UPDATED – Age 56 may seem like a scary time to make a career leap, but Jerry Jones is taking inspiration from lyrics by his favorite singer-songwriter, Neil Young:
“In the field of opportunity, it’s plowing time again.”
The Slawson Cos. vice president of commercial development, who has been with the firm for almost two decades, is leaving to start Jones Commercial Development. He’ll focus on property development and also do some brokerage and land-use consulting and will still handle some listings for Slawson.
“I always wanted to have my own company but it never seemed like the time was quite right,” Jones says.
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He says things were going well with Slawson. Then he experienced what he calls “a life-changer” when his brother died last fall.
“It really changed my perspective on things,” Jones says.
He says people always talk about living each day like it’s the last.
“When you see that happen firsthand, it makes you think,” he says.
“Some of these things I’ve been thinking a long time. Maybe I better do them now.”
Jones says there’s a bit of fear of the unknown, but that’s not his overwhelming feeling.
“I’m really looking forward to starting over and working on some new projects.”
He says Wichita is poised for a new wave of growth unlike what it has experienced recently, and he wants to contribute as an entrepreneur.
“I’m really bullish on Wichita.”
Jones’ last day at Slawson is Friday, and then he’ll open an office in Old Town. He won’t have any employees initially.
CBRE Group will now handle leasing at Slawson’s NewMarket Square, a 110-acre development that Jones helped develop into one of the largest shopping centers in the state.
“Slawson’s got a great real estate team,” Jones says. “It’s been together for a long time. They’ll definitely keep rolling along.”
Slawson president Todd Slawson says the firm is sorry to see Jones leave.
“We are confident that Jerry’s success at Slawson will carry over into his future ventures,” Slawson said in a statement. “We wish Jerry the very best and look forward to working with him on future projects.”
Jones says it’s exciting to finally make his move.
“I’m going into this with a lot of experience and the support of a lot of people I’ve worked with over a long period of time,” he says.
“If I didn’t do it now, I’d never do it,” he says.
What’s more, Jones says, “I would have always questioned not doing it.”