Parker County Today July 2016 - Page 9

PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY that I like.’ I went to work for the Jones’ company and Jeff and Jon and I all worked together — for a while.” Kelley worked for the family business for just under three years. It was also with his father that Jeff Jones got his first taste of auto racing.  “It was something that my father and I enjoyed together,” Jeff Jones said. “Together we raced Super Comp and Super Gas cars.” Sadly, that all ended when Jeff and Jon’s parents filed for divorce. “My father went through this really bad mid-life crisis,” Jeff Jones said. The rift between their parents drove a wedge between the family business and the younger Joneses when one day their father, David Jones walked into the office with documents outlining the way property would be divided between him and his estranged wife. “He told me to take those papers to my mother and get her to sign them,” Jeff Jones recalls, adding that when he declined to put pressure on his mother, his father fired him.“ They were all very young and just starting out in life, so the whole thing couldn’t have happened at a more inopportune time, but he moved on quickly. Jon Jones and Kelley left as well.  “John and Jeff and I have always worked together in some way since I graduated from high school,” Kelley said. The rift in the family didn’t change that. They all worked for a couple of different construction companies including one very good, solid company and another that was neither of those, but even working for a good company, the entrepreneurial spirit, born into the three of them would not rest. “I even interviewed with a great company in Dallas,” Jeff Jones said. Essentially, the interviewer told him that despite his impressive talent and ability, there was no place in the company for him. “He said I had been ruined by growing up in my family’s business because I’d never be happy until I owned my own company.” Turns out, the interviewer was correct. In 2000, Jeff Jones, Jon Jones and Holger Kelley left the commercial construction company they’d been working for to establish Imperial Construction. “Everyone said a partnership between the three of us would never work. They were wrong. Do we disagree?” Jon Jones said. “Absolutely. But we don’t fight. We’ve never gotten close to saying that’s it. We’re calling it quits.” Kelley received the same advice from nay-sayers.  “Yeah, everybody said, partnerships as a whole never work,” Kelley said. “But what they didn’t understand is that the three of us actually complete each other. We each fill in the gaps that the others have.” That’s not to say the three very large personalities don’t clash. “We don’t have much friction, now,” Jon Jones said. “We’re older and wiser. In the beginning we had some, er, ah moments. About two months into this we had a disagreement. I was frustrated. … it was early in the morning. He (Jeff) got up in my face. There was some JULY 2016 President Jeff Jones said of the racing team. “A lot of our staff come with us to races. It’s really good for the whole company.” There’s a lot of togetherness among the Imperial Construction team. Not only do two brothers work closely alongside their best friend, Holger Kelley (best friends since their preteen years), but most of the time they play together as well, not only in auto racing but also in fishing and boating.  The guys certainly need a “vehicle” (pun intended) for chilling out (if you can consider driving a race car at 260 miles-per-hour “chilling”), for blowing-off steam. They operate a rapidly growing company in the highly competitive field of commercial construction — an industry of triumphs and amazing accomplishments as well as any missteps you might make. They haven’t really made many of those since founding Imperial in 2000. Today, it seems that almost every high-profile commercial building project in Parker County has the word “Imperial” emblazoned on a sign in front of the construction site. Imperial can count some recent Parker County coups. One big one came when local lawyer Jim Eggleston suddenly had to find a construction firm that he trusted to build a replacement for the once-stately building. Eggleston selected Imperial. While it’s no small feat to replace a beloved landmark on Weatherford’s Historic Square (the building, originally constructed in 1881, began to disintegrate last November), it’s also a huge honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of such a high-profile project.  Jeff Jones and Jon Jones grew up working in their father’s construction company.  Jeff Jones, the eldest child, went to work for his father first, while still a teenager. His brother followed his lead, as did their longtime friend, Holger Kelley. Jeff Jones and Jon Jones met Kelley in Junior High. “I met Jon when we were both in the eighth grade,” Kelley said.  Pretty soon, Kelley was a regular guest at the Jones home North of Weatherford. “They had some land and there was always something to be done around their place. His dad had a construction company. At random I’d help Jon around the house or his mom or dad around the house. When I graduated high school their dad told me, ‘I’m not going to discourage you from college, but if that is a path you choose not to take, I’d love to have you come to work for me. Your work ethic is something 7