KAREN KIRKS ALEXANDER, President, Lead Architect
Karen Kirks Alexander founded KKA Architecture, PA in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1988, and has served as President since. She is a recipient of the Gertrude S. Carraway Award from Preservation North Carolina for a body of historical preservation projects in Salisbury over the last decade. These projects also garnered her the esteemed Edward Clement Cup from the Historic Salisbury Foundation. Her projects have been published in numerous national magazines, including a cover of House Beautiful, and Better Homes and Gardens. Karen’s project, The Center for the Environment building on the campus of Catawba College, also in Salisbury, is the subject of the PBS documentary “Environmental Partners.” She also received the AIA-Charlotte Honor Design Award and the AIA-Charlotte Merit Award for Sustainable Design for her work as well as a National Design Award on the same project. Several recent medical, civic and historic preservation projects won Salisbury Community Appearance Awards from the City of Salisbury, and Historic Preservation Awards from the Salisbury Historic Preservation Foundation.
A graduate of the College of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Masters of Architecture, Karen now serves as a Trustee on the UNCC Foundation Board. She is a past President of AIA-Charlotte, and Board Director of AIA-North Carolina. She has served on the Board of Visitors of Livingstone College and the Development Council of Hood Theological Seminary. She was honored as the Second Annual Bishop James Walker Hood Humanitarian Award recipient for service to the community. She also serves on the UNCC College of Architecture Advisory Board and Appalachian State Architecture Technology Advisory Board.
Karen is the Secretary of the Board of the Salisbury Community Development Corporation, where she has provided pro bono designs for affordable houses that fit the neighborhood vernacular for first time homebuyers in the Salisbury neighborhoods of Jersey City, West End and Park Avenue. For this work, she was awarded the Sister Barbara Sullivan Humanitarian Award for North Carolina.
She volunteers her expertise in creating a more livable and sustainable community. Karen has worked tirelessly in supporting positive initiatives that protect and support the most vulnerable in our community, regardless of race, gender, or age, advocating for accountability and respect to all. Karen was profiled in the Business Journal and a Business Journal Women in Business winner in 2014.
Her passion, a specialty area of her practice, is consulting with, acting as expert witness for, and designing projects for special needs clients. Starting with the creation of a special and safe place for an autistic child over a decade ago, Karen has consulted on and designed projects across the region from the mountains to the coast, for all ages and types of victims, ranging from accident victims, medical malpractice victims, to those born with special conditions.
As an avid civic leader, she served as Chair of the Salisbury Historic Preservation Commission, and chair of the Salisbury Planning Board. In January 2013, Karen was appointed by the Mayor and City Council to fill an open seat of the Salisbury City Council, where she was re-elected by the community that fall to a full two-year term. In the fall of 2015, Karen was re-elected to the Salisbury City Council, receiving the most votes in the election, and being chosen by her peers as the 41st Mayor of Salisbury. She will serve in this role until the fall of 2017.
When not serving her community, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Henry, her son, Daniel, and his family, especially her two grandchildren, Isabella and Mason. Of course, Elijah, her 5-pound Yorkie is her constant companion and a special member of the family.
JEREMY GARDNER, Administrative Assistant & Office Manager
Jeremy Gardner began working with KKA Architecture, PA in May, 2013 following his graduation from Catawba College with a Bachelors in Political Science. He is currently enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in the Masters of Public Administration program, with interest in pursuing further work for the people following the program.
Jeremy plays many roles with KKA Architecture, where no two days are the same. He manages the Heritage Room, our 2,300 square foot event venue, used for weddings, birthday parties, meetings and dances.