Work Culture

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.

  • Michael B. Kennedy, Jr.

    Chief Executive Officer

    “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.”

  • 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

    Managing Partner

    “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.”

  • Brian W. Arnold

    President of KAI Build

    KAI Build’s President has had a long, successful career in the commercial design and construction industry that has afforded him diverse experience spanning the healthcare, institutional, hospitality, housing, senior living and commercial markets. His 28 years of experience, with significant roles in preconstruction services and project operations, enables him to effectively serve your interests and provide leadership to our team.

  • Bruce Wood, PE

    President of KAI 360 CS

    “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.”

  • Cassie McMahill, SHRM-SCP

    HR Manager

    “We work hard so we can play hard. Our industry can be high-stress, so working for a company that understands that employees have lives outside of KAI and encourages them to live those lives is truly refreshing. KAI offers so many great things to its employees—leadership support, support and assistance on career advancement and education, flexibility, casual dress, company-sponsored events and the list goes on.”

  • Michelle Huber

    Vice President - Finance

    “The Culture at KAI feels like a family, which is one of the many positive attributes this organization provides. We always have one another’s backs, celebrating our wins together and lifting each other up even during our lows. Having a support system that understands their employee’s personal goals as well as their career goals has been both refreshing and reassuring. It’s this kind of family mentality that makes KAI shine.”

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are key to who we are. We are a 100% 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.

  • Projects
  • Volunteering
  • Organizations


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.

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We build career paths too.

Join a team of professionals who are passionate about creating innovation and impact in spaces across the country.

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