KAI Enterprises announced the hiring of Brad Simmons, FAIA, to the new position of Managing Partner. Simmons is a recognized and respected leader in the industry with more than 35 years of regional, national and global experience.
Simmons had worked collaboratively with KAI on joint projects for the past 20 years through his former employer, Jacobs, and predecessor company, Sverdrup. “He is a distinguished and exciting addition to the design-build firm,” said KAI Enterprises CEO Michael Kennedy, Jr.
“We didn’t want to settle for just anyone in this new position,” said Kennedy. “We needed a proven closer, a person who could be a catalyst to recruit top talent across our multiple disciplines, promote business growth and drive culture and practice development. Brad is that person.”
As Managing Partner, Simmons will collaborate daily with Kennedy, KAI Enterprises President Darren L. James, FAIA and the leadership team on market positioning, industry partnerships, major project pursuits, managing new clients, hiring key employees and strategic business direction.
In addition, Simmons will provide oversight to the company’s professional services portfolio and directly lead the Architecture & Engineering business as President of KAI Design. Simmons will divide his time between KAI’s offices in St. Louis, Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta.
“After a nearly three-decade journey growing a significant global buildings business at Jacobs, it was time for a pause,” Simmons said. “I took a six-month ‘life sabbatical’ to reflect and determine what a next career chapter might look like. 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 and was impressed with Michael’s vision for the next evolution of KAI. It was a perfect storm for me—and a great alignment of chemistry and mutual respect.”
Simmons joined Sverdrup in 1990 where he worked as a Project Manager, Principal and Vice President. In 1999, Jacobs acquired Sverdrup and he served in a wide range of senior leadership roles at the regional, national and global level, including General Manager for Jacobs’ Americas Buildings & Infrastructure business and as a member of the Building, Infrastructure & Advance Facilities global management leadership team.
Simmons took an early retirement from Jacobs in May 2019, where he held the title of Global Vice President – Built Environment. As the senior executive leader, he was responsible for growth and strategy, industry thought leadership, executive project sponsorship with key client accounts, senior customer relationships and attracting and developing top organization talent. Jacobs’ Built Environment business provided a full range of planning, design and construction services to a diverse mix of public and private sector clients around the globe.
A licensed architect, Simmons earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University in 1984 and has been a member of the Texas A&M College of Architecture Advisory Board for nearly two decades. He is a 1998 graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture recognized Simmons’ professional contributions by bestowing him with the Outstanding Alumni Award in 2007.
Simmons was elected to the prestigious AIA College of Fellows in 2000, becoming one of the youngest architects honored in the organization’s over 150-year history. From 2000-2003, he served on the National Board of Directors for the American Institute of Architects and served as National Chair of the AIA’s 2005 National Convention in Las Vegas. In 2006, his peers at the American Institute of Architects of Missouri honored him with the AIA Missouri Distinguished Service Award for a career of leadership and commitment to the profession. He was also Jacobs’ Executive/CEO representative to the AIA’s Large Firm Roundtable for the past several years.
Simmons has been an active community leader, having served four terms (1991-99) on the City of Shrewsbury’s Board of Alderman. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Municipal League from 1994 to 1999. He is a 1995 graduate of Leadership St. Louis and was named one of the Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young St. Louisans that same year. In 1996, he was named by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of the “40 Under 40." In 1999, he graduated from the Leadership Missouri program. He also served from 1994 until 2001 on the Board of Directors for Scenic Missouri and is a past member of both the FOCUS St. Louis Board and the Epworth (Children’s) Board.
Simmons is married to Dr. Michelle Simmons, an educator with the Kirkwood School District, and has three grown children, Sidney, Sloane and Tyler. An avid boater, Simmons spends as much time as possible at his family’s vacation home on Table Rock Lake.