Ryan Dunn knows the halls of power well. Since graduating with a degree in government from the University of Virginia in 2001, he’s worked with various advocacy groups such as the Northern Virginia Technology Council and its political action committee, and on Capitol Hill as an aide to former Sen. George Allen.
Next, he worked for the National Association of Builders and Contractors, but got weary of four days a week on the road when his wife was expecting. That’s when the Virginia chamber job came open in 2010.
Dunn’s been a hit and was recently promoted. The chamber’s president and chief executive, Barry DuVal, credits Dunn with boosting its membership from 1,000 to 22,000. Each winter, he works the General Assembly to lobby for the chamber’s views.
Among his projects has been Virginia Wins, in which the chamber films question-and-answer sessions with political candidates and makes responses to the same questions available side-by-side. “When people are educated and motivated,” Dunn says, “people win.”
What’s taken much of his time is developing the Virginia Benefits Market, a private health and benefits exchange. Chamber members can log in to peruse health insurance packages for their employees guided by the latest government regulations.
His family dates back 200 years to Goochland County, where he was raised, and he’s embraced the area. He’s on the board of the county historical society, served as a volunteer firefighter there and has been active with the Virginia Public Safety Foundation, which supports the families of deceased first responders.