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Heidi Creighton, AIA
Associate - BuroHappold Engineering

  • When did you first realize you wanted to become an architect?
    I didn’t have one ah-ha moment, rather I came to the decision as a result of being exposed to parts of the profession over the years. My father employed architects, so I was exposed to the career at an early age. My strengths in school were in math, art and understanding 3-dimensional space. In high school I had the opportunity to take two years of drafting – both engineering and architectural. My teacher at that time really supported me in these classes and I was one of only a few women taking these classes. Architecture felt like a challenging and exciting career and one that has a significant impact on people.
  • Who has inspired you and/or influenced your career the most? And how?
    Earning a degree in architecture gave me a great foundation for entering the profession, particularly with conceptual and critical thinking. I have been fortunate to have a mentor in each of the firms I have worked at throughout my career. Elizabeth Finkelshteyn, a Principal at FXFowle Architects, taught me everything about architecture that I didn’t learn in school. She was an immigrant to this country, a mother, and a grandmother, who was a great inspiration for me. Lisa Matthiessen, who I worked with at Davis Langdon (now AECOM), gave me the opportunity to focus on my passion – sustainability – and also entrusted me with a flexible schedule and reduced hours so that I could spend time with my young children. At BuroHappold Engineering, David Herd has been an inspiring leader and has helped expose me to the breadth and depth of sustainability and well-being. He has given me a significant amount of responsibility and has allowed me to grow into a leadership role, while also affording me a flexible schedule. All of these mentors and many of my coworkers have been key to my career and continued passion for a better and healthier built environment.
  • What are your recommendations for increasing diversity in the workplace and within the design process particularly?
    Flexibility is the key, at least it is for me. Job sharing isn’t really an option in the design industry as there is so much knowledge needed for each individual project. Having flexible work schedules and the possibility of reduced work hours is essential, particularly for those that want to be parents and continue to work. An appropriate work/life balance is critical for retaining staff. This keeps employees productive and prevents them from burning out. Managers should work towards rewarding productivity, not the number of hours employees work.
  • As a woman, what are your thoughts on the Los Angeles region as a place to work?
    Personally, I love LA and moved here for many reasons. As a designer, this great city has so much potential and opportunity. It is an exciting place to be professionally, with many of the world’s best design firms. I know many bright women here in LA who are rising through the ranks of their respective design firms, so I am optimistic that the number of women in leadership roles will grow. I appreciate the quality of life that I have in Los Angeles. Our family of four has only one car, which we use infrequently. Typically we are traveling on the Metro or by bike. We have consciously built our life so that we spend limited time commuting and maximize time with our family. The access to open space and the outdoors is a great benefit to living here. I am thrilled to be working in this great city to help make it the very best it can be.

Heidi Creighton, AIA

Associate - BuroHappold Engineering

With more than 15 years of experience in the design and construction industry, Heidi Creighton specializes in sustainable technologies and the LEED certification process. She provides sustainability consulting services including master planning, 3rd party certification management (such as LEED, Living Building Challenge, and WELL), post occupancy evaluation, and social equity design. Her comprehensive knowledge of the LEED rating system has helped projects achieve higher levels of sustainability at minimized extra cost including the Los Angeles Trade Technical College’s South Campus, where she brought the originally designated LEED certified project all the way to achieving LEED Gold, with no additional cost to the client.

Heidi is a registered architect and a LEED AP with BD+C and O+M specialties. She specializes in sustainable strategies and green certification within the academic, healthcare, commercial, and residential sectors. Recent campus projects include Washington University in St. Louis, Caltech, Emerson College, and multiple buildings within the LA Community College District. International projects include buildings in the King Abdullah Financial District in Saudi Arabia, and various master plan and high-rise projects in Korea, China and Qatar.

As the BuroHappold Environmental Coordinator for the West Coast, Heidi is responsible for promoting good practice, maintaining and reviewing the Environmental Office Action plan at regular intervals, ensuring statutory records are kept up to date, and providing reports on the performance of the office. She is also a representative in the international group of BH employees who are tasked with developing Knowledge Sharing tools for sustainability and sustainable technologies.

Heidi has been serving on the USGBC-LA Board of Directors since early 2013 and has been active in the green building industry for over 13 years. She is a passionate advocate for a restorative built environment, delivering socially, economically and environmentally sustainable developments.

Last updated: 09-Feb-2015 04:30 PM
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