HHF at 40: The 90s

June 26, 2020

New Era!

In the 90s HHF continued to grow, adding new staff, new Principals (Tom Fee and Dave Curry), new expertise (cultural and historic preservation, bike planning) and the first of many environmental planning contracts with the Navy. Oh, and there was a satellite office in Singapore!

Other Aliases

Helber Hastert & Fee, Planners, Inc. (1992)


Scott Ezer, HHF Vice President (’89)
The 90s were an interesting and challenging time for HHF. The early 90s were characterized by a global recession that was precipitated by the first Gulf War. The spillover of this event affected the hospitality industry globally caused a shift in HHF’s focus away from tourism-related projects in the western Pacific and more on local projects and a sharpened focus on our work for the Navy. There were lots of projects in Japan and Guam. I think there were some years when Dave and others might have made 6 or more trips to Guam in one year, including two trips in one year affected by a typhoon and a massive earthquake. There were lots of projects at Pearl Harbor, including the Ford Island Development Plan spearheaded by Mark Hastert. When our work in the western Pacific slowed down, Kevin Young, a principal at the time, left the firm, and at the end of the 90s Dave Curry was promoted to principal. So the 90s was a decade of change, but HHF emerged stronger with a more diversified client and project base, as we headed into the new millennium.
Wendie McAllaster, HHF Vice President (’97)
In 1995, Leslie Kurisaki introduced me to Larry Helber and the rest is history! Larry hired me part-time to assist with writing and compiling a marketing report for a large master planned community in India. Time was tight, and Larry had to leave for Singapore before the glitzy reports were printed.  As we stressed about how to get them delivered before the big meetings, I joked, “Well, I could bring them.”  His eyes widened and he gingerly asked, “Would you?”  And I DID —  in first-class yet!  From that moment on, I knew HHF was the place for me!
Gail Renard, Senior Associate (’89)
The 1990s. It took a while to settle my mind on that simpler time while in the midst of a global pandemic. But once I did, I recalled that decade at HHF as an exciting time of growth, transition from analog to digital modes of communications, design, and documentation, and a time of optimism in general. Those were the early days of my career as a planner, learning the ropes from those who came before me (Mark, Glenn, Leslie, Tom, Dave, Scott, the Graphics Department who adopted me as an “honorary graphics staffer”—and even Vince and Grant in DURP’s first physical planning class).
I tell people that my favorite part of the job is getting to learn something new with every project. I did a lot of new things in the ‘90s: Went behind the scenes at the Academy of Arts, visited Kukaniloko Birthing Stones, drove on the “wrong” side of the road in Japan, visited a unique triangular-shaped home in Kaneohe, inspected a Navy brig, motorboated on Lake Wilson, and crossed the International Date Line many times—all par for the course for a planner!

HOT in the 90s

Around Downtown

  • Brick Cell Phones/Car Phones
  • Mu‘umu‘us & Running Shoes
  • Pacific Rim Cuisine
  • Electronic Diaries
  • Indigo Restaurant
  • Espresso Drinks
  • Italian Sodas
  • Che Pasta
  • Bu La‘ia
  • Beepers
  • Perms

How We Worked

  • Metric Conversion Calculators
  • Dial-Up Modems
  • Light Tables
  • Mac Clones
  • Zip Discs
  • AOL

Memorable Work

  • Primary Urban Center Development Plan
  • Ford Island Master Plan
  • Honolulu Bicycle Master Plan
  • Koa Ridge Master Plan Plan


If you missed our re-cap of the 80s, catch up here.

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