New On Board: IA Interior Architects and Kitchell Contractors Executives

Industry leaders bring experience to Hines College Leadership Council advisory group

The Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design celebrates the addition of two industry leaders to its Leadership Council. Established in 2013, the advisory group works with Dean Oliver to support and move forward the College’s strategic initiatives. Leadership Council members play an integral part in connecting industry and academia in order to best equip the College’s students with an education supporting their future professional careers.


Michelle Atkinson, IIDA
Managing Director and Principal, IA Interior Architects – Houston Office

Atkinson is the Managing Director and Principal for IA Interior Architects' Houston studio. She brings over 23 years of experience playing a leading role in strategic planning, managing, designing, administering, and negotiating a wide variety of project types. Atkinson and her team are responsible for the design of millions of square feet of different space types that have impacted and improved thousands of lives in the Houston community and beyond. Atkinson builds successful internal and external coalitions along with a studio culture stressing accountability and continuous improvement with measurable results. 

She is a licensed Interior Designer in the State of Texas, a member of IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter and NAIOP. The proud mother of two daughters, Atkinson enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and all things surrounding wellness.


Chris Kirch, LEED AP BD&C
Operations Manager – Texas Division, Kitchell Contractors, Inc.

Veteran industry leader Chris Kirch has worked through the ranks within his twenty-five-year construction tenure. Kirch started as a field laborer / intern while obtaining his degree from Northern Arizona University in Construction Management and progressively continued to grow his career. Spanning across four states, he has managed complex healthcare and higher education projects with Baylor Scott & White, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hermann Healthcare, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and the Texas State University System.

Kirch is an Executive Founding Board Member of the Lean Institute of Houston, a LEED-accredited building professional, and an executive board member with the American Heart Association as well as Vice President for Cyclist for a Cause, an organization benefiting MS research. He stays incredibly active in his free time as a husband to his wife Kristin and father of three children.