Toby Gannet was quite certain about one thing growing up in New Hampshire: He didn’t want to pursue a career in real estate.

“I hated it as a kid,” Gannet said. “My dad was a developer & and it was something I always swore to avoid. That’s why I was so interested in teaching. But it kind of came naturally full circle.”

Gannett, who is 31, is vice president of Dunn & Associates Inc., a family-owned business that is involved in several different areas of real estate management and development, including retirement homes, commercial office and retail complexes, and apartments in the Springs and Denver. His father-in-law, Jeffry Dunn started the company about 25 years ago. His bother-in-law Ryan Dunn also works for the company.

“What we manage we own, and what we own we manage,” Gannet said. “So I’m a property manager, a leasing agent and an owner – a little bit of everything.”

Gannett came to Colorado Springs to attend Colorado College. After graduating he taught history, philosophy, classical literature and physics for four years at The Colorado Springs School. It was there that he met his wife, Cassie.

His new family didn’t try to immediately push him into the family business.

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“They really wanted me to stay in teaching,” Gannett said. “They thought it was an admirable profession.”

However, after his sons, Brady, 4, and Cory, 2, were born, Gannett decided that a real estate career would allow him to spend more time with his family.

“Teaching was an extraordinary amount of time and energy and emotional energy,” he said. “Real estate, I shouldn’t say was less work, but it wasn’t 100 hours a week.”

And he said there are parallels between the professions. “What I like about teaching and what I like about real estate is that they are both creative processes – very dynamic and creative.”

One of the creative projects that Dunn & Associates is working on is renovating the old Ramada at Interstate 25 and Fillmore.

Victor Matthews of the Black Bear Restaurant in Green Mountain Falls will be running the cooking school, Gannett said.

The company also is working on 70,000 square foot mixed use office/retail complex on Pikes Peak Avenue and is in the developmental process for building a high-end retirement facility in the Broadmoor area.

Gannett said the plan is to build a “small and intimate place for the residents, and hopefully have more dignity than is customary for a retirement facility.”

Quality service and caring is something that Gannett and his company take to heart. “We see the same people that we lease to, that we rent to, that we buy from and we sell to,” he said. “At the end of the day I want to take my kids to the park and see the people I do business with and look them straight in the eye.”

And down the road, Gannett said he’d like to know that he helped to make a difference in the city. “I’d like to have created some good projects that add to the architecture in Colorado Springs.” that are well run and make Colorado Springs a more interesting place to live.”