First job: At age 12, working on a farm in Kentucky picking tobacco blooms
College: Eastern Kentucky University, bachelor of science degree in mechanical design,; master of science degree in operations aanagement
Greatest business challenge: About 10 years ago, when he was working for another employer and was under consideration for a big promotion.
“When you’re in a public company and you’re not the top person but you’re competing for that job, you’ve got to be very careful and make sure you’re making the best decision for your company and not the best decision for what’s going to get you promoted. I think that was the proudest but the toughest moment of my life, when I had to make a decision like that.”
The payoff for doing what was right for the company?
“I didn’t get the job.”
Most important business lesson: “Companies are really like families. You can’t just care about them the employees when you need them. You have to take the time, whether you have the time or not, if they have an issue. That’s a tough lesson to learn.”
Dunn has taken this lesson to heart with a handful of employees who were dispatched to Iraq in 2005. He e-mailed them regularly until they returned home.
“You’ve got to continue to treat them as a work friend and an employee. You’ve got to still take the time to let them know they’re important to you and when they come back, there’s an opportunity here for them. Whether you agree with the war or not, it doesn’t change what your responsibilities are to the people who work for the company.
“I worried about all of them. It was a relief when I’d send them an e-mail and I would get one back. Then I knew they were OK.”