Architecture firms merge


Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE helped design the Osprey dining hall at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. Photo via

A local architecture firm announced this morning that it expanded its presence outside of Michigan via a merger.

Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE, which operates a Muskegon office, said that it has merged with Charlotte, North Carolina-based ai Design Group to create a “stronger” and “more diverse” firm.

The firms will maintain their offices and retain their organizational names and leadership structures.

The combined firm will be headquartered in Grand Rapids, with ai Design Group identified as a Progressive AE company.

The combined firm has more than 200 employees and active projects in 48 states.

“This partnership is an opportunity to combine experience, increase diversity of thought, expand our geographic reach and share best practices to enhance the delivery of services to our clients nationwide,” Progressive AE President and CEO Bradley Thomas said. “It also comes at a time when both of our firms are in a position of strength, allowing us to accelerate our momentum together.”

The joint organization will offer “expertise” in a number of markets: health care, housing, industrial, education, retail, senior living, motorsports, hospitality, worship and automotive.

“Our two firms are very much aligned, both culturally and strategically,” ai Design Group Principal Wesley Jones said. “We’ve invested in the best talent, we share a client-centric approach based on relationships and customer service and we’re both highly committed to our local communities. It’s a natural fit and a great move for our staff and the regional and national clients we serve.”

Progressive AE

Progressive AE has provided design and engineering services to clients in West Michigan and nationwide for more than 50 years, including Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids.

Ai Design Group

Founded in 2003, ai Design Group has provided architecture and interior design services to clients across the U.S., including the headquarters for MetLife’s U.S. retail division and Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Media Center.

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