MHTN Professional Spotlight: Margareta Hjorth-Vlassic

Here at MHTN, we strive to make visions a reality. We want to recognize those who make this possible by highlighting our talented team members.

MargaretaVlassic

Long time employee, Margareta Vlassic, brings a diverse background and a humanitarian spirit to our office. We asked her to share a bit about herself.  

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in Nyköping, a small town in Sweden, and moved to Stockholm to go to the Royal Institute of Technology to study architecture. After graduating, I worked as an architect for a few years in Stockholm. In 1986 I moved to Seattle where I finished my second Master’s Degree in Architecture at the University of Washington and also met my husband Mark.

When did you first know you wanted to work in architecture?

I always thought of architecture as a possible profession, but I was uncertain about my decision until I had taken a year off from school to travel and work. I spent that time as a trainee for an architect in Guatemala City, where I worked on reconstruction projects following the earthquake of 1976. That experience helped me realize the important role that architects can play in the development of the world, and how I might combine my interest in world cultures and my desire to work abroad with the practice of architecture and design.

What are you passionate about and how does that intersect with architecture?

Since an early age I have had a strong passion and desire to experience other cultures and places. I satisfied this desire by travelled extensively throughout Europe during my youth, spending much of the time looking at great architecture - old and new. I spent two summers working for architectural firms in Zurich and Cairo, where I was able to combine my love for travel with real world experience in the architectural realm. My passion for combining architecture with world exploration continued to mark my adult life, spending several years working on community development projects in Botswana and moving to Salt Lake City with my husband and children.

What do you most love about your current job?

I have been working at MHTN for 14 years now, which is probably a good sign of how much I enjoy my work and my colleagues. For most of these years I have been working with the design of K-12 schools, which for me is about creating safe and positive spaces conducive for the education of our children. At MHTN I have also been able to find a way to combine my interest in foreign development and humanitarian work with my daily tasks.

What are some interesting things about you? What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

I spend much of my free time with my husband Mark and daughters Kajsa and Siri, who are studying at the University of Utah and Westminster College, respectively. We all share a love of the outdoors, running, hiking and biking during the summers and skiing at the incomparable Alta Ski Area during the winter months.

I share an interest in humanitarian work with my family, and am active with service organizations and projects both here and abroad. I am a founding member and Local Service Chair of the Millcreek Rotary Club, and spend lot of time interacting with the Sunnyvale resettling refugee community in South Salt Lake City. I also volunteer extensively with Youthlinc, a local organization that focuses on creating young humanitarians by giving youth an opportunity to do service locally and internationally. In July 2015, I will travel to Nepal as a Youthlinc mentor for a group of students, which has been made possible in part by the generous support of MHTN. I will share my preparation, travel adventures and development work in the small community near Katmandu on the MHTN blog during the upcoming months.