By Candace Carlisle

LPA Inc., an architecture firm based in Irvine, California, recently entered the Dallas-Fort Worth market, and it plans to build a 50-person office in North Texas in the next few years.

"We are in the process of growing our local presence and we are in the process of hiring," Craig Drone, principal of LPA Inc. and leader of the new Dallas office, told the Dallas Business Journal.

Craig Drone will lead the new Dallas-Fort Worth office as it looks to build a 50-employee operation.

Drone and his team are working with Frank McCafferty of Savill Studley in Dallas to find an office in Uptown or along the Dallas North Tollway to accommodate at least 50 employees with room to grow.

Until a new Dallas office is found, Drone and his small team have set up shop within WeWork at 1920 McKinney Ave. in Uptown Dallas. This will be LPA's second office in Texas and its sixth office in the United States.

The opening of the Dallas office comes as North Texas is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States, Drone said.

"This market has been on our radar screen for a long time," Drone told the DBJ.

Mark Oppelt, the principal at the firm's San Antonio office, said revenue in the Texas office has nearly doubled in the last three years of operation and the decision to expand into a larger Texas market was a logical choice.

By expanding to North Texas, LPA will be well-positioned to grow the company's design markets in two of the largest regions of the Lone Star state.

Drone previously worked with Rockwall ISD, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Grayson College and Arlington ISD, among others. His experience makes him an ideal partner to launch the Dallas office, Oppelt said.

The design firm will kick off its design services in North Texas with its educational, civic, municipal and parks services, which will include architecture, interior design, engineering and landscape architecture.

Drone plans on using an integrated approach to design by "asking for everyone's input and involvement on day one so it runs more smoothly in the design process."

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