Gene J. Colin, 76, former Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Ferguson Construction, died of natural causes while doing what he loved on Tuesday morning, June 6th.
Gene Colin was born May 14, 1941, in Paterson, New Jersey, to Italian immigrant parents, Gino and Linda Colin. He worked at his father’s construction company while growing up. He briefly attended the Franciscan Seminary in Calicoon, New York, before graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in Civil Engineering. He served on Active Duty in the U.S. Army’s 2d Logistical Command on Okinawa, Japan, during the Vietnam War (1963 - 1965).
After serving in the Army, Gene arrived in Seattle in 1965, taking a position at Boeing in construction management. Two years later, he became a Project Engineer at Ferguson Construction. Gene was responsible for many projects, including a 25,000-square-foot distribution center built for Bernie Brotman in 1973. About a decade later, Gene had become CEO and Chairman of Ferguson when he got a call from Bernie’s son, Jeff Brotman, who wanted him to renovate a building at Fourth Avenue for a new venture he was calling “Costco Wholesale”. The hundreds of Costco jobs and other building projects that followed gave Gene the opportunity to transform Ferguson Construction into the industry leader known for its high-performing, committed-to-quality “Team Ferguson” that continues today.
Although Gene remained Ferguson’s Chairman Emeritus until the day he died, he was also widely recognized for his significant service to the community, demonstrating a passion for education. He was appointed by Governor Gary Locke to serve as a member of Washington State’s Higher Education Coordinating (HEC) Board, completing a term as board’s chairman. Gene’s other education-related board positions include South Seattle Community College Foundation, Eastside Catholic High School, the Seattle Nativity School, and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Washington Education Foundation. He also served as: Board member of Seattle Humane; Chairman of the AGC’s Government Affairs Council; Chairman of the Washington State Building Code Council; and most recently, Chairman of the Board of Pacific Medical Centers.
Gene was the recipient of many awards and an active supporter of a great number of charitable organizations. Most importantly, Gene will be remembered as a great man with a huge heart who affected the lives of countless individuals.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Susan Janus; his children, Carla Colin (Jeff Toth), Crista Haugen (Kris), and Ryan Hazlett (Jessica); his grandchildren, Devin Toth, Blake Haugen, Gianna Haugen, Ella Hazlett and Lucy Hazlett; and his great-granddaughter, Camryn Haugen.
Remembrances can be made to the AGC Education Foundation, the South Seattle Community College 13th Year Promise Scholarship, or the Seattle Nativity School, a Catholic middle school in south Seattle that seeks to break the cycle of poverty through education.
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