2023 Collins Award Winner – Connie and Doug Dohn, Dohn Construction

Apr 11, 2024 | Chamber News

Life is better with a partner by your side and for Connie Dohn and Doug Dohn that sentiment rings true both professionally and personally.

“If your community is successful then your business in that community will be too.” – Connie Dohn

Both Connie and Doug grew up in Cleveland, Ohio but made their way out to Colorado when they finished high school. Connie came to Boulder to go to college in 1972 and Doug followed a year later in 1973. Doug wasted no time, packing up and moving to Vail the day after his high school graduation, getting his first job in construction and eventually reconnecting with Connie.

“Once he moved out here he looked me up, I was in school in Boulder and he started coming down to visit while I was a broke college student, so he was good for a nice dinner,” Connie said.

Doug then moved up to Boulder to work on construction of water and sewage treatment plants and eventually moved again up to northern Colorado to help construct what is now the South Fort Collins Sanitation District.

Labor Day weekend of 1992 was when the Dohns committed to starting the business. Connie had graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in accounting and had already worked as a certified public accountant for 10+ years. Doug had been in construction for nearly two decades and wanted to be home at night with his family.

“He was doing a lot of out-of-town traveling,” Connie said. “He would come back to Fort Collins and turn down local. We wanted to spend more time with our kids and be able to be home at night.”

The decision for them to go into business together was apparent early on, Connie had planned to stay as a CPA and help do the books at night, but it became apparent quickly that doing both wasn’t an option.

“He had construction knowledge and I had the business background,” Connie said. “My favorite clients in public accounting were those small businesses. I knew how to set up a business, how to do payroll, and of those things that small businesses suffer with.”

“I don’t believe I could’ve done this without Connie as my partner,” Doug said. “She took a lot off my plate on the business side.”

At the start, it was small-scale with a few custom homes in north Fort Collins, but Doug and Connie’s reputation and prior relationships helped get the company off the ground quickly.

“It was pretty rapid growth, it was perfect timing,” Doug said. “We were at an age and in a place in the community where you just know people and I had worked for another general contractor for nine years so I was well positioned.”

Dohn has grown to 60 team members and completed over 15 million square feet of projects, but their impact on the community has scaled in different ways.

While celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary they made a $30,000 donation, splitting the total in donations to three Colorado Food Banks: Food Bank for Larimer County, Food Bank of the Rockies, and Weld Food Bank.

“I’m a big believer in Karma, when you put (yourself) out there it will come back to you, not in the form of money but in the form of people knowing who you are,” Connie said.

Despite all their success and contributions, Connie and Doug remain extremely humble, and are grateful to now join the list of previous Collins Award winners who they admire for building our community through business.

“The physical aspect of building Fort Collins has been rewarding,” Doug said. “I look at the list of the people that have won the Collins Award and feel a little undeserving because there are some very impressive families and people (who’ve won) and we’ve learned a lot from those people through watching them and working with them.”