9 Things to Know About Bob Dunlap

Sept. 12, 2022
  1. A coffee drinker. Dunlap believes in the benefits of drinking black coffee and specifically believes drinking it every day is the secret to a long life. He started drinking coffee when he was in the Navy and always has a pot on his desk. For those who need convincing, he keeps copies of a USA Today article written by Dr. Michael Daignault that analyzes the latest research on whether drinking coffee increases your lifespan. He offers visitors the article, along with a cup of coffee.
  2. A worker. Dunlap doesn’t believe in retiring. Yes, Dunlap & Kyle Co. Inc. offers a retirement plan to its employees — along with a “Cadillac hospital plan.” But over and over again when his longtime employees mention retiring, he asks them to stay on a little longer. One told him, “I’ll stay as long as you do,” and Dunlap said, “No. We need you to stay longer.” He’s convinced that working is good for his health. And he knows that keeping good employees working is good for the company.
  3. A tree planter. When he was in high school,  he started planting trees in Mississippi. Even when he didn’t have his own land to plant them, he’d plant them for someone else. Dunlap has always loved the outdoors. He owns an 11,000-acre island along the Mississippi River that’s home to a hunting lodge. He plants 50,000 to 100,000 trees a year on Caulk Island and picks varieties that provide hearty food for wildlife. He says he has planted millions of trees and believes many of today’s environmental woes can be solved by planting more of them.
  4. A listener. Dunlap still remembers what a Navy chaplain told him and his fellow classmates as they were graduating from the Navy ROTC at the University of Mississippi. The chaplain quoted George Bernard Shaw: “A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.” Dunlap says, “If you plant enough trees you’ll be a gentleman when they plant you. It might be the only thing I’ve got going for me.”
  5. An Eagle Scout. Dunlap is a proud Boy Scout and he’s taken those scouting lessons to heart. He’s obviously earned his merit badge in tree planting many times over, but also says the Boy Scouts taught him to be prepared and do a good deed every day. He continues to financially support the Boy Scouts of America to this day.
  6. A political enthusiast. He’s never run for office, but Dunlap loves to talk politics and he’s increasingly putting his money where his mouth is. He’s irritated by leaders in Washington, D.C. and is supporting Republican candidates all over the country. Is it making a difference? “Well, not yet,” he says. “The election’s not until November.”
  7. An admirer. Dunlap was born during the Herbert Hoover administration and remembers Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II. But he labels a more recent former president as his favorite: Donald Trump. He was invited to meet Trump in Atlanta, Ga., by Herschel Walker’s U.S. Senate campaign, but declined the offer since he doesn’t travel anymore. “I hated that I didn’t meet Trump. I wanted to tell him that he’s the best president I’ve had in my lifetime, but also, he’s the only person I know who is crazier than me. He’ll tell you what he thinks. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
  8. A husband, father and grandfather. Dunlap has been married to his wife, Cyd, for 33 years. He has five children — Michael, Joe, Richard, Amy and Angela — as well as 10 grandchildren. His sons all work in the business and several of his grandchildren are taking on bigger roles, including managing warehouses.
  9. A dog lover. The Dunlaps have 12 dogs at home and Dunlap says he often wakes up in the morning with a German shepherd sleeping on his head. He grew up with hunting dogs and jokes that if he hadn’t missed his dogs so much he might have stayed in the Navy.
About the Author

Joy Kopcha | Managing Editor

After more than a dozen years working as a newspaper reporter in Kansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Joy Kopcha joined Modern Tire Dealer as senior editor in 2014. She has covered murder trials, a prison riot and more city council, county commission, and school board meetings than she cares to remember.