Salt Lake-based MHTN Architects Inc. is marking its 82nd anniversary this year, with a new president at the helm and a renewed commitment to quality design.
After a decade in the captain's seat, MHTN President Lynn Jones announced this year he was stepping down, taking on a support role as emeritus president. Lynn Jones' successor, his brother Bryce C. Jones, also will take on the responsibilities of chief executive officer of the firm.
The succession from brother to brother in this non-family-owned firm is an interesting footnote in MHTN's eight-decade history, Bryce Jones agreed.
"Our father was a teacher and home builder, and we both spent summers helping him in construction and became interested in architecture and construction," Bryce Jones said. "In addition to Lynn and me, we have a third brother in architecture who's now retired, and another who's a city planner. It just so happened that Lynn and I landed in the same firm, and had growth together in it.
"I'm only the fifth president named in this firm. That in itself is neat. And then, having my brother precede me is in some ways challenging, but in other ways it's nice to be able to ask his advice, ask questions and get help when I feel like I need it. It has been a good relationship."
MHTN was founded in 1923 by Raymond Ashton and Raymond Evans, who designed the historic Saltair facility, the Zions Bank building on Main Street and 100 South and the Utah State Prison.
In the next four decades, the firm would go through two name changes, reflecting leadership successions. In the early 1970s, David Hayes and Eldon Talbot became principals in the firm, which became Montmorency, Hayes & Talbot Architects. The firm was renamed MHT Architects in 1981, and in 1992 MHT merged with Nelson, Johnson Partners to become MHTN Architects. Lynn Jones was named president in 1996.
Today, the firm boasts 100 employees, and this month it was announced that three new principals — Ed Migacz, Bruce H. Barnes and Mick Gaviglio — have joined the firm's nine existing principals.
Major MHTN projects include The Gateway, the Student Union Memorial Center at the University of Arizona and the Skaggs Catholic Center in Draper.
New leadership will mean some changes at MHTN, Bryce Jones said.
"We're going to be having a renewed commitment to quality design," he said. "We feel like we've always had the service and the desire and the ability there, but we're going to renew the commitment to quality, sustainable design, without sacrificing that commitment to our clients and projects."
MHTN also will pursue opportunities in niches in which it has established expertise, he said. The firm's work on student union facilities, for example, has taken it across the country. Other specialties include justice facilities, resort properties and xeric landscape design.
But, Bryce Jones said, the firm's focus will continue to center on the factors that have served it well over the last 82 years.
"We attribute it to three main things," he said. "We have a lot of repeat clients. We have successful projects that keep us going. And we have had successful ownership transitions. We've been successful in planning and bringing new people on board when it's feasible for them to start buying into ownership, and then building on that ownership as they grow in the firm.
"Everybody has those goals, but not everybody is able to fulfill them. We try to do what we say we're going to do."