Words by Scott Campbell
After a 30-year stint in the golf business, Gerry Dougherty decided to pursue another career path. The Perry County resident teamed with his son, Sean, to establish Dougherty Construction Company.
Operating from the company’s address on the Carlisle Pike in Hampden Township, the Doughertys and two full-time carpenters range wide to serve the needs of residential customers.
“We do it all,” says Dougherty, “luxury basements, kitchens, baths, additions and new-construction homes. We use our subcontractors for the electrical and plumbing side of the work.”
Why did Dougherty make the mid-life move from golf to home-remodeling?
“Actually, it wasn’t that surprising for people who know me,” he says. “My wife and I have lived in four houses since we’ve been married. And, at each stop, we worked to change and improve the property before moving on to the next one. So, I was doing the remodeling thing long before I decided to make it my business.”
Dougherty was the well-known head golf professional at Armitage, the popular municipally owned Hampden Township track along Orrs Bridge Road.
“I really enjoyed the job,” he says. “But it’s the kind of business that demands a lot of hours away from your family on weekends and summer holidays. I just needed a change.”
During Dougherty’s tenure, it was not unusual for the course to log 50,000 rounds in a 9-month season. It was, and still is, one of the busiest public courses in the Commonwealth.
Dougherty certainly bears some responsibility for that, overseeing numerous improvements that turned Stanley Armitage’s pedestrian facility into a well-maintained and reasonably priced golf course that is a much-sought venue for amateur tournaments and benefit outings.
As Dougherty pondered starting a remodeling business, Sean became interested in pursuing a career in construction. They agreed to work together, but the timing was not propitious.
“That was in 2005, only a few years before the start of an economic recession,” chortles Dougherty. “But we made it work.”
A recent contract demonstrates the company’s aptitude for both interior and exterior renovation.
“The previous owner of the home constructed a garage and connected it to the house by a covered patio,” explains Dougherty. “We enclosed the patio and installed windows on each wall. The exterior wall of the house within the enclosed patio was then removed so that the patio and kitchen were one open space. A fireplace and masonry façade were installed at the garage end of the patio, and flooring was added to finish the interior.”
When asked what brings him the greatest fulfillment from his current vocation, Dougherty replies, “There are several answers to that question. Obviously, one is finishing the job on time and on budget and exceeding the customer’s satisfaction. Doing so also adds value to the property. And there’s an artistic element to it…taking a 30-year old kitchen, for example, and transforming it into a modern and beautiful room.”
Dougherty still keeps his hand in golf, supervising the Harrisburg Area Junior Golf Association (HAJGA), a program that he initiated 25 years ago. Summer tournaments at local courses offer boys and girls from ages 11 to 18 the opportunity to compete for trophies and, in some instances, scholarship money provided by generous benefactors.
His own experiences as a teenager, working at Colonial Country Club and playing on the Bishop McDevitt High School golf team, instilled in Dougherty the value of providing learning and playing opportunities for juniors.
Readers interested in learning more about Dougherty Construction Company may visit doughertyconstruction.net or call (717) 514-0089.