Odis Jones was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his BAS from Central Michigan University in sociology, and he earned his Master’s in public administration from Western Michigan University.
Jones has spent the last 30 years of his life managing cities and helping economies grow from both a city and state perspective, both in the economics department as well as developing utilities and water server capacities.
In 2012, Jones helped redevelop the waterfront in Cincinnati, OH. He also helped to redevelop Gowdy Field in Columbus, OH, into a business park (2004-2007), made Obetz, OH, the logistics hub of the Midwest (2000-2004), and helped rebuild the skyline in Paterson City, NJ, from 2008 to 2012.
In 2013, Jones served as the CEO of the Public Lighting Authority of Detroit and led the effort to relight the city of Detroit, MI, by rebuilding the city streetlights and electrical grid. More recently, Jones served as City Manager/CEO of Hutto, TX, and led an economic boom that led to over $4 billion of private investment in the community to acquire a new water system.
Odis Jones is currently the CEO of Cobblestone Development. He resides in Hutto, TX, with his wife and five children, and is an active boater who enjoys the ride of the Great Lakes in Michigan.
1. Why did you decide to create your own business?
I realized that to maximize the value of your talent, you need to be in control of your destiny. What greater way than by owning your own business, where you are in complete control of your future in the return that you get in terms of value. So what we do at Cobblestone Development is we consult with cities and state agencies, and private sector leaders, to help them with financing growth opportunities within their community.
2. What do you love most about the industry you are in?
What I love is that it loves you to generate and execute on those creative juices, and the net result is a product that you can see, feel, and touch.
3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
My history inspires me every day. I was born and raised in the ghettos of Detroit, and what inspires me every day is always knowing that God took a boy like me and provided so much opportunity for me.
4. Who has been a role model to you, and why?
My high school football coach has been a role model for me. The reason is that he truly helped me understand how to fight through adversity and how to see adversity as an opportunity to make yourself better.
5. How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?
I maintain it by keeping perspective on the things that are truly important in my mind. One day we will all pass away in this world, and you’re not going to be able to take with you your job and the stuff you do. However, the people around you are going to be your family, so make sure you keep your perspective on how you want to be remembered. As for me, I want to be remembered as a good husband and father. Those help me keep me focused on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and making sure I spend time with my family.
6. What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
Live long, and enjoy life. That was advice that my great grandfather gave me. His message was to eat healthily and get good sleep to help you live for a long time. He died at 102 years old. He fought in WWII and was one of this nations’ greatest heroes. So I asked him before he passed away what was his great secret, and he said, there are three things you have to do. One, leave your faith and rest in the lord. Two, eat well. And lastly, sleep hard.
7. What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment was my opportunity to go to my hometown in Detroit and put in a streetlight system. Now every time I go back home, I drive around and I see my work as the night falls, and the lights come out. The people in my community are safer for it.
8. What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
The biggest life lesson I’ve learned is that every day you have an opportunity to achieve a different level of greatness. If you do the same thing today as you did yesterday, you would be a fool to expect something different tomorrow. So take advantage of the opportunities you have throughout the day to improve your life and improve the lives of other people.
9. Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
Spending time with my kids and my family. It’s those moments where you can get outside of your world and get into another’s world, so you can truly appreciate the value that they bring to your life. When I’m with my children and my family, that defines me because I’m always trying to figure out what they’re thinking, what they are doing, and how do I help them improve their lives.
10. Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
In five years, I want to have a company that is worth $20 million. I want to have a company that is less reliant on me to drive the business every day, one that’s more homogeneous so that I can spend more time at home with my family.
11. Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
I think the proudest day of my professional life was closing on the bonds that I needed to purchase the water system for the city of Hutto, TX. This town needed to be in control of its water sources, and in order to be able to orchestrate a deal where the city was able to acquire them, we needed to close in on the bonds. This will help the community live and breathe in a healthy way over the next hundred years. To me, that was a proud moment, knowing that I helped my town for years to come.