New ABA president wants to build on current momentum in industry. (Photo by Bruce Andersen, AZ Big Media)
ABA president Tom Dunn brings energy, expertise to job
He’s not going to re-invent the wheel, but Tom Dunn does want to add a little momentum to keep the Arizona Builders Alliance rolling into the future.
Dunn, who has served as the vice president for Southern Arizona for ABA since 2011, was recently named president of the organization, replacing the retiring Mark Minter, who held the president’s role for 40 years.
“Mark and I have had a great working relationship and I’m aware of what the duties of the job are,” said Dunn. “He’s done a great job of focusing on statewide issues and making sure no one is overlooked. That’s what I’ve been telling our members, I want to make sure no one is overlooked and if I do miss something, to let me know.”
Dunn brings a background in business and politics to the job, two key elements he’ll need as ABA president. Dunn owned mortgage brokerage firms in Washington state for 15 years from 1993-2008, but he, “got tired of the rain and paying extra to live in the rain,” and moved to Marana, where his parents had relocated.
In 2008, Dunn served as the press secretary for Tim Bee, who was running for congress, and then was the campaign manager for Marana mayor Ed Honea for three successful campaigns.
“At Associated Builders and Contractors they have a saying: ‘get into politics or get out of business,’ so it’s important that the industry has a voice,” said Dunn of the value of knowing how Arizona politics works. “When talking to politicians or government staff, my experience helps me understand their perspective and what they want to know.”
For Dunn, the first order of business when he took over as president was to hit the road and meet with as many ABA board members as he could. He viewed these face-to-face meetings as vital to making sure that the ABA staff clearly understood what the membership was looking for.
“I just want to get their input on where they see the ABA going and what are the needs of the membership,” Dunn said. “I always want an open line of communication. I want to be as transparent as possible and get as much work done as possible. I’m energetic, have a positive outlook on things and I’m a team builder.
“I want to represent the members in a way that they want to be represented.”
For Dunn, that open line of communication with the ABA membership is vital, especially for the smaller, independent companies who don’t have the resources that some of the larger, nationwide firms have.
“What we try to provide for the membership is to be a resource to them so when those things happen, we help them,” Dunn said. “We want to make sure that our members have as an effective workforce as possible, so that they can maintain things if and when the economy shifts.”
Another source of inspiration for Dunn is his predecessor, Minter, who took the same path from VP of Southern Arizona up to the Valley and into the president’s role. Minter found success in that role and was a true advocate for the construction industry for 40 years. As he moves up to the Valley, Dunn hopes to forge the same kind of relationships he has built for the past 13 years in Southern Arizona.
“I build relationships with folks that I truly value and that will continue here in Phoenix,” Dunn said. “We have great people in the commercial construction industry, people that really build things. It’s really refreshing for me coming from a mortgage broker background. My membership builds things for people to use.”