It was our expansion project for the Oklahoma Heart Hospital South that led us to open a home in Oklahoma City, though JE Dunn has been working in the state since the mid-1980s. That long-standing experience and the surge of healthcare construction were reasons for establishing roots. As a business plan, it made perfect sense for a top-ranked national healthcare builder to enter a market seeing immense growth in the healthcare industry.
But you don’t fall in love with a business plan. You fall in love with a community. And yes, when the Oklahoma Heart hospital opened its doors, some of our team left to build the next critical hospital in another city for another community. But others found a home right here.
I have been the office leader for Oklahoma City for almost five years, and since 2021, the newly opened Tulsa office. Before, I had been a traveling builder for JE Dunn. It’s an incredible experience to build around the country and develop a diversified skill and knowledge. But I was ready to settle down and focus my efforts on a specific place full of growth potential and a place where my family could have a wonderful quality of life and higher education opportunities. We found that here.
I didn’t have the privilege of being here from the very start, but I know this JE Dunn team recognized the honor and trust that was given to them – all newcomers – to build significant projects right out of the gate. Our teams built for healthcare providers, such as Mercy Health System, OU Health, and Saint Francis Health System; top-ranked higher education campuses, such as the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, and environments for commercial clients, such as BOK Plaza and Enable Midstream. It speaks to our team’s experience, talent, and genuine client care. That hasn’t changed. Our mission is still to be an indispensable partner.
If I think of one project that speaks so clearly of our commitment to build a better Oklahoma, it was the responsibility of restoring the Oklahoma State Capitol. JE Dunn led the renovation, repair, and remodel of the exterior of the Oklahoma State Capitol that was built in 1917. A project like this carries immense authority and importance and captures the attention of local citizens to governmental leaders. It was an honor that many of us realize is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I sometimes forget that we aren’t the new guy in town anymore. We have a flourishing office in Oklahoma City and a budding one in Tulsa that are led by experienced, skilled leadership teams. We have in-house specialty teams who live and work here and are focused on the issues and challenges of building in Oklahoma – ever more important as construction becomes more complex and integrated with advanced technology systems.
Now, we’re focused on recruiting the right people to expand our place in the market, and we strive to find that talent right here in the cities we live and work in. We’ve made incredible strides in healthcare, higher education, and commercial work – but we’re just scratching the surface in markets that JE Dunn has the national resources and expertise to build, such as advanced industries, military/government, and science and technology. We’ve come so far, but we have so much more to offer.
I can say with certainty that Oklahoma is not a job, it’s a home. Our children are growing up here, our roots are being established here, and our investment in the community and building the construction industry is focused here. JE Dunn succeeds when we have an authentic all-in mentality. It’s one of the reasons we opened an office in Tulsa. We wanted to show our continued commitment to Tulsa and our investment in the future of this growing city. Just as importantly, we wanted to be committed to our people living and working in Tulsa and provide a JE Dunn home, not just a JE Dunn job. In a way, it was how Oklahoma embraced JE Dunn 15 years ago.