As a Principal and shareholder, Thomas leads a multi-disciplinary studio of designers and architects. His depth of experience enriches a strong design approach that is client-driven and seamlessly balances the design objectives with the client’s overall vision and, ultimately, a successful project. Employing this client service philosophy each and every time is reflected in the countless number of lasting business partnerships Thomas continues to serve today. Likewise, by empowering his studio team members with a true sense of ownership and freedom to innovate, the collaboration that is instilled throughout can be measured through each technician, designer and project manager’s dedication and work as well as the numerous award-winning projects over the years. Thomas also collaborates with human resources, mentors team members, and provides quality control of design and construction drawings.
He leads national, multi-unit hospitality brands spanning from fast casual icon Shake Shack to the global sports-driven entertainment leader, Topgolf. Local projects in the Chicagoland area include the Chicago Firehouse restaurant in the South Loop and the Park Grille at Millennium Park. Notable among the studio’s work are the Topgolf Houston, TX venue winner of the Landmark’s Award for design excellence, and the Topgolf Hillsboro, OR venue which won the excellence in concrete award from the American Concrete Institute. In 2017, Thomas accepted the International Interior Design Association Design Red Award for the studio’s One Fifty-One Restaurant and Bar in Elmhurst, IL.
Thomas joined Aria Group Architects, Inc. in 1992 and currently oversees 24 talented architectural and interior design studio team members. Thomas was a founding member of the Illinois Chapter of the National Children’s Cancer Society, a not-for-profit organization that provides financial support to families of children with cancer. He volunteers with Misericordia, an organization providing care and networking for people with disabilities. He also volunteers with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.