In 1998 URBANEER founders Bruce & Brenda Thompson moved to Europe, where their perspective of the home and urban living shifted drastically. In Munich, they were introduced to compact living and portable kitchens; in Barcelona, they experienced a compact, walkable and community rich urban living experience for the first time; and in Germany they saw how compact luxury automobiles were re-imagined, not just downsized versions of their larger counterparts.
Inspired, Bruce and Brenda began thinking about how living spaces could be impacted by technology, urban migration, and social trends. After returning to the U.S. they realized that the last century has been characterized by addition: larger homes, faster cars, and more stuff. They saw that it had yielded many fruits, but it had also created a culture and economy that values growth for growth’s sake.
Today, we are in an era of increasing urban density, shrinking living spaces, and a stagnant construction industry. We are also in an exciting era of innovation that has the potential to radically transform how and where we live. URBANEER wants to help people realize the New American Dream, where growth promotes happy, responsible, meaningful lives. In this dream, the homes that we build and the products we produce are designed to improve lives and the planet, not merely bottom lines. In this dream, technology and innovation allow people to use less, thereby simplifying their lives and cutting down their environmental footprints, while improving the quality of their lives.
If you are interested in bringing your space into the 21st century, contact us and find out what we can do for you.
Our team brings brings together decades of experience
in the development, technology, architectural, and other industries.
Bruce Thompson has a long career vigorously building and growing technology companies. Bruce’s has worked on corporate development for a host of groundbreaking companies such as MCI Telecommunications, where he helped launched the first large scale e-commerce service, and Proxicom, an Internet systems integration firm that grew from $8M to over $220M. Among other positions, Bruce was a partner in MAPA Group, a Washington D.C. based business development firm that helped launched alternative energy and green building initiatives. Most recently, Bruce served as VP of Corporate Development at Rockford Construction, where he met URBANEER cofounder Mike VanGessel. Bruce has lived in three countries and five states, but proudly resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife and two sons.
Cofounder Mike VanGessel brings thirty years of real estate development, construction, and management to the URBANEER team. Mike is best known as a founding partner of Rockford Construction, one of the Top 400 Contractors in the nation that has completed 4,200 projects totaling more than $3.8 billion. Mike is a Grand Rapids native with strong ties to the community and serves on many corporate and nonprofit boards. He is also a frequently requested speaker in the community and helps many organizations with capital campaigns and strategic planning.