Colorado Mesa University

The Maverick : Fall 2018

The Maverick magazine is a great way to stay in touch with current events at your alma mater, old classmates and the bright future of Colorado Mesa University.

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9 FALL 2018 • VOLUME 8.1 COLORADO MESA UNIVERSITY I f Doug Simons weren't such a straight-shooter, he might say an inspiring professor or a fascinating class at Mesa led him to become one of the all-time most successful businessmen in Grand Junction. But, the truth is, it was a crush on a cute, bassoon- playing student nurse in the college concert band. The "googly eyes" that passed between Jamee Enstrom and Simons put him on a path that eventually led to turning a mom-and-pop confectionary business into the Enstrom Candies conglomerate that today boasts $25 million in annual sales. Simons had come to Mesa in 1973 to pursue a music major. He played guitar in a college jazz band and percussion in the concert band. He also tried his hand at acting. He was good enough to catch the eye of the legendary CMU Professor Bill Robinson and was tapped to play the lead in West Side Story. But the applause for crooning "There's a Place for Us," didn't quell Simons' restlessness. He transferred to Metro State College in 1975. He stayed a year there before going to work for Coors Porcelain. "I was a doer," Simons explained. "I wanted to get my degree in life." He and Jamee married in 1977 and the pair returned to Grand Junction to learn the candy business from Jamee's grandfather and father, Chet and Emil Enstrom. "Jamee's dad would give me the dirtiest, stickiest jobs. I think he was testing me out," Simons recalled. Simons said he already had a strong work ethic so he was up to the challenge. His father had died when he was 13, so he had to go to work and run a household as a teenager. Simons took Enstrom Candies from a business with 10,000 mail order customers listed on a rolodex to a company technically advanced in mail order and manufacturing. Enstrom had a website before Amazon was even a company. Simons' ties to CMU have stayed strong through the years. He has been tapped to lecture in classes. He has served on the community advisory board for many years. And he helped to buy and develop properties in the 1990s that allowed CMU to expand. "Looking back," he said, "I was drawn here for a reason." • DOUG SIMONS Hometown: London, England Age: 63 Profession: Candy maker, president and co-owner of Enstrom Candies Most memorable book: Churchill: A Life Favorite place visited: Italy Hobbies: Music (currently performing with the Dubious Brothers Band), flying and golf Favorite Professor: Bill Robinson Accomplishments: • President of Retail Confectioners International • Past president of Western Candy Conference • Grand Junction Economic Partnership Board • Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce Board • St. Mary's Hospital Foundation Board • Two-time chairman of the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority Board • Rotary Club Ethical Leadership Award • Lion of the Year for the Grand Junction Lions Club THE SWEET LIFE Chance encounter at Mesa leads alum to co-owning a local candy conglomerate By Nancy Lofholm

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