Progressive AE is committed to regenerative, climate-responsive design practices and offering our expertise to clients, communities, and professionals to maximize positive impact in our industry. To support these efforts, we have hired Matthew VanSweden, LFA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, as Progressive AE’s Sustainability Lead.

Matthew is a nationally recognized thought leader and subject matter expert in climate justice and regenerative design. He has 20 years’ experience working within the architectural and engineering field, helping clients and project teams to relentlessly pursue good and reach their sustainability goals. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Collaborative Design from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

In this role, Matthew will be responsible for advancing sustainability and decarbonizing our national design practice while introducing regenerative design frameworks and engaging our clients and project teams to create value through insight and creativity. He will also focus on education, regenerative design thought leadership, and promoting design excellence, in sustainability and beyond. Matthew will be an integral part of the firm’s Sustainability Green Team, setting firmwide sustainability action plan, developing regenerative design goals and strategy, leading decarbonization efforts, and supporting progress in our AIA 2030 commitment.

“Matthew’s empathic nature allows him to connect with team members and clients on a deeper level, fostering a sense of understanding and collaboration,” says Director of Design Bryan Koehn. “His knowledge and expertise will bring valuable insights to our projects, ensuring that we approach challenges with a well-informed and strategic mindset. As a leader, he inspires and motivates, creating an environment where innovation can flourish—Welcome, Matthew!”

Prior to coming to Progressive AE, Matthew was the Managing Director of the Building Performance Team at Foresight Management, a sustainability consulting firm specializing in energy management, decarbonization, sustainability reporting, energy audits, and much more. He also spent almost fifteen years as the Director of Sustainability for an architectural firm.

“Much of my professional career path has been defined by relentlessly pursuing meaningful opportunities to leave a lasting and positive impact–on the profession, its value chain, and on my community,” Matthew said. “When evaluating the opportunity this role provides, it felt that the totality of my professional career path was preparing me for this work at this moment here at Progressive AE. Continuing the long legacy of sustainability here while constantly reimagining what good looks like across such a large community of practice, rooted in empathy, our shared humanity, and curiosity, is thrilling. It feels like work that I have been made to do.”

We are excited to welcome Matthew to the Progressive AE team and look forward to his leadership, insight, and innovation as we continue to pursue positive impacts and serve our clients.

About Progressive AE

Progressive AE’s workforce is a unique blend of creative people who think strategically, and strategic people who work creatively. The firm is guided by a fundamental and forward-thinking philosophy, Performance Based Design, which is a commitment to driving organizational performance for clients. Progressive AE has provided innovative and sustainable architectural, engineering, and design consulting services for over 60 years. The firm is a privately held, employee-owned company with offices in Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan and Charlotte, North Carolina.