Matt’s creativity is imprinted all over Siouxland, from schools, libraries, and banks to a large event center. Community pride energizes him to design efficient, sustainable, and beautifully aesthetic environments.
How did you decide on your career path?
As a kid, I always liked figuring out how to make things. I would have an idea for something like a birdhouse or ramp for my bike, draw a picture of it and then go find some scrap wood in the garage and build it. When I got into high school, I was able to take architectural drawing classes. We had an assignment to draw our dream house. That’s when I knew.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Working with clients to determine their needs at the very beginning of the project is exciting, because the options are wide open. Seeing the end result when a project is completed is also very special. So…. my favorite part is the very beginning and very end.
How are you creating vibrant communities through design?
We’re impacting the community by understanding the client’s vision and then applying our design process to make their needs, thoughts and dreams a reality.
What makes Siouxland a great place to live?
Sioux City is my hometown and continues to be a great place to live. Being able to make a difference in your hometown is awesome.
Family: Wife Theresa and two children.
Pet: D.O.G. Daisy.
College Mascot: Cy.
Spirit Animal: Elephant.
Bucket List: Italy (again). Alaska. Iconic golf courses.
Book: Sidney Sheldon novels.
Binge: Star Wars.
Irrational Fear: Snakes.
Rational Fear: Gluten.
First Car: Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Siouxland Sir Magazine | Written By Jenna Rehnstrom-Liberto
2022: You might notice it as you find your seat at a concert or Musketeers game. Or maybe at elementary school drop-off or during a trip to the bank. Matt Basye’s creativity is imprinted on every corner of the Sioux City community, his designs as varied as the purpose of the buildings themselves.
Matt, a licensed architect, was recently named by stockholders a vice president of FEH Design, the firm he joined in 1996. As vice president, Matt’s role will expand to include executive board leadership as he continues to serve as a principal designer for the firm.
It’s that role that’s given Matt the opportunity to design recognizable pieces of the Sioux City metro area: the Tyson Events Center, Briar Cliff University’s Stark Student Center and Siouxland Federal Credit Union in South Sioux City and Dakota Dunes.
For this self-described “Sioux City boy,” an East High graduate who spent time in Iowa City and Austin, Minnesota before returning home, it’s work in education that feels as ingrained in him as the community itself.
“I’m very proud of all the work that we do, but educational design is particularly gratifying,” Matt shares. “Education has always been something I’ve been interested in. I come from a family of teachers, so I understand that world. Coming back here and being able to work on projects that impact, not only my own kids, but children in general, has been one of the most rewarding things about the job.”
Between designing the Sioux City Community School District’s Spalding Park, Loess Hills, Morningside, Leeds and Hunt Elementary Schools and renovation projects for many other district buildings, Matt and FEH Design have touched almost every school in the community. For Matt, this work spans more than 25 years, evolving recently into some of his newest projects designing the Career Academy and VIBE Academy Virtual School spaces inside the downtown campus, as well as a future Construction Trades building at Harry Hopkins Center off Highway 75.
The impact isn’t lost on Matt’s family – his wife, Theresa, is a familiar face at the Sioux City Public Museum, serving as its curator of education for over 20 years. The couple’s teenagers, Nathan and Lauryn, are students at North High School, and Matt chuckles at the juxtaposition of being a “Raider at heart” while he cheers for the Stars.
School loyalties aside, it’s the collective community pride that energizes Matt in his profession. He points to that as a differentiator in the way collaboration happens in a place like Sioux City.
“What I find interesting and valuable – what gets me up in the morning – is that when we do projects in a city our size, the people involved really care about what you’re doing. It’s personal,” says Matt. “When we do these projects, a lot of planning goes into them. We’re very thoughtful, and we talk to a lot of different people with different ideas and different perspectives.”
That includes collaboration in the community and within the firm itself. The formerly small FEH Matt began his career with has grown to four offices and almost 50 employees. It has evolved over time, he says, but stayed true to its roots as a local company with a local focus. And in a day and age where employee turnover can be a source of stress for companies of all sizes, as well as their clients, FEH Design prides itself on attracting talent that stays put.
“FEH Design has made a point to keep employees,” Matt adds. “We have a lot of people who have been here a long time and pass along their experience to new team members. We’re family here.”
It’s not surprising then that, although he didn’t predict a future back in Sioux City as a young architect just starting out, Matt is now firmly planted in the city’s architectural story. This next chapter for both, promising to be one of opportunity, creativity and growth.
“I decided to go into architecture because I always liked figuring out how to design and make things as a kid,” says Matt.
“It’s been quite a ride for 26 years.”