February 2024

100 Years and Still Building On

Through four generations and counting, the success and continued growth of JE Dunn Construction can be traced back through an intricate web of the right people, in the right place, at the right time. As JE Dunn has shown, it takes more than just strong relational ties to keep this now billion-dollar boat afloat.

As the company marks 100 years in business, there stands no doubt the critical role the Dunn family has played in company leadership over the years, feeding the original dream of founder John Ernest “Ernie” Dunn, who opened the company for business in 1924. Today, his great-grandson, Tim Dunn, is chairman and chief investment officer for what is now considered Kansas City’s largest general contractor and the area’s fifth-largest private company.

While Tim never met his great-grandfather, he became intimately acquainted with the business through his grandfather, William (Bill) Dunn Sr. “It’s hard to summarize how much impact he had. He was a great business person, but he was a better human being,” Tim said.

Bill took over leadership of JE Dunn following his father’s death in the mid-1960s. After decades of increased growth both from a project and employee standpoint, next to take the helm in 1989 was Bill’s own son, Terry Dunn, who oversaw the completion of big-name local projects and several acquisitions nationwide. In 2014, JE Dunn named Gordon Lansford as CEO following Terry’s retirement, marking the first non-family member to lead the company.

“He would be really proud of the fact that we kept a lot of what he founded this business on: not only our community impact, but the type of people we hire, the type of people we work for,” Tim said. “I think he would be amazed at the impact of what he thought was a small business at the time and what’s attracted so many special people to the company.”

Read more about the company’s past and how they’re looking ahead in the Kansas City Business Journal.

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JE Dunn Builds on 100 Years of Business
Kansas City Business Journal
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By Sydnie Savage