Heather Knighton, Principal, Marketing, MHTN Architects

Bridging Connections and Ideas in the AEC Industry


Heather Knighton, a seasoned Principal of Marketing at MHTN Architects, brings a depth of experience and insight to the AEC industry that is both rare and invaluable. Reflecting on her 28 years in the field, Knighton notes, "Navigating through various sectors, from heavy highway to interior design, has been a profound journey of learning and connecting diverse aspects of this fascinating industry." Her role at MHTN Architects goes beyond traditional marketing; she is a connector of people and ideas, a role she deems essential in today's ever-evolving AEC landscape. Knighton's career, marked by tenacity and perseverance, exemplifies the long-game approach vital for success in the complex world of AEC marketing.


Is there someone who mentored you that made you view marketing and business development with a new perspective?


One of my greatest mentors has been Mojdeh Sakaki, Director of Fashion and Interior Design Programs at SLCC. She taught me to embrace and implement creativity with holistic marketing strategies. To look at a challenge and ask What If, to take ideas to the ridiculous to grab a golden nugget, and to have fun with it—these have been wisdoms I use every day in my job. She encouraged me to try out my ideas and to learn from them, regardless of the outcome. There can’t be fear in great marketing. Her advice to use my creativity as a tool is one that I am so grateful for.


How do you get firm leaders on board for your marketing initiatives?


I think working in collaboration with firm leadership is always the best approach. At MHTN, we frequently come together to identify short-term and long-term company goals and to share ideas we think need investigation. Working from this shared perspective gives everyone a sense of buy-in from the beginning of an initiative.


If I am going to leadership with new information or ideas, I find it most helpful to share relevant data from reliable sources. This might include economic forecasts, planning reports, internal data, etc. Data is always a key component to any initiative.


What are three tips you give marketing coordinators to help them progress in and magnify their role?


The first tip I give to any coordinator is to give themselves ample time and space to learn the AEC industry. It is inevitably more complicated than most expect, making it easy to feel overwhelmed. I tell anyone entering the AEC industry to give it at least a year to feel like they have a good grasp on it.


The second tip I give coordinators is to take any opportunity they can to learn more about subjects or skills that they are interested in. This doesn’t necessarily have to be marketing related. We are all happier and willing to dig into projects when we are learning and growing.


The third tip I share with coordinators is to actively voice their thoughts and ideas, particularly in project pursuits. We are all better together and respect is earned when a person contributes their knowledge to the group.

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