downtown Hartford. We are particularly proud of our new home in Hartford as it represents both our evolution and growth as an industry leader as well as our commitment to our roots.


FHI’s 30th anniversary celebration! Over the past 30 years, we have evolved from a small home-based company with a handful of employees to almost 50 staff servicing clients in New England, New York, New Jersey and into the mid-Atlantic region. Since our inception, we’ve grown in geography and breadth of service, but our core values haven’t changed: to provide exemplary planning services to our clients with the goal of making a difference in the communities in which we work.