By Jean Sealey
Northeast Florida Builders
Richard R. Dostie III may have a French-Canadian connection, but he certainly has Jacksonville roots.
Dostie’s namesake and grandfather moved to Jacksonville from Ontario, Canada in 1960. Almost immediately he began building homes on the Northside, teaming up with a relative who did drywall. He would build one house and sell it, then build another house.
Rick Dostie’s father, Richard R. Dostie Jr., the 1988 Northeast Florida Builders Association president, celebrates his 30-year anniversary as a Jacksonville builder this year. Rick’s uncles Rene and David are involved with the development side of the industry.
Rick has worked for all of them during his 24 years. Some of his earliest memories are riding to various job sites with his grandfather, who although retired, continued to work with his sons.
“I was recently at a construction site and one of the framers there remembered me when I was two years old,” Dostie said. “I don’t how he could recognize me from so long ago. He said I had the same smile.”
Dostie said he loved going with his grandfather and father to job sites until he was 8 or 10 years old.
“I was too old to play in the dirt, and housing just wasn’t very interesting to me then,” he said.
Later he worked summers pouring concrete, faming homes, hauling trash and cleaning up. He learned to do it all.
When he graduated, Dostie had no interest in construction. He pursued a sports medicine/physical therapy degree and hoped to open a clinic. At the end of his first year of school in Pennsylvania, all that changed.
“It was May 1, 1998,” Dostie recalled. “I got a call in the middle of the night that my grandfather had died.”
It was a turning point in Dostie’s life. Although his grandfather had advised him to be a doctor or a lawyer, Dostie knew then he wanted to build homes.
He returned to school the next fall, but changed his major to business. By the end of his second year, he just wanted to go to work.
Dostie passed his state contractor’s examination and received his certified residential contractor’s license in April 2002, and opened his own company, Legacy III Builders - a name that signifies the importance of the family traditions.
“I really miss my grandfather,” he said. “He had little formal education, but he was one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. He knew the business and people. He understood the markets and the economy.”
Rick said there have been a lot of changes in the business since his grandfather died.
“We were opening some models in Palencia recently, and my dad remarked that my grandfather would not have believed we were opening three furnished models in one community.”
Rick’s father is justifiably proud of his sons, and is pleased with the progress Rick has made.
“I have a better appreciation now for my father and understand better the pride he felt watching his oldest son come up,” said Richard R. Dostie, president of Richard R. Dostie, A Toll Brothers Company. “I wish Rick’s grandfather were here to see him now. My role as a father has been to teach him to uphold a legacy of honesty and integrity. Our family has been building homes for 46 years, and that philosophy has worked well for us.”
A member of NEFBA, Legacy III is on a schedule for growth Rick likes. He anticipates completing 25 to 30 homes this year. Legacy III is building in Hawks Pointe on Old Middleburg Road near OakLeaf Plantation.
He gets some help from his younger brothers.
Chris, 23, graduated from Auburn University last May and is working for their dad building Kings South office complex. Michael, 18, graduated from Bolles School and plans to attend Furman College. Rick’s fiancée Audrey Ciena helps out in the business, too. She recently designed marketing materials for the new company.
Rick maintains a connection with the French-Canadian side of the family. He has relatives there, and his grandmother splits her time between Jacksonville and Canada. He visits occasionally for family events and speaks enough French to keep up his end of the conservation.
But for Rick Dostie, his roots are in Jacksonville and his ties to the building industry are strong.