Meet the Dallas 500: James Dunn

He oversees ORIX USA’s multibillion real estate investments and also serves as president of the ORIX Foundation.

James Dunn, President and Senior Managing Director ORIX Real Estate Holdings
Headshot courtesy of ORIX

Seven years ago, James Dunn was asked to start a new business line for ORIX and the nearly 30 clients he was guiding.

Through hard work and the support of his team, ORIX Real Estate Holdings crushed its initial budget—and has exceeded expectations every year since. Dunn now manages all commercial real estate investment activities for ORIX USA, the $70 billion (assets under management) U.S. subsidiary of ORIX Corp., an international finance services company based in Tokyo.

He says he is most inspired by his mother, an Irish immigrant who came to America in her early 20s. “When I was 2 years old, my dad was killed in a car accident, leaving my mom with three young boys to raise,” Dunn says. “When I was about 8, she went to school at El Centro in Dallas to become a nurse. She taught me to value education, to work harder than others, to be thankful, and to live a life of values and principles.”

Education: Texas A&M University (MBA, BBA-Accounting, BBA-Finance)

Birthplace: Dallas

First Job: “I was 9 years old when I knocked on neighbors’ doors to see if I could mow their lawns for spending money. The first customer who took me up on my $10 offer had not cut his backyard in about six months. I learned to make sure to do due diligence before taking a job and negotiating compensation.”

Best Advice: “If you are not learning and growing, you need to mix it up, raise your hand for more responsibility, or change jobs.”

Destination of Choice: “I love visiting Ireland because it is beautiful, and the people so are kind. I also love Florence, Rome, and Barcelona. In the United States, our go-to destinations are Watersound, Florida; Vail, Colorado; and California. ”

Hobbies/Passions: “My hobbies include clay shooting, reading, travel, and kayaking. My passion is growing a business and helping others grow and find success.”

Who Inspires Me: “My mother, an Irish immigrant who came to this country when she was 22. My dad was killed in a car accident when I was 2 years old, leaving my mom with three young boys to raise. When I was about 8, she went to school at El Centro in Dallas to become a nurse. She taught me to value education, to work harder than others, to be thankful, and to live a life of values and principles.” 

Favorite Thing: “I really enjoy shooting my Beretta DT-11 shotgun at the Dallas Gun Club.”

Dinner Party: “If I could have dinner with any two DFW business leaders, I’d choose Harlan Crow, because he has built so many iconic buildings, is a real estate legend, and is a true blessing to Dallas, and Kyle Bass. His understanding of macroeconomics fascinates me.”

Fun Fact: “When I was young, I wanted to be an opera singer. I quickly learned I needed to do well in school after playing back a recording of my voice.”

A Better Dallas: “I would improve the region by fixing the roads and bringing the Cowboys back to Dallas. Someone should have told Laura Miller these two things are not mutually exclusive.”

Lesson Learned: “This past year taught me that family, great co-workers, and friends are everything. Life is fragile, and we all must make the most out of the time we have with one another.”

Favorite Movie: “Braveheart, probably because it brings me back to my British Isle roots.”

Must-read: “I think everyone should read Atlas Shrugged, because many of the philosophies are quintessential American. If you look at GDP trends over time, you can see how the formation of America was the catalyst for massive growth worldwide.”

Bucket List: “I’d love to take a long vacation on a private yacht in the Mediterranean.”

This Q&A is extended content from Dallas 500, a special edition produced by D CEO that profiles the region’s most influential business leaders. Visit for details.


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