“KAI has been a huge part of who I am since I began following in my father’s footsteps 20 years ago. And to this day, it means everything to me. At a young age, I became fascinated with the design and construction process, accompanying my father on numerous trips to project sites around the country. I realized my career ambition was to transform urban distressed environments and promote diversity within the AEC industry, and through our new structure, we are equipped more than ever to be an integral part of transforming communities.”
We believe the best way to build strong communities is by connecting to the people that learn, live, and work there.
Transforming Communities Through Integrated Design & Construction Excellence
Since 1980, KAI has transformed communities across the country by prioritizing diverse perspectives.
Our mission isn’t just to design and build beautiful structures, it’s to improve the lives of people who use them.
We are determined to challenge the status quo, providing insights and innovation that improve underserved communities and provide solutions that help people achieve their very best.
We invest in our people and processes – continuously improving for better outcomes. Our workforce is driven by our core values of serving others, listening to understand, giving back, loving one another and hustling. We bring empathy, respect, honesty, efficiency and open minds to each project and each other.
Meet the people helping lead the way.
Darren L. James, FAIA
President of KAI Enterprises
“At KAI, we share a common purpose—to help our clients, employees and communities progress. And through our recent restructure, we are uniquely positioned to deliver on our promise of transforming communities through integrated design and construction excellence. As a leader at KAI, I look forward to continuing our strong reputation for quality, growth, stability and innovation.”
Michael E. Kennedy, Sr.
“For me, KAI became my life’s work and my legacy. I have been blessed to be able to pass the business along to my oldest son, Michael Kennedy, Jr. to create his legacy. Founding KAI has been one of the proudest accomplishments of my life, but it pales in comparison to being able to work on a daily basis with my son to grow the family business. That has been one of the best experiences of my life.”
Brad Simmons, FAIA
“After a three-decade journey successfully growing and leading a significant global buildings business, I was at a career crossroads. I intuitively felt I was ripe for a different platform—and my next career chapter. KAI presented a unique opportunity to get back to my roots, work hands-on with community projects and serve as a catalyst to drive this already successful business enterprise to new growth plateaus. I knew the KAI culture and values, had a productive history with the leadership team and was impressed with the collective vision for the next evolution of KAI. It was a perfect storm for me and a great alignment of chemistry and mutual respect.”
Bruce Wood, PE
President of KAI 360 CS & KAI Build
“What has always drawn me to KAI is the supportive, cohesive environment. And it’s more than just the culture, it’s the experience. Within the 360 CS group, we help and protect each other, and everyone plays a key role in our success. We are more than just a team, we are a family.”
Larry Pijut, AIA
Vice President - Architecture & Engineering
“Successful projects combine an artful elegance, a simplicity of approach, technical excellence and a clear process for delivery. KAI offers a comprehensive platform that aligns project management, architecture, engineering and construction capabilities in a powerful bundle. We are able to leverage the KAI toolbox as a total project delivery podium—or tailor the resources and apply in discreet special service offerings for our clients. The result is a delivery process that is not simply a loose collection of milestones and tasks, but instead a systematic drive of interdisciplinary coordination, best practices and collaborative dynamic tension (debate). KAI exudes these attributes with every client experience, and I count myself lucky to be part of the implementation.”
Amanda Schwane, MSA
Vice President of Finance & Controller
“It’s clear KAI is dedicated to doing what is best for their clients, their partners and employees, and its diverse culture is one of a kind in this industry. The organization is a special blend of talent, passion, and support resulting in success for everyone involved. The versatility of our corporate structure allows us to be flexible to the varying needs of our diverse clientele. From a finance perspective, it also insulates us from the natural ebbs and flows of the AEC market and opens doors for continued investment in value-creating opportunities. It’s an exciting time in the evolution of KAI and I look forward to the new challenges that come with a growing company.”
Kristin Copeland, PHR
Director of People & Culture
“I am honored to be leading the Human Resources efforts at KAI. Our employees are the heart of our company. They are passionate about what they do and are committed to the work of transforming communities. Our focus is to attract and retain smart and talented employees, and foster a culture where employees feel engaged, valued and supported. I enjoy building relationships with employees at all levels and working together to make our company an even better place to work.”
Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity & Inclusion is key to who we are. We are a Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), and it’s embedded in our processes and procedures. We believe that diverse perspectives and backgrounds bring strength to our work in both our daily operations and our final product. As a minority-owned firm, we feel it’s important to advocate for inclusive communities, and we are committed to diversity in our workforce, clients and projects.
At KAI, giving back is built in.
We’re dedicated to creating lasting, positive changes in the places where we live and work, both in and outside of the office.See Community Projects
Our mission isn’t just to design and build beautiful structures, it’s to improve the lives of people who use them. We believe that giving back to our communities is key to making lasting changes and giving our employees opportunities to give back their time is essential.
Operation Clean Sweep—an initiative organized through Better Family Life in an effort to clean up and beautify run-down communities we serve; St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness annual FamiliesROC—a 5k and 1-mile benefit run/walk very near and dear to the hearts of our employees; Big Brothers Big Sisters—an organization we’ve actively been involved with for more than 20 years and encourage our employees to participate in. These are just a few examples of recent volunteer opportunities we’ve committed to.
At KAI, Transforming Communities is about supporting each other and helping those in need. Our people don't just give their financial support, they dedicate their time and talents to support organizations of all shapes and sizes.Learn More
Join our team
We build career paths too.
Join a team of professionals who are passionate about creating innovation and impact in spaces across the country.See Open Positions