Before Dunn decided on his major, he went to visit a family friend who happened to be the president of Cosden Refinery. That's when he decided he wanted be in the oil business. Dunn recalls, "He was talking about millions of barrels of oil and making this trade or something, and I thought...that's what I want to do. He was a chemical engineer, and so I went to be a chemical engineer. "
After graduation, Dunn had planned to go to law school, but when he and his wife found out they were pregnant, he decided to take a job with Exxon in Houston. "I worked there for about a year and a half. I wasn't a very good fit for Exxon. People there were way too smart for me," jokes Dunn.
At this point, Dunn got into banking, which eventually brought him back to West Texas and back into the oil business. "I became an independent when I no longer had a job, and I really didn't want to get another job. So, that's the only thing that was left, and I started several different ventures and was fortunate that at least one of them worked out. "
And, boy, did it work out. In 2003, CrownQuest Operating was ranked among the Top 20 oil producers in Texas. In 2011, they spudded 134 wells. This year, they plan to spud 168.
Not only is Dunn excited about his companies success. He's also excited he can share it with his family.
Three of Dunn's six children have followed in their father's footsteps and are now CrownQuest employees.
"I came here in 2006, and I've enjoyed it a lot. He gives us a lot of freedom. The deal he made was as long as you come here and work hard and do your job, I won't fire you. But if you don't, I will," laughs Lee Dunn.
It was Dunn's children that inspired him to do something very unique. He founded his own school - Midland Classical Academy. "It seems kind of crazy looking back. I don't think we had any idea of what we were getting into, but it's worked out fantastic. We have over 400 kids in the school now," says Dunn.
Dunn is also the the founder of a political non-profit Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, where he currently serves as chair. He's also the vice chairman of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
So the question is - How is Dunn able to juggle so much and keep his composure? Well, he follows this simple philosophy, "Most of the things you do are out of your control, and if you can come to grips with that and just embrace what happens and focus on the things you can control - who you trust, your attitude, and the choices you make, you can pretty much enjoy everyday..even when things are tough. "