By Maureen N. Maratita
As a young man, Jeffrey B. Jones, now 52, was in no doubt what his family hoped for his future, and he recognized that.
In a 2004 interview, Jones told Guam Business Magazine that he and his siblings “knew that one of the reasons [my father] started the business was for the family — for the kids — and that was important to all of us.”
Jones began to contribute early on, he says.
“After I was 12 years old, I pretty much worked every summer.
“If we were on Guam, I would work at one of the J&G businesses (This was before Triple J). If we were in North Carolina for the summer, I would work on the farm with my uncle and cousins. I think my first job was driving a tractor during the tobacco harvesting or working in the Town House shoe department sorting shoelaces.” His first job at Triple J was washing cars.
His father, Robert H. Jones, came back to Guam in 1960, after attending college in North Carolina, to work at Jones & Guerrero Inc. with the late Kenneth T. Jones Jr., Robert’s brother and founder of the J&G group, which includes the Town House brand. In 1984, Robert Jones took the opportunities Guam presented and began to build his own business.
Born and raised on Guam, Jeffrey Jones is a graduate of Father Duenas Memorial School. He holds a 1985 bachelor’s in business from the University of North Carolina. Heading for college, Jones says, “My father said he would only pay for a business degree, so it was a pretty easy choice.”
At university Jones met his future wife.
- Jane Jones says, “Jeff and I met in first semester English class during our freshman year of college. We have pretty much been a team since then, even though at times prior to marriage we were on opposite sides of the globe.”
Of the young man from Guam, she thought, “Why does this guy wear flip flops … and Ocean Pacific shorts in October when there is frost on the ground?”
From college, Jones began his working life in Guam.
Triple J Enterprises began as a small apartment rental business, followed by the acquisition of the Subaru franchise in 1984 from J&G and the launch of Triple J Motors.
Strategic businesses were acquired in the U.S. mainland. A Saipan office opened in 1985, and Triple J began spreading through Micronesia. In the next decade, Triple J grew and diversified.
Jones remembers the early years and the growth of the group.
He says, “Growing up in the family business always included the Management Training Program, which meant you worked several months in every department or division on the front lines so you knew how to do the job yourself. This was invaluable training for me and was respected by other employees in those departments over whom I later had oversight.”
In 1987 Jones opened and operated Thrifty Car Rental.
Jones prepared for his leadership role with auto industry training, and in 1990 became general manager of Triple J Motors. While leading that operation, he added several brands to the vehicle portfolio including Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Suzuki. Jones also planned and developed the Triple J Tire business.
Jane Jones remembers an important milestone.
In August 1995, she says, “I followed Jeff and his father into Bob’s J&G office upstairs in what is now called Agana Shopping Center. I witnessed many years of business accomplishments, all packed into boxes — some to take home and some to decorate the walls of the newly incorporated Triple J Enterprises.
“As we sifted through Bob’s history with J&G, I thought of Jeff and what his future held as the oldest son in the family and the birth of Triple J, a family business named after Jeff, Julie and Jay Jones. As the years have passed, Jeff committed himself and invested many of his waking hours to the growth and success of Triple J.”
In 2000 Jones was promoted to executive vice president. Under his leadership, the automotive division continued expansion with the addition of the Ford, Mazda and Volvo brands, as well as the development of Triple J’s dealership and headquarters in Upper Tumon, which opened in 2006. That growth was followed by the acquisition of Honda and Acura, as well as the Hertz Rent-a-Car franchise.
In 2012 Jones became president and chief operating officer for the Triple J group of companies in Guam, Saipan and Micronesia; these include the Triple J Auto Group, Triple J Food Group, Triple J Restaurant Group and Triple J Real Estate & Development Group.
Triple J does business throughout several industries, including wholesale food distribution, restaurant management, automotive and truck dealerships, car rental, real estate development and commercial tire operations and employs more than 650 people.
Triple J Enterprises Inc. ranked No. 3 on Guam Business Magazine’s Deloitte & Touche ASC Trust Corp. list of the Top Companies in Micronesia in the November-December 2015 issue of the magazine. The group reported gross revenues of $161.18 million for 2014.
Revenues have a direct bearing on Triple J’s corporate giving strategy.
Jones says, “Triple J has always given back to the community, but a few years ago we made a decision to give to the community proportionately based on our success. This has allowed us to be involved with many more great organizations and partner with more people that are dedicated to improving our community.”
Organizations that Triple J and Jones support include Guam Cancer Care, the American Cancer Society, the Guam Memorial Hospital Volunteer Association, the American Red Cross, Pacific Mission Aviation, the Boy Scouts of America, Junior Achievement, the Guam Football Association, the United Serviceman’s Organization, the University of Guam Endowment Foundation, the Lupus Awareness Group Guam, the Salvation Army, the Make a Wish Foundation and Harvest House.
Chiropractor Gregory Miller first met Jones in 1997. He says. “I had known him somewhat prior when I served on the Guam Crime Stoppers board of directors. Triple J provided a vehicle for Crime Stoppers use, but it was through church that we became close.”
Friendship between the two families followed.
Miller speaks highly of the character of Jones. “I believe that honesty and integrity are his best virtues. This is based on a strong Christian core value.
“The qualities that he has as a business leader are many. … He is very cordial and friendly. He is really a nice guy, even if you drive a Toyota.
“He is also very generous. I know that there are many things that Triple J does to help people or to enhance our community that are done with no press release. These are done because someone needed help.
“As a business leader his friendliness is important. It’s very easy for the private sector to become enemies of government. Jeff does not let this happen. He was raised on Guam and understands how closely related we all are.”
Among recent community service, Jones is 2015 chairman of the board of directors of the Guam Chamber of Commerce and 2014 to 2015 president of the USO Guam Advisory Council. He serves on the leadership board of Bayview Church as well as the board of Pacific Mission Aviation. As the American Red Cross Guam Chapter’s 2015 Red Ball chairman, he raised a record $250,000 for the chapter’s endeavors.
While his career progressed, Jeff and Jane Jones were building their family. Their children are Jessica, 19; Jonah, 17; Jasmine, 14; Jada, 11; and Josiah, 9.
Jane Jones says, “In our 29 years of marriage, Jeff has been employed at Triple J Enterprises. Over the years as the business and our family have grown, Jeff has also taken on the position of elder at our church and different roles in [the business community].”
Jones is a hands-on father, she says.
“He makes family time a priority in several ways. He plans a “Daddy Date” with each of our five children on a weekly basis (one child a week for lunch). Jeff enjoys reconnecting with our children, watching movies together and sharing the ups and downs of daily life with all of us.”
Jones enjoys sports, listing among his hobbies outrigger canoeing, paddle boarding and snow skiing. Jane Jones says, “He makes our children’s sport activities a priority as well, attending their soccer games, cross country meets and aikido promotions. To add to all of this, Jeff recently took the plunge and joined Cross Fit because our teenagers wanted to join.”
Jeffrey B. Jones: 2015 Executive of the Year