#FHIFavorites was founded on the concept of sharing a variety of interesting, mostly personal, upbeat, and light information during this time of remote operations and distancing.
This edition of #FHIFavorites is more serious and heartbreaking - as we share the sad news of the passing of Jill Barrett – who has worked at FHI for almost 20 years as a Public Involvement Specialist. This #FHIFavorites is a tribute to Jill. It includes a bit of her story and what she meant to FHI, our favorite Jill quotes, and our favorite pictures of Jill – doing her thing!
Jill was diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks ago. She was hopeful that it could be managed for six months, a year, or longer. Last week things took a turn for the worse. The cancer was extremely aggressive, had spread, and Jill was unable to fight it. She was with her husband David throughout, was able to see her three sons, and was visited by her closest friends and FHI colleagues before she passed. Jill was still Jill – right up to the end… giving motherly advice with her knowing smile.
Jill joined FHI in June of 2001 and helped advance FHI’s Public Involvement practice. One of Jill’s greatest talents was her ability to anticipate issues, advise her clients, manage a crowd, and diffuse controversial situations before they escalated. She pulled no punches, was incredible wise, and she cared deeply about her projects, the communities where she worked, her clients, and FHI.
We will always keep Jill in our minds as we continue our work to engage communities, advocate for their needs, and seek to translate technical studies into clear, public-friendly documents. She was a mentor to our staff, and a friend who shared stories of family, travel and hidden gems in the communities where she loved to work. Her talent and unique personality will always be a part of what has shaped FHI.
View the Hartford Courant obituary for Jill here.
“Jill taught me so much about what it means to really love and respect the community you’re working in, and to treat every concern and question as if it’s the most important. Her accessibility to her customers and her passion for what she does made her invaluable to the process, and I’m so grateful to have had her patience and expertise on a VTrans project!” –Erin Parizo, VTrans
“Jill is a fascinating person, filled with mysterious knowledge, always intending to make things good.” –Arnie Bloch, FHI
“Jill set the bar for public outreach for my projects in the VTrans Accelerated Bridge Program. I really appreciated Jill’s ability to engage the public and talk them through construction activities.” –Rob Young, VTrans
“Thanks for working so hard for us. I really appreciate you Jill and wish I had you on all of my projects.” –Victoria H. Chase, PE, NHDOT
“I have never seen Jill waver from her passion for doing the right thing for our clients and for every community in which she worked. In any interaction with her, I could expect to encounter the fierceness of a woman who protected what she believed in. From the beginning, she has been at the forefront of FHI’s core value to elevate communities. Our reputation, as the industry standard for community engagement, is a direct result of her belief in listening to all people, making sense of boring and often complicated technical mumbo-jumbo, and representing the concerns of the community.” –Ken Livingston, FHI
Jill at the Crown Point Bridge (between New York and Vermont) next to one of the bridge commemoration plaques developed by FHI
Mother Jill - Mentoring Parker Sorenson (FHI) at his TRB Poster Session
Jill as part of a delegation that travelled to China to share information on the transportation industry
The Master of Facilitation: Jill at a public meeting exploring bridge design features – Jill become a bridge expert during her time at FHI
Quintessential Jill - on the construction site, ensuring all will go smoothly
And finally, a portion of one of my favorite Maya Angelou poems which beautifully reflects Jill’s gift to FHI. She made FHI a better company and we are grateful for having had her as part of our family. She will be missed.
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
Susan and the FHI Family