John D. Dorchester, Sr., was born in 1908 in rural Arkansas. Prior to World War II he was widely known for his trumpet playing abilities as a big band leader. During the Great Depression he became a regional manager for the Federal Land Bank and also worked for the Homeowners Loan Corporation. His territory included most of the southwest U.S. After the war, John went into the mortgage banking business on a full time basis, concentrating on rural lending work in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. By 1950, his 15-year old son, John D. Dorchester, Jr, "Don," was regularly assisting him. particularly in property title and market research, and real estate appraisal matters. John was awarded the MAI professional designation from the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (now the "Appraisal Institute") in 1951.
In 1962, after a four-year military duty as a Captain and Ranger in the United States Army and then earning a Masters Degree in Economics and Urban/Regional Planning, Don capitalized on the experiences working with his dad by taking on the role of Assistant Director for the Tulsa, Oklahoma Urban Renewal Authority. He spearheaded hundreds of millions of dollars in land acquisitions, urban planning, and development. By 1967 Don was asked by Tulsa County to organize, develop and conduct the complete reassessment of all real estate in the county, more than 175,000 properties. In successfully completing the project by 1969, Don became became a nationally recognized authority on mass appraisal and urban/regional planning.
In 1968, Don and John formed The Dorchester Group (or the Dorchester Companies as it was known at the time). Primarily focused at first on appraisal services and valuation software development, the two took on more and more complex assignments and quickly became nationally recognized as valuation authorities. John retired in the early-1970s but Don continued the work.
Don heavily involved himself as a leader in the valuation profession. Over his career he has instructed classes for tens of thousands of students, was a contributing author and editor for the 3rd through the 13th editions of The Appraisal of Real Estate, served as the national president of the Appraisal Institute in 1982, was a founder and two-year world chairman of the International Valuation Standards Council (a United Nations NGO), and is still a well known teacher, lecturer, counselor and author.
From 1985 to 1989, the Dorchester Group became part of the Chicago-based Real Estate Research Corporation (RERC), which Don served as the president of for two years. RERC, at that time, was the largest valuation and consulting services corporation in the U.S. It was around this time that Don's son, Andy, started working with him, in much the same way that Don had with his Dad.
In 1989, the Dorchesters left RERC and formed Real Estate Sciences International (RESI), which had greater focus on boutique complex valuation economics related work as opposed to the RERC environment that focused more heavily on institutional investment work. The name was later sold to others.
The Dorchester Group ("TDG") name change came about with the decision of the Dorchesters to move the firm to Scottsdale, AZ 1993. Although its national and international clientele continued to be served, TDG found the location better for serving clients in the Southwest, Alaska, and Hawai'i. TDG operated in Scottsdale, with 20 to 30 employee professionals, until 2006.
From the 2007 until 2011, Andy and Don joined the second largest real estate services firm in the world, Cushman & Wakefield ("C&W"). Andy relocated to Washington, DC and served as the Co-National Practice Leader and Managing Director of C&W's Dispute Analysis & Litigation Support practice group. Don operated as a member of Andy's practice group, but served as the Managing Director of C&W's Financial Reporting group. Both Andy and Don also served in an advisory capacity to C&W's Valuation Advisory division and its 350 world-wide professionals.
In 2008, in response to the global economic crisis and a growing crisis regarding the future and direction of the valuation profession, both Andy and Don, in conjunction with other leaders in the valuation profession, formed the Valuation Council. From 2008 to 2011, the Valuation Council played an important roll in providing counsel and guidance to the valuation profession and assisted in restoring some of the public trust that was compromised in the years preceding the Council's formation.
In 2011, both Andy and Don left C&W to reestablish The Dorchester Group. They currently operate offices in South Dakota and Washington, DC.