Thanks for the memories...

By the time you read this I’ll be retired from FHI.

WAIT!!! I know what you’re thinking: “Didn’t she retire already… like, a while back???”

Actually, no, I didn’t retire, but it has been a long transition. It began in 2004 with expanding the leadership roles of others at FHI, transitioning from President in 2010, returning to project management, and, finally, downsizing my role significantly in the past year. I take great pride in the safe transition of FHI from a single owner/founder to multiple owners with a generational succession plan firmly in place - one that secures our women-owned business status for years to come.

FHI is in great hands. Our leadership team, along with our incredible staff, continues to impress me so much as we grow and evolve. After this slow transition, I’m definitely ready to retire, and I’m looking forward to life’s next adventures. I have a long and ever-changing list of things I want to do, learn, visit or explore.

I have said many times that the feelings of a founder handing over the reins to successors is very similar to those of a parent launching a child and seeing that child mature into an independent and productive adult. Some of you know that I started FHI when my son, Mike, was an infant. Both have been fully launched for many years now, a matter of great pride and joy for me. In a newer development, Mike is recently married!

And, here’s the part about FHI that pleases me the most. In our 33 years of growth and evolution, the soul of FHI has remained unchanged. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you will see photos of our FHI Day brainstorming about what makes us US. Our leadership knows that our culture is of great value and wants to be sure we enhance and preserve it. But even more important and rewarding to me is that, in all their many and moving messages to me upon my retirement, one of the things that came through loud and clear from our staff was that they strongly value and appreciate FHI’s culture. I can’t adequately express the pleasure and affirmation this brings me.

Though retired, I plan to stay in touch and follow FHI’s journey into the future. I remain passionate about the role of design, planning, community involvement, and environmental review in creating better projects for our clients, communities and the public.

As I look back on my career, and especially on my 33 years with FHI, I am amazed at the enormous wealth of friends, professional associates, clients, partners, and FHI staff that I have been privileged to know and work with. You have all made it a wonderful and exciting journey and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed. So many of you have been part of that journey. I’d love to hear from you: I can still be reached at my FHI email address rfitzgerald@fhiplan.com.

Hopefully I’ll catch up with you soon at some function. But for now, I’m headed to the beach.

This is the one downside to retirement. I will have less daily contact with our amazing, funny, energetic, dedicated and totally professional staff. They are part of the reason I didn’t retire sooner. I love this photo taken late last year at our FHI Day gathering.
Dave and I with Mike and Karolyn on their New Year’s Eve wedding day.
I can’t resist sharing this photo of the groom/mom dance. Clearly, I was having fun!