Cultivating Leaders

Cultivating Leaders

Cultivating Leaders: Doug Bender’s 37-Year Journey with Ancon Construction.


Meet Doug Bender, a 37-year employee-owner of Ancon Construction. “I always knew I wanted to be in construction. My grandma called me “Noah” – Because I always messed with my grandpa’s stuff – taking things apart and putting them back together. She said I was going to build things – she was right.”

In April of 1986, Doug started his journey with Ancon Construction when he received an offer to work in the company’s carpentry division. He swiftly climbed up the ranks and took on a foreman position, eventually becoming a superintendent. The most significant project for Doug was the Sturgis Wesleyan Church, where he first worked as a foreman. He played an active role in all aspects of the project, from the foundation to the highest point of the roof. He described the project as a “nice building – but grueling work,” due to the temperatures reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the hot summer of 1988.

Doug finds motivation in the challenges each new project brings. “You’re not always doing the same thing,” he said, adding that the challenges keep him sharp and engaged.

“Doug understands that different personalities exist and is very good at reading and dealing with the different types. That helps in having a cohesive crew which leads to a cohesive job with subcontractors,” shares, Lloyd, a leader Doug has admired over his years at Ancon Construction.

What Doug enjoys most, however, is growing aspiring craftsmen and leaders. “I’m not a teacher – I’m a farmer. Teaching isn’t what I do. I grow individuals,” he said. According to Doug, cultivating future craftsmen and leaders requires planting a seed, feeding, fertilizing, and nurturing until they understand. “Anyone can grow a weed. If you don’t take care of your crop, you’re not going to have one,” he added.

Doug’s experience at Ancon highlights the importance of mentorship in the workplace. His commitment to “cultivating” has helped Ancon Construction build a culture of excellence that attracts and retains talented individuals. It’s no wonder Doug has been with Ancon for 37 years and counting!

Doug’s story shows that it’s possible to find fulfillment and longevity in a career by constantly challenging oneself and passing on knowledge to the next generation. His journey with Ancon is a testament to the importance of mentorship in building a company’s culture and success. We wish Doug all the best in his future endeavors and look forward to seeing the fruits of his labor in the years to come.

2022 – Years of Service Awards

2022 – Years of Service Awards

Pictured here is over 87 years of experience!

At Ancon Construction, our employees are driven by a deep love and passion for their work. This passion not only benefits our clients and community but also helps us to foster a culture of growth and development at Ancon Construction. In this picture, you can see the wealth of knowledge and expertise represented by our employees – a total of over 87 years of experience.





At Ancon Construction, we take pride in all of our employee-owners and love celebrating years of service milestones. Meet Lucas. He’s been an employee-owner with Ancon for 15 years.

“Ancon is a great company to work for. It’s full of great people. I take care of Ancon, and Ancon takes care of me. I enjoy coming to work every day,” shares Lucas.

We value your contributions to Ancon Construction, Lucas. Thank you for 15 years of service & dedication!




“Cindy often makes the first impression of Ancon as she greets and welcomes clients and visitors, both in-person and on the phone,” said Doug VonGunten, President of Ancon Construction. “She does a great job representing Ancon in this role. She also keeps the office organized and running smoothly. Thank you, Cindy, for your 15 years of service.“

“I am grateful for all Ancon has done for me. Thank you for the 15-Year Service Award! I have always been thankful for the journey that brought me to Ancon and the Ancon family,” shares Cindy.

We value your contributions, Cindy. Thank you for 15 years of service & dedication – and warm greetings with a smile!



Meet Employee-Owner, Drew. Drew was in Goshen High School’s Trade Program when he was recruited by an Ancon Construction employee and hired as a first-year carpenter apprentice. Soon after, Ancon enrolled Drew in a four-year apprenticeship program where he received his Associate Degree and journeyman’s card for carpentry. For the next three years, he was a carpenter in Ancon’s Building Service Department – a department that does smaller new construction projects, along with renovation and repairs for commercial businesses. Soon Drew was promoted to lead carpenter and a few years later, to superintendent. In the fall of 2019, he became a project manager, followed by a promotion to department director two years later.

“I knew that college wasn’t for me. Throughout the fifteen years I have been with Ancon, I have enjoyed meeting new people, clients and the simple fact that I can point out numerous projects we have built throughout the area. I’m looking forward to the years ahead!” One of his favorite projects as a superintendent was Potawatomi zoo’s main entrance build, where the project’s challenges motivated him.

Thank you for 15 years of service, dedication, and growth, Drew. We are thankful to have you on our team!




Meet Don, Ancon Construction’s Director of Operations and Safety Director, who has been with the company for over 25 years!

