Progressive AE

Progressive AE and Design Pros to Merge

Two of West Michigan's premiere design firms, Progressive AE and Design Plus, announced they have merged to create one of the area's largest full-service design firms specializing in architecture, engineering and interior design. The combined entity brings together two respected and growing market leaders with nearly 85 years of experience, more than 150 full-time professionals and annual revenues of more than $25 million.  Financial details of the merger were not disclosed.

The combined company, which will be headquartered in Progressive AE's 50,000-square-foot office located at 1811 4 Mile Road in Grand Rapids, will retain the Progressive AE name. The company will be led by Progressive AE's President and CEO Bradley Thomas, with a bolstered leadership team that will include senior members of the Design Plus team. 

Progressive AE and Design Plus previously partnered on projects and began discussions over the past year about the benefits of a merger. With common values, mutual commitments to community, a shared focus on responsible design and sustainability, and a core belief that design solutions should respond to and help drive their client's business results, the principles of both firms ultimately determined they would be stronger together.

"We have long had great respect for the work of the Design Plus team, and we're excited to now come together with them as one firm, combining our talented professionals and our distinct and complementary skill sets," said Thomas. "The merger will benefit current and future clients as we come together to share our resources, talent and best practices, resulting in improved processes, agility, greater efficiencies, a deeper pool of talented professionals and the ability to handle design projects large or small, local or national, with professionals registered in the 48 contiguous states."  

This merger will pave the way for the newly expanded firm to establish a stronger national practice by leveraging the distinct and complementary strengths of each partner. Progressive AE brings the offerings of a national full-service design firm with a diverse portfolio and significant depth of expertise in multiple industries and service offerings. Industries served include healthcare, education, workplace, non-profit, government, retail and manufacturing. Design Plus is an industry leader in design and the use of cutting-edge technology, such as 3D building modeling, and has developed a strong niche in the area of student housing and dining projects, as well as expertise in higher education, developer partnerships, public and non-profit markets. Both firms have successfully established long-term, loyal client relationships through their creative approach, and high level of service.

"We are thrilled to become one team with our peers at Progressive AE at a time when both firms are in a position of strength and in a period of growth, with multiple active projects and new opportunities on the horizon," said Craig Nicely, senior architect and principal of Design Plus. "We have great admiration for Progressive AE's entire staff and leadership team, strong national practice, design leadership, and focus on personalized service and commitment to giving back in our local community, all of which are ideal complements to Design Plus and what we hold in high regard. We're excited about what the future holds as we begin this next phase together as a larger, stronger firm."

Progressive AE and Design Plus have both been honored with numerous awards for their work and boast a long list of respected and recognizable local projects, including;

  • Progressive AE: Grand Rapids DeVos Place Convention Center, Bissell Tree House at John Ball Zoo, The Rapid's Wealthy Street Operations Center and Central Station, Steelcase WorkLab, Blodgett Hospital addition, MLive Community Media Hubs, and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
  • Design Plus: GVSU Campus Master Plan, Pew Campus Richard M. DeVos Center, Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Hope Lodge, Beacon Hill, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Kent County Recycling Center, Kent County Human Services Complex, Grand Rapids Ballet, Grand Rapids Art Museum (first Gold certified LEED art museum in the nation), as well as over 20,000 beds of student housing.