Meet Doug
Thoughtful, caring, committed, and hardworking

Why I’m Running

When I was growing up in Michigan, the state was an industrial powerhouse. The prosperity created by the auto industry drew people from all over the nation who were looking to make a better life for themselves. Now look at Michigan. Within my lifetime the state has gone from a place where people and businesses were thriving to a place where governments face bankruptcy and infrastructure is collapsing.

Things changed.

Instead of planning for the future, where change is the only constant, Michigan’s leaders of the 1970’s and 80’s stuck to business as usual. They let the changes in the world shape their future instead of the other way around.

Now I look at Colorado. A great state where people are coming from all over the country drawn by our beautiful outdoors and growing technology, aerospace, energy and healthcare industries.

We are already starting to face the same choice as Michigan did – will we treat change as something that happens to us, or as something that we control and create?

The governor can make important things happen statewide in a significant and impactful way. I have already worked on many of the issues that I am concerned about and I am extremely proud of the progress we have made. However, I remain frustrated: the problems facing our state need to be addressed in a more comprehensive, coordinated and far-reaching way. In a way that requires the buy-in of key policymakers—both Democrats and Republicans, key stakeholders, and most importantly Coloradans from across the state.

I am at a point in my life where I have the ability to step away from my professional responsibilities and invest the time necessary to run and to lead our state. I’m already taking the time to travel to every corner of the state to hear the concerns of citizens all over Colorado, asking them: What changes are coming? What are the challenges we need to address?

For the first time in my life, I have the opportunity to dedicate myself to working on these issues full time.

After a lifetime of experiences, whether it was through working for and then founding my own business or volunteering with and starting my own charities, I’ve learned the skills I’ll need.

My children are grown now and most of them have left home. They’re old enough that my running for office won’t be a burden to them. They’re also old enough that they’re beginning to start their own lives and make their own decisions about where those lives will take them.

I want my kids to stay in Colorado and choose to work, live, play and raise their families here. And I, too, want to continue to love living here.

I am deeply concerned about the issues our state is confronting, and I cannot let this window in my life go by without personally taking action. Without putting myself out there and trying to offer realistic solutions and ways to deal with and get ahead of the changes and challenges we are already facing.

I’ve seen firsthand what has happened in places that weren’t prepared for the changes that came, and I don’t want Colorado to make those same mistakes.

About Doug

I grew up in Michigan, the second of four children. Like many other Midwestern boys growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, my life revolved around the rhythms of little league baseball, boy scouts, football practices and pond hockey. I was taught the principles of hard work, faith in God and love of country. My first visit to Colorado came as a young boy when my family stopped to enjoy the mountains for a few days during a drive to Mather Air Force Base in California, where my Dad served during the Vietnam War. Later, I came back to Colorado to ski and then lived here in my early 20’s as a church service missionary. I knew then that this was the place I wanted to make my home.

After graduating from college with a degree in economics I landed a job in New York City working in 2 World Trade for a financial services firm. It was there that I met and fell in love with Diane Carlson. We were married in April 1988.

I was eventually accepted into the Columbia University MBA program and enrolled, spending hours in finance and marketing classes, performing service projects and playing second row on the Rugby team.

After grad school I joined the corporate development team of a major media company, Macmillan. I was given immediate responsibility to sort through key projects, traveling all over the country and even to Europe to evaluate and negotiate key investments. During this time, Diane and I had our first two sons join our family and we bought our first home together.

I was recruited to join a leading technology financing firm and relished in becoming an expert in data and information companies, working on the financings for early internet pioneers like Uunet, Netscape and TNS. It was during this time, while working on the initial public offering for a leading Colorado company, CSG Systems, that I was offered the opportunity to create a technology focused corporate finance practice for a Denver firm.

Diane and I came out together for a visit to check it out. It was one of those spectacular October Colorado days. With the sun reflecting off the mountain peaks and friendly people greeting us. We were smitten and decided right then and there to give up our New York life for an uncertain future in the West. We decided to leave great jobs in New York for the chance to spend more time together as a family and to live and raise our kids in such a healthy, beautiful place.

I joined the firm Hanifen Imhoff and within 18 months became the head of Corporate Finance, responsible for running the entire equities division as well as serving on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. I was also responsible for nearly 100 employees and for setting and delivering on the growth objectives for the firm. We advised dozens of Colorado based companies on their growth strategies. We even applied this advice to ourselves which led to the sale of Hanifen to a larger financial services firm.

I left to join a smaller firm, the Wallach Company, which eventually became part of KeyBank Capital Markets. After four successful years there raising money and advising growing companies a few of us felt that there was a better way to do things and formed our own firm, St. Charles Capital.

Over the nearly 10 years that we operated St. Charles Capital, we grew it to become Denver’s leading firm for raising money and advising growth companies in Colorado, with over 30 employees. Our clients included such terrific Colorado companies as First Bank, Coors Tek, Net Quote, Pinnacol Assurance and many others. I served on the Executive Committee and managed our largest practice area, which focused on technology companies. Early on we agreed that a significant portion of our profits would be given to charitable causes and over the years we contributed to over 75 nonprofits. In 2014, we were approached to be acquired by a few larger firms and completed a deal with KPMG. Since then I have been a senior member in the Technology Media and Technology Corporate Finance team until retiring recently.

Living in the greatest state in the country has been a huge blessing for us. Diane and I have raised four boys and a daughter here with all but one attending the Cherry Creek schools. Two are now on their own, the oldest married and working in New York City and the second teaching 1st grade in Aurora; two are in college, and the youngest is still in high school, playing on the school’s basketball and tennis teams. We couldn’t have raised them to be the people they are without so many teachers, coaches, Sunday school teachers, scout leaders and other caring adults in their lives.

Community Involvement

I have always believed deeply in giving back to the community where you live.

Shortly after moving to Colorado I became a board member of the newly organized Colorado Technology Association (CTA). Coming out of my experience at CTA, a few of us recognized the “digital divide” between kids with access to technology and those without. We decided to do something about this problem and founded KidsTek, which has become a leading nonprofit in helping kids gain technology skills. We have served in excess of 15,000 kids with our innovative during and after school technology programs. I was the Chairman of the Board for our first five years and I am still a board member today. This service developed in me a passion for working with children and a deep concern for those kids who face a tough start in life.

This passion led to me joining the Boy Scouts Executive Board, where I have served in a variety of roles. Diane and I have always cared a great deal about our schools. Diane was heavily involved for years in the Cherry Creek schools, leading the Accountability Committee and Legislative Network. More recently I was asked to join the Board of Trustees at our youngest son’s school and have volunteered in a number of ways, recently as chair of the Finance Committee.

I have also had the great opportunity to serve as the lay pastor for our church, having a commission to seek out the poor and needy. This has brought many challenges and much insight as I served a congregation of over 430 members. Performing weddings, funerals, marital counseling, delivering sermons - were all part of my duties.

I have also been actively involved with the Colorado Republican Party including serving on a statewide committee and being elected to represent Colorado as a delegate at the national convention.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is my involvement with Smart Colorado. With the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, Diane and other “moms” asked the question – who is looking out for our kids as marijuana is commercialized in our state? The answer was no one. To solve this problem, Smart Colorado was created. The group, which now has thousands of members, is dedicated to protecting kids as today’s high potency marijuana is commercialized. We have played an active role in educating the public, lobbying for protections and engaging on a very difficult issue.