In addition to featuring the top-ranked general contractors of the year based on 2016 revenue, the July issue of ENR Midwest will also profile Kansas City's JE Dunn Construction as the 2017 ENR Midwest Contractor of the Year.
JE Dunn was among the top contractors in revenue from the region, booking $1.3 billion in Midwest revenue. ENR Midwest expanded its coverage region this year to include Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota and Nebraska. This gave a much more accurate picture of the company's regional work than in years that did not include markets Dunn was very active in. Adding its shared-border state, Kansas, to the mix added $522 million, alone, to Dunn's totals. The combined region adds 342,000 square miles of projects and work to the previous Midwest region that only included Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. The new geography resulted not only in greater survey depth, but also in growth of individual contractors' respective revenue totals. Dunn may have experienced the biggest "expansion jump," going from 22nd with $349.3 million in 2016 to fifth with the aforementioned $1.3 billion.
Gordon Lansford III succeeded Terry Dunn in 2013 to become the first non-family member to run the company founded by John Ernest Dunn in 1924 (Terry Dunn remains CEO of the company’s parent company, J.E. Dunn Construction Group). This year, JE Dunn had total receipts of $3.2 billion in the entire U.S. The 93-year-old construction company is nearly 20% owned by its employees, with the remaining 80% of its stock held by the Dunn family. It has 21 offices around the U.S. and annually gives away more than 10% of its pretax earnings. Philanthropy has been an important part of the company's culture since 1943 at the height of World War II, the company had just earned what Steve Dunn — grandson of John Ernest Dunn — described as “a decent profit” building the U.S. Army Quartermaster’s Depot on Independence Avenue in Kansas City.
JE "Ernie" Dunn was a World War I veteran with two sons in the military and he felt uneasy about keeping the money during a time of war, according to grandson Steve Dunn's retelling. Instead, he persuaded the government’s contracting officer to write a change order that allowed him to give it back. When newspapers began to report the refusal of the fee for the depot, other contractors followed suit and began asking to return their fees for military projects related to the war effort.
JE Dunn's major projects this year include the $310 million, 302,000-sq.-ft. Historic Minnesota State Capitol Renovation: Key design features of the project include reclaiming public spaces, raised ceiling heights, restoration of vast decorative painting and fine art murals, new skylights/lay lights, and new historically appropriate elevators. The work also includes a complete overhaul of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems
It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and government employees, citizens and historic preservationists are all happy with the work delivered on-time and on-budget. This included mitigation of horrible water damage discovered soon after JE Dunn workers removed sections of marble staircases that revealed years of neglect and structural problems.
Two Light Towers
A combined $185 million project these are the first new residential towers (One Light and Two Light Towers) built in downtown Kansas City since the 32-story San Francisco Tower opened in 1976. The 343,000-sq.-ft. luxury apartment complex adds 315 residential units to the Power & Light District in a bid to get more people to move to downtown Kansas City.