Asha Perez

KAI Interior Designer Asha Perez to Moderate Panel Discussion at Design Connections Industry Event


Award winning KAI Interior Designer Asha Perez has been selected to moderate a panel discussion Feb. 13 at the Design Connections event in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The 6th annual industry event brings leading suppliers together with the nation’s top architectural and design professionals for 2.5 days of networking and information sharing.

Perez will introduce and moderate general session presentation: “The Experienced Designer & Emerging Professional” scheduled for 8-9 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13. Participants in the panel discussion will include:

  • Michelle Clark, Senior Associate at Rees Associates
  • McKenzie Gamez, Interior Designer at Rees Associates
  • Patrick Burke, Principal at Michael Graves Architecture & Design
  • Austin Crowley, Architectural Designer at Michael Graves Architecture & Design

The panel discussion will focus on bringing together generations as a necessity for successful project design. Two design teams, including an experienced designer and an emerging professional, will discuss the importance and usage of mentor/mentee relationships within the field of design and architecture and within the context of each respective firm. Communicating effectively with an emerging professional while working to meet deadlines can be challenging even for the experienced mentor; the panel will share some of their most effective communication techniques.

Additional discussion topics will include the importance of technology for emerging professionals, balancing the need to learn and participate in the design process with more experienced design leadership, and ways to accomplish “knowledge share” across a design firm.

Additional panel discussion learning objectives:

  • Understand the need and benefit for mentor/mentee relationships.
  • Explore ways of educating both experienced and emerging professionals to benefit positive project outcomes.
  • Explore balancing technology knowledge with creative design process.
  • Share the most important reasons for successful knowledge sharing and breaking down silos.

Perez actively mentors to college students in her community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the ACE Mentor Program of St. Louis, an organization that helps young people in St. Louis City high schools learn about careers in architecture, engineering and construction.

“I am excited to be part of this particular panel discussion because I truly value and support mentorship,” said Perez. “Throughout my career as an interior designer, I have learned the most valuable information outside the classroom, where I have gained real-world knowledge and experience through the various mentors who I have been fortunate enough to work with. I also see the value in being able to pass my experiences on to others through mentoring. This panel discussion is invaluable for anyone in the design industry, from the novice to the seasoned professional, who wants to learn the ins and outs of mentoring.”

For more information about Design Connections, visit

KAI Enterprises is a national design and build firm providing delivery-oriented building solutions with a diverse portfolio of experience, in-house multi-discipline professionals, and expertise in both design and construction delivery. KAI Enterprises is comprised of four distinct business units—KAI Design, KAI Engineering, KAI Build and KAI 360 Construction Services. To learn more about KAI, visit


KAI Interior Designer Asha Perez Named to 2018 “Women Who Inspire” List by Delux Magazine


Delux Magazine, a St. Louis-based magazine for African American professionals, has selected KAI Interior Designer Asha Perez to its inaugural list of “Women Who Inspire.” The award recognizes local influential women who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields as it relates to community involvement and engagement.

Fifty honorees named to the list will be recognized at a July 29 event at The Wild Carrot in St. Louis’ Shaw neighborhood. KAI President Michael Kennedy, Jr. has been selected as one of the award presenters.

“Asha is passionate about her work and that passion is infectious to those who work with her and to her clients,” said Kennedy, Jr. “Everyone knows that she cares and wants to exceed expectations. This attitude and drive always leads to personal success, the kind of success that inspires others. I am happy to see her being recognized for her efforts at work, and in the community.”

A transplant from Miami, FL, Perez earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Maryville University in St. Louis, MO and was hired by KAI in 2014. She serves on the Board of Directors for the ACE Mentor Program of St. Louis, a program that helps the city’s high school students learn more about potential careers in architecture, engineering and construction; and she is Vice President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) St. Louis chapter. In addition, Perez provides one-on-one mentorship through KAI to area high school students interested in interior design. She also organizes/participates in panel discussions through Art in Design, KAI’s art initiative which strives to connect local artists with clients and decision-makers by giving them a platform to have their art placed prominently within design projects.

Fueled by a passion for the industry that she calls an art-form, Perez’s comprehensive designs speak to those who occupy the spaces she creates through her unique ability to deliver results based on client-driven solutions. Perez has served as lead designer on the following projects: Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being in St. Louis; office renovations for Alberici Corporation subsidiaries Hillsdale Fabricators and Kienlen Constructors in St. Louis; Northwest High School in Omaha; and People’s Health Center in St. Louis.

“I am elated to be part of the inaugural class to receive this award honoring St. Louis’ most inspiring women,” said Perez. “Being a role model and sharing my experiences with young people who are considering a career in the industry is as much a part of my job as designing. It’s an aspect of my career that I take seriously and really enjoy at the same time.”

KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through client collaboration, the latest technology, proprietary processes and individual expertise. For more information about KAI Design & Build, visit or call 314-241-8188.