Recent KAI new hire Chris Upton, AIA brings a unique perspective to his position as Education Practice Leader in the firm’s Dallas-Fort Worth office, having previously managed construction for Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in Grapevine, Texas.

“Coming from the owner’s side of the table, I understand the unique issues and perspectives of educators trying to design a new facility,” said Upton. “I can relate to them because I have been in their shoes. My previous position at a local school district helps me to better connect to the building needs of our clients and to meet the demands placed on staff members to transform a community.”

In his new role, Upton will focus as a practice leader in the educational market and directly lead major projects and programs. He is responsible for comprehensively managing client relationships, driving design delivery and ensuring quality performance and successful business results.

“My passion is through building relationships, whether it be with clients so they know they can count on me to be their trusted advisor when they are faced with an issue or with staff through mentorship to help guide the next generation of architects,” said Upton.

Upton has nearly 20 years of industry experience. Prior to KAI, Upton was Senior Program Construction Manager for Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in Grapevine, Texas; Studio Leader for Toll Brothers in Grapevine, Texas and Architectural Project Manager for Parkhill Smith & Cooper in Midland, Texas. He also previously worked briefly for KAI as a Senior Project Manager.

“KAI is delighted to have Chris join our KAI team as Principal and Senior Project Manager in our Dallas-Fort Worth business. He is already well-known within KAI from a previous stint several years ago and our team enthusiastically welcomes his return. Chris brings a unique perspective to KAI after successfully spending the last several years as a client design and construction leader for a large, local school district,” said KAI Managing Partner Brad Simmons. “This valuable insight coupled with Chris’s two decades of industry experience offers a differentiator for our KAI clients and will increase our ability to create great projects and exceed client expectations. Chris is an outstanding culture fit at KAI and is a key building block for our next growth plateau.”

Upton has a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Texas Tech University and attended Midland College for Pre-Engineering. He is a Licensed Architect in the states of Colorado, Utah, Washington and Texas.

Upton’s volunteer experience includes Board Member of the West Texas Food Bank for the past 10 years and membership in the Rotary Club of Trophy Club, Texas where he resides with his wife Brandi and their three daughters and son. Upton is also a past Vice President, President and Chapter Director and current member of the West Texas Chapter of The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

In his spare time, Upton enjoys cars, barbecuing and watching action and historical movies.