Mr. Hester has over 30 years of experience in planning and community development functions within local government, many as an executive. He was the Community Development Director and Redevelopment Agency Administrator for the City of Reno, Nevada. He later served as Assistant City Manager. During his tenure at Reno, he significantly streamlined processes in the Building, Planning, Engineering, and Code Enforcement Divisions. Prior to joining the City of Reno staff in 1998, Mr. Hester served Washoe County, Nevada, for over 17 years in various capacities, including Community Development Director, acting Water Resources Director, and Director of Comprehensive Planning. During his tenure with Washoe County, Mr. Hester was responsible for creation of the first Regional Open Space Plan for the County, as well as drafting and successful approval of State of Nevada open space funding legislation, which has now been utilized in additional Nevada counties. He was a founding member of the Nevada Land Trust Board of Trustees and still serves as an Advisory Board member.
Mr. Hester is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the bi-state Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. He has a strong track record of process improvement and delivering customer-centric outcomes. At the Agency, he removed an application review backlog of 150 applications and updated the 25-year-old Lake Tahoe Regional Plan, which won American Planning Association awards.
In 1995, he was named Planner of the Year by the Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association and Public Administrator of the Year by the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. He has presented at various national conferences and been a guest speaker and lecturer at a number of universities, and he and his staff have received numerous awards, including an American Planning Association National Planning Award in 1990. He has served as a member of the Nevada Small Business Development Center State Advisory Board, the State Land Use Planning Advisory Council, and the State Advisory Board on Water Resource Planning and Development, as well as an officer for the Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Mr. Hester has a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning and a bachelor of science degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
“I really want to express my appreciation for this work that’s been done in a collaborative way in which the study was put together. . . . I’ve seen a number of studies start in the fire department and this is the first one I can remember that has actually been fully completed and brought to the council, and it was done in a very thorough fashion. This is the best assemblage of comprehensive information about the fire department today, as well as what our needs might be in the future, that I have seen. So thanks to everyone. Thank you, Stewart, for giving us our money’s worth on our consultant contract with you.”
City Manager City of San Luis Obispo
“I am really, really impressed. I am impressed at the exhaustiveness of your study, impressed at the honesty and candor with which you expressed your findings; I am very impressed at the constructive tone of it, and that you came in under budget as well. So, thank you very much. I think that this document is going to be a cornerstone for us really moving forward for the next five, ten, twenty [years], half a century.”
Salt Lake City Council Meeting
“I wanted to offer my compliments to Citygate, to Mr. Gary for this very comprehensive report.”
San Luis Obispo Council Member
“I really, really enjoyed reading your Word product. I appreciate the fact that it was direct, it was constructive, and . . . it wasn’t finger-pointing, it was just . . . the facts. And I think that the money was well spent.”
Salt Lake City Council Meeting
“Thank you very much for a comprehensive report. Thank you.”
“I was absolutely thrilled with the report because it was very comprehensive, very detailed. I call it the ‘time-in-motion study’ almost and some of the aspects [are] ‘how does your paper flow? How can you make your processes better? . . . As a government agency, how can we provide better service to the constituents?’ And to us we think that this study identifies those things down to all of the small paper processes and flows.”
Retired City Manager City of Vista, CA
“Thank you so much for this training. This was the best PIO training I’ve ever received.”
S-403 Information Officer class participant
“Thank you so much for all you have done. And it’s so comprehensive, I know it’s going to take a while for us to digest it all, but I think you’ve come up with some really good recommendations.”
Pro Tempore City of Vista, CA
“I think Citygate has done a great job. It seems like you’ve been most thorough and even-handed in your evaluations and you’ve given us certainly a lot of suggestions and guidelines to work with.”
City of Vista, CA
“I think this is one of the most comprehensive reports and I think probably one of the best presented reports I’ve seen in my years in government service. I want to start off by commending you for that and acknowledge that the work that you were able to do with cooperation from all of the different firefighting agencies in this region was second-to-none.”
Supervisor First District San Diego County