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Pascagoula professional receives association’s highest honor

Pascagoula’s John Jones was named 2004 Realtor of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Realtors (MAR). The award is the association’s highest honor and is given to a member in recognition of upholding the standards of professionalism, ethics and community involvement.

MAR’s Scott Bruner, said, “Quiet, capable, common sense leadership are how I would characterize John Jones’ contribution to the real estate profession. He best exemplifies what it means to be a Realtor.”

Jones, 62, is a member of the East Gulf Coast Board of Realtors and is a broker with John Jones & Associates in Pascagoula. He was nominated for the honor by the local board. A Realtor since 1988, he has earned numerous professional designations and teaches classes for MAR.

“I was surprised. I had no idea,” he said of the award. “When I went into real estate after doing other things, I think I was right where the Lord wanted me to be.”

He says he enjoys helping people get into homes, perhaps making a deal work when they don’t think they can afford to buy a home. He estimates that half of his time is spent on commercial real estate, and he likes locating new businesses in the community and helping develop new subdivisions.

“It’s a different world every day,” he said. “Some of my clients have turned out to be my best friends. It’s been very good to me and the people I’ve worked with over the years.”

Jones, who sold boats and motors for 17 years, says being a real estate professional has opened many doors for him. He’s traveled and made friends by attending National Association of Realtors conferences. He believes anyone who doesn’t like what they do should find something else to do or take a new approach to what they’re doing.

Shirley Coakley is a Realtor who did just that. She’s worked with Jones since 1991, and said, “He deserves this honor. He’s been extremely good to work with and I’m not surprised that he won it. He keeps all of us motivated.”

Coakley said she has been in the industry for 32 years but had stagnated before joining John Jones & Associates. “He got me going again and has been quite an influence on me.”
MAR’s Bruner said that Jones is a highly esteemed person who does the right thing for the right reasons. “He honors the code of ethics and lives it,” he said. “He practices what he preaches and teaches what he preaches.”

Jones is a past president of the local Realtors board and in 2002 was named the Mississippi Realtor Institute’s Instructor of the Year. He is also a past chairman of the association’s political action committee and a past president of the Mississippi Commercial Association of Realtors.

He feels it’s critical for Realtors to go to school and stay up to date. He loves teaching and says that’s what he would do if he got out of real estate. “When I’m teaching a class, I’m in another world,” he added.

Today’s technology is the biggest change he’s observed in real estate. He feels the days are gone when Realtors become licensed and don’t go back to school. “People are becoming well educated about real estate on the Internet, and that makes us stay on the cutting edge,” he said. “People know more now and that makes our job different. Realtors have got to be in a classroom every six months. “

Procedures that used to require one piece of paper now take 20 pieces. He also feels the tragic events of September 11, 2001, changed the way things are done. Now there’s an air of caution in doing business, especially with investment properties and dealing with banks and lenders.

In his town, he says property values are still quite a bargain and the business climate is good. “We’ve always had a strong economic development market and good city leadership,” Jones said. “It’s a pleasure to work with the government in Pascagoula and Gautier. Commercial and residential real estate are doing well.”

With Pascagoula hemmed in by natural boundaries, Jones says the city’s last subdivision has recently been completed. He thought the area would see some condominiums built this year and feels that’s on the horizon.

A native of Hurley, Jones has lived and worked in Jackson County all his life. He is involved with the Pascagoula Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Arlington Heights Baptist Church. He tutors in the public school system and works with the prison ministry through Gideons International.

He and his wife, Kay, have two daughters and sons-in-law, Jonna and Mart Windham and Jennifer and Ted Laperouse. Jones’ five grandchildren relish being at their grandparents’ camp on the Pascagoula River where there’s lots of fishing and swimming.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at mbj@msbusiness.com.

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