Behind every brand is a passionate and motivated leader. For URBANEER™, it’s Bruce Thompson, president and cofounder of the space-solutions company.
The road to URBANEER™ came with many adventures for Bruce. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, he ended up moving 15 times, in five states and four countries to pursue education and opportunities in the tech industry. His home base, however, was always Grand Rapids. He received his bachelor’s degree at Aquinas College and went on to receive a master’s degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
The first half of his career was spent in the tech industry in California, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Europe, during which he focused on commercializing innovation for both established and start-up companies. Along the way, Bruce realized there was an emerging need for innovation in the spaces we use every day. The world was seeing big changes socially, economically and technologically that was both driving a need for change and creating new market opportunities.
He eventually moved back to Grand Rapids, for his career and the kind of lifestyle offered in West Michigan. Initially he taught at Aquinas College as an adjunct professor in sustainable business innovation and launched Rockford Berge/RC Logistics as a partner with Rockford Construction. He went on to become a shareholder in Rockford Construction and served as its chief strategy officer, which gave him the opportunity to launch Rockford Ventures with Mike VanGessel in 2013. The two realized that the changing world really requires a different way to design, construct and occupy space and needed a leader in bringing innovative solutions to the marketplace. URBANEER™ grew out of Rockford Ventures and eventually became a stand-alone company with Bruce at its helm in 2015.
Being launched from Rockford gave URBANEER™ a unique positioning in its field. Bruce and his colleagues have a firm understanding of the spaces they innovate, thanks to years of hands-on experience at Rockford. Bruce also utilized networking within the West Michigan community and connecting with architectural and design experts internationally to spread the word about URBANEER™.
In May, Bruce will combine work and play when he breaks ground on his new home in Heritage Hill, Grand Rapids. Naturally, the new home will be completely URBANEERed™, which will make the 1,200-square-foot Heritage Hill house feel much larger. The family is significantly downsizing from their 4,500-square-foot house in East Grand Rapids and needed to make every square foot count with the new space. They knew URBANEER™ could accommodate their space needs.
The Thompson family will install movable walls, which will convert a room into an extra bedroom, office or dining room. An URBANEER Murphy bed will be installed on the second floor, as well as a folding table. These installations will be able to maximize space within the house, as well as give the house the ability to transform as needed.
In addition to implementing URBANEER™ into his home life, Bruce likes to give back to the community by using his rich experience to teach and mentor young designers and entrepreneurs. He is driven to create new ventures and initiatives in unestablished markets and hopes to provide space solutions to a number of sectors in the future.
In his free time, Bruce enjoys biking, skiing and going on walks.