James Dunbar: Guarding Businesses and Much More

Founder and Chairman of The Dunbar Companies James L. Dunbar came to Nichols College with a vision. “During the years that I attended Nichols College, I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur in the security field. I was considering public policing and the border patrol in addition to armored car services,” he says.

Dunbar achieved his goal in 1956 when he founded Federal Armored Express – eventually renamed Dunbar Armored – an armored car company which would later become the foundation for America’s largest independent, full-service security organization. Today, “The Dunbar Companies” are comprised of seven operating companies involved with secure ground and air courier services; cash vault services, guard services, security systems, security products, and most recently cyber security services.

Dunbar credits Nichols with helping him to develop the confidence he needed to begin his own business. “My college education provided me with the basic knowledge and confidence I needed to succeed at whatever pursuit I might have chosen. The small class sizes and the helpful teachers at Nichols provided an atmosphere that was conducive to learning,” he says.

Just as his company has grown, so has Dunbar’s reputation. With nearly seven decades of industry experience, he is the nation’s most widely respected authority on matters involving the armored car industry. Law enforcement agencies, industry associations, and the U.S. Congress continually seek Dunbar’s opinions. He has written a book entitled BULLETPROOF: A History of Armored Cars and the Colorful Characters Who Ran Them, Rode Them, and Sometimes Robbed Them.

Recognizing the importance of having a trained workforce, Dunbar gave back to Nichols when he provided a gift to launch the Criminal Justice Management Program (CJM) at Nichols. He continues to demonstrate his commitment to the college by underwriting the cost to send select CJM students to the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) conference each year.

“A Criminal Justice education provides students with a better understanding of the connection between private and public security and today’s homeland security environment. It is satisfying to know that results from an education in the Criminal Justice field are able to be seen in a very short period of time,” Dunbar adds.