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Celebrating 65 Years
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AUGUST 2013 INDUSTRIAL CONTRACTORS SINCE 1943 VOLUME 23, NUMBER 1

SPECIAL EDITION—Dunkin & Bush’s 70-Year Anniversary Issue

By Deidre & Tommy Dunkin

This special edition of our D&B Newsletter celebrates our 70-year anniversary since C.O. Dunkin (our great-grandfather) founded this company in Fairbanks, Alaska.  We celebrate this milestone, 70-years in business by recognizing and paying tribute to the three generations of Dunkins that came before us; and consider ourselves truly blessed that we have been able to be a part of a family business that has passed now to the fourth.  C.O. Dunkin founded this company in 1943, but was soon followed by our grandfather, Tom Dunkin Sr., and then by our father, Tom Dunkin II.  We consider ourselves so fortunate to have spent so much time with all three generations, and it is no accident that their influence placed D&B in our daily conversations, and later daily tasks, of which both would prepare for us for the seats we sit in now.  And that is what this newsletter edition is all about; it is about memories.  Each of our managers writes their story recounting their career at D&B.  They write about their favorite projects, their mentors, fellow employees, their career, and the key defining moments and individuals that stand out as they look back throughout the years.  A similar theme runs through each story; a strong value of family, and how many times their D&B family and their own families have at times been one and the same.  So enjoy the memories you read, and help us proudly celebrate seventy years.

I will share a small snippet of my own D&B story.  You can see by the picture here that as a toddler, what would be my bonnet was a hard hat.  For those of you that knew Tom Dunkin, Sr., you will recognize it as his.  I think maybe that tells it all.  Actually, as my mother was in labor, about to deliver me, my dad decided to take a quick detour and check on a D&B jobsite.  That is how I almost entered this world.  As a young child I remember my father traveling often to Alaska for business, and I remember the dinner table being filled with details of his workday.  I was a sponge, and I soaked in each conversation and learned much about D&B before I would ever find myself working in the office.  My first official title was Janitor.  My sister Andrea and I cleaned the office to earn money, and I couldn’t wait until I was qualified to do something different, yet as I later realized, it was all about putting in my time, and earning respect.  My first wages from D&B, according to the Social Security Administration were earned at age twelve.  And on I went, moving through the office positions and working consistently at the Company until I left Washington in 1990.  Ten years later I would come back as the Company’s CFO, and became President in the mid 2000’s. 

One memory stands out, greater than the rest, involving a D&B employee, but not on work time (as sometimes the greatest memories don’t).  I was sixteen years old and somehow managed to put my car in a ditch while driving down a windy hill about 10:00pm on a weekend, during the summer time.  I didn’t have a way to readily contact my parents, but luckily found my way home via a good Samaritan, a little shaken up.  I came to work at D&B the next day and who would come track me down, but Fred Tharp.  We all have our memories of Fred, and there are countless written down in these stories, as he was truly one of a kind.  Fred had found out in less than twelve hours that the ditch I found myself in was actually close to his house (a fact I knew, but was too embarrassed to knock on his door at 10:00pm on a Saturday night).  He was very disappointed that I didn’t go to him to get help.  I couldn’t explain how embarrassed I was to him, and I think he knew it because he kept the conversation short and handed me a business card. 

He had clearly prepared it in advance and he wrote on his business card his home phone number and the phrase “Call Fred anytime, any day for help.”  I kept that card for a long time, as it made me feel safe to know that there was always someone there to help, someone to count on…. any time, and on any day.  That was Fred, and that is also D&B; where you treat others like family.  Seventy years, four generations, many memories to share, many stories to tell, and many lives touched.  Enjoy.

Growing up in the family business has provided me with many years of great memories, relationships with many great people and the ability to work with my family.  I am so blessed to be able to work side by side with my sister Deidre.  Who would have known that 30 years earlier the foundation was being laid for our future together at Dunkin & Bush.  My earliest memories are going with my sisters to the office at age 5, they would clean the office, I would play on the phones and clean paint brushes.  That same year, I received my first paint brush from Fred Tharp.  I can remember honing my skills in the bathtub using shaving cream as my paint.  Two memories of my father stick out in the early years of my life, one was taking his work boots off when he got home, usually from a job site and listening to him talk about the various work he looked at.  When we would go hunting, we would pass by a paper mill that we did a lot of work at.  As many people know, paper mills do not give off the best smell for the public but as soon as I would start complaining, my father would be quick to say, it smells like money son, smells like money. (I now find myself saying the same thing to my 3 kids, I also can’t help to do what my father did and point out all the things we have painted as we drive by or fly over, now they also do it to me).  At that time I realized that Dunkin & Bush provided services to the foundation of our country, whether it was at a plant that makes paper, electricity or gas, most of the places we work are a necessity to the way of life we have become accustomed to in our great nation.  We are lucky that we get to have an inside look at how those things work. 

OK back to memories….Another memory that sticks out is when I officially started working for D&B when I was 15 years old; I would drive Mark Smith or Brian deBoer around to perform the various tasks we had been assigned to do.  Needless to say, I don’t think that would fly now but never the less, a memory that stuck with me forever.  The journey of my professional career took me to many places and I have been fortunate to work with many great people.  Summers while I was still in college working in Golden, Colorado and Valdez, Alaska provided me many great memories with the guys I worked with.  It was at that time that I realized what inspired me the most about the possibility of running the company one day and what would be the most fulfilling part of the job. 

To me it is all about the employees at Dunkin & Bush and their families.  During those first summers while working in the field learning our business, this passion for providing opportunities to our employees and their families was galvanized.  That feeling only grew stronger as I spent many more years working side by side with the people I hoped to manage someday.  Those years took me to Oregon on many shutdowns and all throughout the great state of Washington.  I knew that once I was in a position to make a positive impact on the people that work at Dunkin & Bush, I was going to make sure I never lost sight of what is important to me, and that is our employees.  Whether it is giving someone a second chance at life by providing a job or landing work as a Project Manager so they can work and feed their family, our employees is what drives me.  The years have provided many great memories and relationships with many great people.  I have been fortunate to know some of our employees for virtually my whole life, known some for only a few years but one thing is constant and that is they are more than employees, they are family.  So to every employee I would like to say thank you for the years of memories and for the inspiration to make D&B a place where you enjoy working and where you can become part of something even better, a family, the D&B family.

 

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