Forty Under 40: Dale Brunk

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“I thought, here’s a field where I can help other people with their money, and I can invest mine, as well,” he recalled.

To that end, not only does Brunk serve in a leadership role at BBWM, he and his wife own 50 percent of a commercial real estate company, and 25 percent of a residential real estate firm. Both are in the River Valley.

Brunk also helps with the accounting for his wife’s optometry practice.

“It’s my idea of fun,” he said of his various business interests. “I am slightly better than horrible at golf, and I am not a lake person. I enjoy working.”

Brunk graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2001 and immediately went to work as an advisor for Morgan Stanley in Fort Smith.

BBWM opened in July 2002 and Brunk came aboard four months later. He was elevated to partner in January 2008 at the age of 28.

Brunk is also a survivor of the Sept. 11 attacks, a result of training in New York for the Morgan Stanley job. He walked out of the south tower at the World Trade Center and has given more than 200 motivational presentations to various groups about the experience.

“Every person goes through something [negative],” he said. “It shouldn’t be the event that defines you.”