Suzanne Schulz, Urban Planning practice leader at Progressive AE has achieved the planning profession’s highest honor by being named to the prestigious American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows for her outstanding achievements in urban planning.

“We are very proud of Suzanne and applaud this professional recognition,” said President and CEO Brad Thomas. “Her gifts in planning, placemaking, and her overall attentiveness to our clients and their communities are valued assets to our firm.”

Fellowship is granted to planners who have achieved certification through the American Planning Association’s professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and possess excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research, public and community service, and leadership. Invitations to join the College of Fellows come after a thorough nomination and review process, ensuring the candidate has had a positive, long-lasting impact on the planning profession.

“Individuals who make up the College of Fellows are the true leaders of the planning profession,” said past AICP President Valerie Hubbard, FAICP. “These individuals have made lasting contributions to the profession and have inspired generations of new planners. They are truly awe-inspiring.”

Schulz has nearly 30 years’ experience and an extensive background in urban planning, transportation planning, and policy development. She served as the Managing Director of Design and Development and the Director of Planning for the City of Grand Rapids for nearly 20 years. During that time she was extensively involved in project management for community-led processes, including the City of Grand Rapids Master Plan, Green Grand Rapids, Vital Streets Plan and Design Guidelines, Michigan Street Corridor Plan, and Zone Grand Rapids – a complete overhaul of the City’s 1969 zoning ordinance.

“Suzanne builds cities,” said Transportation Practice Leader and colleague Chris Zull. “What Grand Rapids is today has been significantly influenced by the 2002 master plan. Suzanne is a change agent who brings everyone along in the process, and she does a wonderful and gracious job of challenging and visioning alongside institutions, developers, communities, non-profits, schools, and individuals from all walks of life. Suzanne believes everybody has a voice, and her genuine spirit and interest successfully allows them to share, making better projects for everyone.”

Schulz is one of 53 individuals selected nationally to be inducted into this year’s College of Fellows. Inductions are done biennially. This year’s formal induction will take place during APA’s National Planning Conference in San Diego, on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

About APA

APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science, and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. The American Institute of Certified Planners provides recognized leadership nationwide in the certification of professional planners, ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice. For more information, visit

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 and engineering services for nearly 60 years. The firm is a privately held, employee-owned company with offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, visit