W.R. Dunkin & Son celebrates 100th anniversary
By Dirk Webb
Photo by Dale Pickett
Craig Dunkin, President-Treasurer
Marsha Dunkin, Corp Secretary
Ronda Harter,Project Coordinator
Skip Watkins, Director of Operations
Marti Carpenter, Office Manager
W.R. Dunkin & Son, Inc.
PO Box 2247
Anderson, IN 46018
Established in 1915 in Flora, Indiana, W.R. Dunkin & Son moved to Huntington and finally to Anderson in 1951. Incorporated in 1935, W.R. and his son, Glenn, found themselves looking for a thriving location that would yield more projects in a depression era economy.
Craig Dunkin, the fourth generation of his family to lead W.R. Dunkin and Son, was born in Bluffton, moved with the family when he was four years old and recalls the Anderson of the 50’s as “a GM town which was bustling, more centrally located, with a thriving economy and solid schools.” Westvale School (now Anderson Preparatory Academy) was the first project and the Dunkin touch is evident at Anderson University, Anderson Community Schools, both local hospitals, churches, office buildings and other public and commercial sites.
During World War II, Glenn Dunkin traveled to Utah to work on a Naval installation where he met Maurice Browning from Seymour, Indiana. Glenn and Maurice began a long collaboration that extends to today with Project Coordinator, Ronda (Browning) Harter and Superintendent Paul Browning as representatives of the third generation of the Browning family to work for the company.
Today, one can hardly drive through Anderson without seeing Dunkin projects.
Why here in Madison County? “Most everyone in our company grew up here and lives here. Sometimes we tend to think that things look greener elsewhere but we are invested in this community. This is where we go to church, our kids go to school here. We are a part of Anderson and Madison County.”
Why are you in this business? “I grew up in this business. I told my dad after I graduated from Indiana University that I would try it for two years. Those two years have become 45 years.”
What are your goals for 2015? “Keep getting better at what we do. We have been emphasizing safety to a higher degree and it is paying off in a better 2014 safety record. We learn something on every project. Usually that ‘thing’ we learned was something we continue to improve upon with each project. The industry continues to change, technology and the way we do business changes, but yet bricklayers still lay brick, steelworkers still perform their magic but it’s all compressed into a tighter period of time. We are also more environmentally aware than ever before.”
Who do you consider the most courageous person in history and why? “Assuming you mean a mortal person, I would pick Abraham Lincoln and anyone who has been in combat. My father, Richard Dunkin, was a fighter pilot in WWII. He served two tours of duty including Italy and North Africa and actually shot down nine enemy aircraft. He got to achieve his dream of flying.”
If you were to take that person on a tour of your business, what one thing would you want them to see? “I would take the on a tour of Anderson. I would want to show them the buildings that are part of our history, our legacy and the change we helped effect on this community.”
What was the defining moment when you knew your business was making a difference? “It was a gradual realization that we were building peoples’ dreams. Those dreams are certainly different in scale from one person or entity to another, but they are just as important. A hospital has a dream of making medical procedures and processes more efficient and safer. A school corporation has a dream to modernize and/or consolidate. Or a library board wants to take an old Sears building in the downtown area and make it into a new library so they can grow. As builders we can’t just think of the building as concrete, steel and masonry. The services we provide are simply a means to a better end for our customers, and to be successful builders we have to understand that. Each building has a story.