“When I first joined the company, I was looking for direction in my career. I had tried a few different jobs but hadn’t found my passion yet. That’s when I discovered that I enjoyed working with my hands and decided to give construction a try. 

The team at Ancon was welcoming and supportive, and the good wages and opportunities for advancement kept me motivated. I started out as a trash picker in 1997 and never could have imagined that I would rise through the ranks to become the Director of Operations. It just shows that with hard work and determination, anyone can achieve their goals,” he shares.

“As the Director of Operations and Safety Director, Don has one of the most challenging positions at Ancon. He is exceptional in this role, providing strong advocacy for our field employee-owners and an accessible bridge between the field staff and the office staff. We celebrate and thank you for your 25 years of service,“ shares Doug VonGunten, President of Ancon Construction.

About Ancon Construction:

Ancon Construction is a commercial in-house design-build contractor offering a full range of services, including planning, site selection, development, architectural design, rezoning, code compliance, construction, remodeling, and maintenance. Based in Goshen, Indiana, Ancon is a 100% employee-owned company and a regional leader in commercial design-build that has defined architecture and construction in the Michiana community since 1975.
South Bend Buffalo Wild Wing Lovers Rejoice!

South Bend Buffalo Wild Wing Lovers Rejoice!

June 21, 2019

South Bend, IN- Wing Lovers Rejoice!  Buffalo Wild Wings, located on Ireland Road on the south side of South Bend is getting a new look.  As part of the brand’s constant improvement to be the leader in design and customer experience, BW3’s will be updating both the exterior and interior of their south side location.  Ancon Construction, premiere Design-Build construction firm, is the proud builder of our regional BW3’s and the work will begin at the Ireland Road location in late June.

What can B-Dubs fans expect with the re-model?  A new exterior and interior look to match the franchise’s latest “Stadia” brand which will include all new interior seating arrangements, modifications to the bar and more TV’s designed to allow anyone seated to have a great view of the game.  Other updates include wall decor and other front of house updates.  Ancon recently completed a “Stadia” update for the Grape Road location and south side fans can expect to see a similar transformation starting soon.

Matthew VanSoest, Ancon Designer for the Project, commented, “The Ancon team is excited to be part of this image refresher for the south side Buffalo Wild Wings.  The updated imaging program will refresh both the interior and exterior branding – creating a positive and exciting experience for patrons.”

When asked about the re-brand concept Ryan Kring, Vice President of Business Development for Ancon Construction stated, “Most of the top brands in US re-brand every 7-8 years and Buffalo Wild Wings understands the value of giving their customers a fresh, yet familiar look at their locations.  It shows they know their customers and understand that their brand is constantly evolving.  The south side location in South Bend is a popular location and this refresh also shows Buffalo Wild Wings commitment to our community and to the south side.  We are the proud builders for Buffalo Wild Wings and look forward to being a part of keeping their brand fresh and exciting.”

Ready to updated your restaurant, office or business?  Contact us HERE and let’s get your project started…together.


Fly Around with Jesus Grill….One of Ancon’s Latest Projects

Fly Around with Jesus Grill….One of Ancon’s Latest Projects

October 25, 2018

Mishawaka, IN-  Ancon Construction, premier design build construction firm, recently completed the renovations for Jesus Latin Grill & Tequila Bar.  They describe themselves as an unique experience of Latin food. We differ from a Mexican restaurant and the ubiquitous “chips and salsa”. Latin cuisine infuses cultures, flavors and spices from the Caribbean and South America. We draw our inspiration from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, all the way to the Southern tip of Argentina. Jesús Latin Grill & Tequila Bar incorporates American twists for an explosion of your senses

The location provided us some unique challenges as it was located within the historic Carnegie Library in Mishawaka, IN.  Despite these challenges Ancon is proud of the work and the project as a whole.  In addition to the photos provided please take a minute to check out our drone video of the project.

“This project gives another unique dining experience for the downtown Mishawaka corridor.  Working with George is always a fun experience as he has such a creative mind when it comes to interior decor.  I am really excited about the upper level which can be rented out for private events”, added Ryan Kring, VP|Business Development for Ancon Construction.


Fly Around Ancon Construction’s Latest Project!

Fly Around Ancon Construction’s Latest Project!

Fly around with us as we tour our latest multi-tenant retail shopping center that recently opened.  The Shoppes on Grape are located on the southwest corner of Grape and Douglas in Mishawaka, IN.  A lot of attention was placed on the design and user flow.  The plaza includes a drive thru ready restaurant tenant space complete with its own drive through stacking lane.  The emphasis placed on the details are sure to make it easy for the remaining spaces to be occupied.