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.
Celebrating her 30th year with MHTN, Sarah Miller combines her passion for people with a talent for creative space design to our office. We asked her to tell us a little bit about herself.
Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I grew up in Salt Lake City, after living in Cincinnati as a small child. I attended the University of Utah and completed a degree in French. During college, I spent a wonderful, broadening year studying in Aix-en-Provence in southern France.
When did you first know you wanted to work in architecture?
I didn’t plan to have a career in architecture, but rather fell into it through work experiences that I had. I had always been interested in art and drawing, and had a part-time job during college drawing artwork for business forms (i.e. lots of fine, straight lines drawn with ink…). The skills developed there enabled me to get my first drafting job, after graduating from college. A few years later, I got a job in an architect’s office and found that I really enjoyed working there. The work was challenging and complex, with many opportunities for learning and growth. My co-workers were interesting, fun people. I found architecture’s combination of aesthetic and technical aspects very attractive.
At that time, you could become a licensed architect through the apprenticeship method, by working under the supervision of a licensed architect for ten years and passing the Architect’s Registration Exam. I was fortunate to be able to take that path. I became licensed during my early years at MHTN, after lots of individual study and application of the knowledge gained from my work experience.
What are you passionate about and how does that intersect with your job?
I find people fascinating. I love listening to them and trying to understand them and where they’re coming from. Listening skills and wanting to understand are critical in predesign and programming work, in order to effectively help clients understand and articulate goals and needs relative to their projects.
What do you most love about your current job?
I love being involved in predesign, which I see as an exciting phase of discovery, visioning and looking forward. I love interfacing with the typically wide variety of client representatives, working hard to understand what will best support them in their future projects.
I also enjoy the challenge of summarizing and organizing the great amount of information gathered during predesign into a form and format that is accessible and easy to understand.
What are some interesting things about you? What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?
My primary focus outside the office is my family – my husband Rick, daughter Elli and son Michael – and caring for them and our home. Spending time with my large, close-knit extended family, especially my aging parents, is also a priority and lots of fun.
When I was nineteen, I discovered and fell in love with Irish traditional music and dance. This led to an interest in all types of international music and dance. Rick and I and our children have been part of a community of international folk musicians and dancers for the past 35 years, which has been like a second family to us.
Over the years, with this group of friends, we have played music and danced at monthly parties and performed Balkan music and dance locally. We travelled with them to communist eastern Europe prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, to perform American folk music and dance at international festivals, which was a fascinating experience. In addition to music and dance, we have hiked, backpacked, cross-country skied, had Friday evening wine-downs, and cooked and eaten exotic foods with these wonderful friends. It’s been a rich association, one for which I am grateful.
Another hobby of mine is reading, in particular biographies and memoirs, which ties into my interest in people. I very much enjoy gaining insight into peoples’ lives, experiences and challenges through their written stories.