MHTN Architects, an architecture and design firm specializing in education, commercial, healthcare, and urban planning projects, announced its official registration as a JUST 2.0 organization. Over the past 18 months, the Salt Lake City-based firm conducted an internal audit of its existing social justice policies. Led by a dedicated internal team including Scott Later, AIA, Principal, K-12; Ryan Wallace, AIA, LEED GA, APA/AICP, NCARB, Principal, Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Municipality; and Darrah Jakab, AIA, NCARB, CPHC, Associate Principal, Sustainable Design, MHTN reviewed and amended its current standards, while also adapting and implementing new policies, to align with the categories and indicators listed in the JUST framework. MHTN committee members Madeline Petersen, Director of Systems Operations; Julie Braam, NCIDQ, IIDA, Interior Designer; Timothy Peterson, Architectural Designer; Sierra Johansen-Garcia, Human Resources Administrator; and Rachel Taft, Executive Assistant were integral to the firm’s success in achieving JUST 2.0 status. 

“We are optimistic that the JUST label will help shape future conversations around where MHTN is succeeding and where there are opportunities for growth,” says Later. “This is not only a chance to improve culture and visibility across MHTN and in Utah, but in the industry and world as a whole.”

Presented by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), dedicated to the social, cultural, and ecological transformation of society, the JUST program is open to organizations that demonstrate a voluntary commitment to and public transparency on social justice and equity issues. The six main indicators—diversity and inclusion, equity, employee health, employee benefits, stewardships, and purchasing and supply chain—contain relevant categories broken down into four levels. Using the JUST guidelines, MHTN can continuously discuss its policies on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and be held accountable to actively update its policies to ensure the firm is maintaining fair practices.

Working closely with JUST program members to develop and gain board approval of the changes, MHTN outlined new policies for diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination, employee engagement, gender and pay scale equity, employee health, well-being, and living wages, local community, and positive products and services. Existing policies including those concerning temporary and internship employees, retirement provisions, family/medical leave, and training/education were each reviewed and received key improvements. Organizations are required to renew their JUST 2.0 label every two years from the date of registration. During this period, MHTN will perform a self-evaluation to see what policies were upheld, where there is room for improvement, and how the firm can continue to move the needle forward so the company and its members can continue to evolve.