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Our Team

UNIVERSAL DESIGNERS & CONSULTANTS, INC solves each client’s issues by providing a comprehensive approach backed by our team of experienced professionals. Our process fosters collaboration and innovation to ensure we not only understand the core needs of clients, but also help them develop successfully. Read our success stories below.

Matt Tierney - Headshot_edited.jpg


President of Universal Designers & Consultants, Inc. (UD&C)

Matthew is a leading accessibility expert, licensed and award-winning architect, educator, and published researcher. He has over 15 years of extensive experience in the nuances of the 1991 and 2010 ADA Standards gained from leading projects on a wide array of facility types. He has led proactive consulting work for multinational corporations and conducted audits of existing facilities ranging from hospitality and retail, to public parks and transportation, to hospitals and private medical clinics.​ Having over a decade of industry leading experience with UD&C, he is an expert in ADA compliance surveys and reporting. Tierney has the ability to understand previous litigation and alternative compliance strategies while also providing actionable and clear guidance through UD&C's proprietary reporting format and extremely robust survey methodology. He brings strong leadership to UD&C's technical understanding of the 1991 and 2010 ADA Standards while also advocating the benefits of Universal Design where appropriate.

In addition to his experience leading UD&C, he has practiced architecture all around the world working with award-winning firms both large and small. He brings this wealth of practical architectural experience to provide clients with a unique perspective that is grounded in the way that buildings and public spaces are put together while finding solutions that satisfy the ADA Standards. His licensure and experience both in accessibility and traditional architectural practice provide clients with top level services in all aspects of accessibility and Universal Design.


  • Bachelor Science, Architecture - August 2009, University of Minnesota, College of Design, Minneapolis, MN 
  • Master of Architecture - June 2013, University of Oregon, College of Architecture and Allied Arts, Eugene, OR 

  • Master of Architectural Research Practices - August 2015, University of Minnesota, College of Design, Minneapolis, MN​

Professional Certifications and Affiliations:

  • Registered - Architect American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Registered - National Council of Architectural Registrations Board (NCARB)
  • SAP Disaster Assistance Trained Emergency Responder - CALOES
  • Minnesota Architectural Registration (MNAESLAGID)
  • American Institute of Architects National Disaster Assistance Committee Board Member (20-present)


• AIA National Disaster Assistance Committee – Contributing Author, Tierney, Matthew, AIA, 2020-2021. Disaster Assitance Handbook V4. American Institute of Architects. 2021.

• Muller, Brook. Blue Architectures: Water, Design, and Environmental Futures. UT Press - Select original drawings and collaborative text by Matthew Tierney, AIA. 2021.

• Tierney, Matthew, Muller, Brook. Drawing Water: Reflections on Fluid Graphics. 2020 ARCC/EAAE Valencia - Full Paper. 2020

• AIA National Disaster Assistance Committee – Contributing Author, Tierney, Matthew, AIA. AIA - COVID Reoccupancy Assessment Tool. American Institute of Architects. 2020.

• Tierney, Matthew. Hybrid Practice: Blending Research, Service, and Work. ARCC Toronto (2019) - Full Paper. 2019

• Tierney, Matthew - Contributing Essay Author. Building Research Practices. Applied Research and Design Publishing. 2019 (Forthcoming) 

• Tierney, Matthew. Snapshot Design Tool: An interactive tool for healthcare design in rural Kenya. Architecture Otherwhere Conference. UIA / International Union of Architects. Durban (2014). 

Awards and Recognition:

  • Ralph Rapson Travelling Study Fellowship Recipient - 2020
  • Cavin Family Traveling Fellowship 2019 - Finalist
  • AIA St. Paul Prize Winner - 2018
  • American Institute of Architects - MN Young Architects Award Recipient - 2018

  • American Society of Licensed Architects - Outstanding Achievement Award - 2015

  • Thomas Meyer Design Research Fellowship - 2014

  • Fibiger Design Research Award - Jan 2010  

  • Berkeley Big Ideas Competition Winner (1st Place-Global Poverty Alleviation) - 2010

  • UROP Grant Recipient - 2009



John Salmen is the founder of UD&C who has specialized in barrier free, accessible and Universal Design for more than 40 years. In 1991, he founded Universal Designers & Consultants Inc., as an accessibility consulting firm that specializes in the field of designing environments that enable use by people of all ages and abilities.

Salmen is recognized as one of the leading experts in the technical aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and an international leader in the field of Universal Design.  Salmen has authored several books including: Accessible Architecture, The Do-Able Renewable Home, Accommodating All Guests and Everyone’s Welcome, has co-authored Universal Design Tips-Lessoned Learned from Two UD Homes and published the internationally acclaimed newsletter Universal Design Newsletter from 1992 to 2013.  He has presented hundreds of Universal Design and accessibility seminars, as well as keynote addresses throughout North America and the Pacific Rim.

Salmen was a voting member of the International Code Council/American National Standards Institute (ICC/ANSI) A117 Committee for more than 20 years and he served on the Editorial and Scoping sub-committees for the A117.1 Standards for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.  UD&C represented the American Institute of Architects on the ADAAG Review Federal Advisory Committee and Salmen was a voting delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.  He served for many years as an appointed member of the Montgomery County Commission on People with Disabilities (MD).

After earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota, he was certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). In addition to UD&C, his previous work with Johnson Forberg Architects, the National Center for a Barrier Free Environment in Washington, DC and the American Hotel & Motel Association, has involved him in all aspects of design for people with disabilities and older adults.  Salmen is an Emeritus Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and continues to provide consultation to UD&C on accessibility interpretation, construction alternatives and accessibility litigation.


  •  Bachelor of Architecture Degree awarded August 1976

  •  University of Minnesota School of Architecture, Minneapolis, MN

Historical Professional Certifications and Affiliations:

  •  Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA)

  •  International Code Council/American National Standards Institute (ICC/ANSI)

  •  Maryland Architectural Registration

  •  American Institute of Architects Potomac Valley Chapter, Member

  •  Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives

  •  American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)

Awards and Recognition:

  •  2006 AIA Potomac Chapter, Paul Kea Medal for Services to the Profession

  •  ASID Certificate of Appreciation, 2002

  •  Ron Mace Designing for the 21st Century Award, Universal Design Newsletter 2000

  •  Construction Specification Institute (CSI) DC Chapter, Letter of Appreciation, 1996

  •  Progressive Architecture Citation, 1990



At UD&C, we enhance our core team with expertise from our vast national network of connections within the accessibility consulting industry, partnering and collaborating with consultants with diverse expertise. If you are interested in working with UD&C, as a consultant, employee or intern, please contact us for more information.

Would you like to become another one of our success stories? Drop us a line today!

Our Team: Projects
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