Kenneth Jones, medications president of Prestige Construction Group, Inc., would describe himself as a “pitbull”. It’s a person who never gives up and keeps moving forward. It was with this mentality that helped him to be awarded the 2013 Top Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Award.
According to a Prestige Construction press release, the award is designed to pay homage to women and minority business owners in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington, D.C. The MBE Award recognizes those entrepreneurs who fuel the region’s economy through their innovation, dedication and sacrifice. Jones has definitely served the region’s economy well with his projects and ambition to succeed.
Jones said his goal-driven attitude was instilled in him from birth. Growing up during the 1950s and ‘60s in Prince Edward County, Jones addressed the things he saw during the Civil Rights Movement that helped him to grow as a person.
“That’s where the Brown v. Board of Education started in Virginia. I was born in that era,” Jones said. “Being born in that era you had to fight, not physically but to get things accomplished. To get things accomplished you had to be like a bull dog. You had to get a hold of vision, know that you’ve been called to do this and stick to it.”
Jones’ older brother, Michael, also adds that he has always been very disciplined. He said that Jones was always very goal driven and that even though he is his younger brother, he looks up to him because of his achievements.
“He’s always been disciplined. He’s very focused when he sets his mind to do something, since early on his focus has always been intense,” Michael said. “He always sets a goal forward and until he achieves that goal he doesn’t stop … I admire him for that … He’s just a driven individual. You can’t teach that, it’s always been innate in him.”
Jones also pays homage to his mother and pastor, who have both been huge influences in his life. Both have helped him make it to where he is today. He says that his pastor, Dr. Viola Taylor, taught him how to stick to his goals until they’ve been reached. His mother Helen, who died a year after he started his business in 1992, instilled his pitbull mentality in him as a child.
“She always encouraged me to look at the bright side of things,” Jones said. “She pushed me outside of my comfort zone and didn’t allow me to be complacent.”
With all of this support and help growing up, Jones was able to start his own construction business. According to his website, in 1991 he founded the regional construction firm Prestige Remodeling and Construction, Inc. specializing in residential renovations and improvements. After building projects in the southern, southwestern and central Virginia area, Jones expanded the company into commercial and industrial areas. Along with the expansion came a name change as well. As of 1997, the company would be known as Prestige Construction Group, Inc.
Jones said that out of his projects he’s most proud of five: the Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni House; the South Lawn Project at the University of Virginia; the Maggie Walker House at the corner of 1st and Leigh Street; the Moton Museum in his hometown of Farmville; and the Hunton Student Learning Center on the MCV campus of VCU. The project that was very special to him was the Moton Museum because it was where he went to middle school during the 1950s.
“My class was the first to go back to school in Prince Edward County when they opened schools after Brown v. Board of Education,” Jones said. “I had the opportunity to go back and make a museum out of the middle school where I went to school at during that time and commemorating that era.”
Of course, with these many projects comes recognition. Aside from winning the Top 100 MBE award this year, Jones was recognized as the Minority Construction Firm of the Year by the Richmond Council for Minority Business Development in 1997. In 2006, Prestige was chosen as Business of the Year by the Central Virginia Business and Contractors Association. Jones stays humble, though, and says he would not have been able to accomplish this without help.
“I can’t do this alone,” he said. “I need to have good people around me and I think I do.”