DANVILLE – By day, Chris Dunn runs the human resources department at Danville Metal Stamping.
By night, the British-born Danville man strives to solve mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids.
"His enthusiasm for Egyptian technology is just infectious," said Dunn's boss, Judd Peck, president and CEO at Danville Metal Stamping.
Dunn's theories about how – and why – the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids debunk status-quo beliefs that thousands of laborers used primitive methods to construct the massive manmade structures as tombs for kings.
Applying his more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing and engineering to the pyramids, Dunn asserts that the Egyptians used mechanical means and advanced engineering concepts to build the pyramids not as tombs but for industrial purposes, such as generating energy.
"It draws you in," said Peck, who went along with Dunn on a research trip to Egypt last year.
His work, Peck said, is very interesting and shakes his linear perspective of history – that the human race is always improving and becoming more sophisticated.
Dunn's passion for pyramids evolved after he found "Secrets of the Great Pyramids" in a bookstore in his 30s, a time when he says he was searching for more purpose in life.
"I had to have it, and I started to read it, and the lights came on. It brought out opposing, or contrary, opinions of the pyramids being a tomb," said Dunn, who was born in Manchester, England, trained as an engineer and came to the United States at age 23 for a job in manufacturing.
He went on to read the work of the first British Egyptologist to do serious academic research on the pyramids and temples of Egypt.
Certain facts – the interior layout of the pyramids, cuts in the granite, the amazing precision – began to convince Dunn that primitive tools and methods could not be responsible for the pyramids.
In 1986, he got his first chance to see for himself.
He was so nervous about what he would find that he stayed in Cairo for three days before heading off to study the pyramids up close.
The trip didn't disappoint. What he found validated all he believed. Dunn discovered evidence of tool markings that could only be made, he says, by machine tools.
And that's just the tip of the pyramid.
Dunn began writing articles for various publications, introducing his evidence and theories, and in 1998, laid them all out in his first book, "The Giza Power Plant." He asserts that the interior design of the Great Pyramid looks like the schematic of a machine and produced energy.
Recently, the book was sold to a Russian publisher in Moscow, and a Japanese publisher is interested, too. It's already printed in English, Spanish and Greek.
His work has been recognized in certain circles of Egyptology, and he has been part of several television programs on the Discovery Channel, Lifetime, the History Channel and part of three documentaries produced by Grizzly Adams television for PAX TV.
This week, Dunn will return to Egypt for his eighth trip since 1986. He'll spend more than a week, gathering more physical evidence to support his theories.
This time, Edward Malkowski of Champaign will join him.
Like Dunn, Malkowski has a day job, as a software developer for Busey Bank, and an enthusiasm for ancient Egypt. Malkowski also has researched and written about Egypt but from a historical and philosophical aspect.
The two, who have become the best of friends in the last two years, plan to co-write another book – on ancient Egypt, of course.
"Chris is a fantastic guy," said Malkowski, who stumbled upon Dunn's book, read it, liked it, contacted him and met him for lunch.
"The rest is history," Malkowski said. "We have fortes. Mine is historical and philosophical. Chris' is technical and engineering. It's a really good combination. Kind of like a yin and yang thing."
Peck, who has worked with Dunn for about 19 years at Danville Metal Stamping, says Dunn is intense about his work and about his Egyptian research, but at the same time he's laid back and has a great sense of humor. Danville Metal hired Dunn to oversee the company's laser about 20 years ago. Eventually, Dunn moved from engineering to human resources.
"He's a character and certainly the first person to make fun of me and of himself," Peck said, adding Dunn doesn't have an ego about his daily work or his research.
"I find Chris to be open to new ideas, and he doesn't get wrapped around his own ideas," he said. "That makes it fun to have a conversation with him."