Name: Marcus Jones
Hometown: Decatur, GA
Current Town: Detroit, MI
What Years at UGA: 2007 – 2009
School/Degree: College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Bachelor of Science, Environmental Resource Science
Profession: Entrepreneur; Business Owner and Real Estate Developer
Accolades: UGA 40 Under 40 Class of 2017; 2017 Nominee Bulldog 100, Inaugural Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day Winner 150k prize, Inaugural Motor City Match Top Winner, New Economy Initiative Top Winner, Selected to the Detroit Workforce Leadership Academy, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and the Aspen Institute.
What life lessons did you learn while at UGA?
“I learned perseverance and endurance. Classes at UGA are tough and rigorous; however, I was taught how to survive–by focusing on my goals and developing a great work ethic. I learned that if I put in my time and push through I would excel and could become a better student–and eventually a better entrepreneur. UGA taught me how to achieve my goals and to always be my best self by giving my all to whatever I pursue.”
What professor did you most admire (and why)?
“Dr. Jenn Williams, she was my professor for Agriculture Leadership in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. She helped me discover my strengths by having us perform self-assessments–in which we analyzed our character in terms of leadership. She provided me with the opportunity to build upon these assessments through leadership development. I really enjoyed her classes because they made me dig deep and do some soul searching, take a look at myself and see how I can become an even better person and leader. I can’t thank her enough for all she did. She was also one of the youngest professors in the college at the time, however, she had accomplished so much that I really looked up to her.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
“Launching a vocational school – Detroit Training Center (DTC). I helped establish a school that is rebuilding Detroit and changing lives at the same time. I moved to the city of Detroit during a time when the city was undergoing bankruptcy, had the state’s highest unemployment rate, and had extreme blight (vacant dangerous buildings) that littered the city. We started DTC to help decrease the unemployment rate and help train residents on the removal or deconstruction of the 70,000+ blighted properties here in Detroit. To-date we have had over 7000 graduates with 88% of the graduates obtaining employment after graduation. A countless number of our students are physically working to remediate blight and rebuild the city of Detroit. Graduates have even obtained jobs working on the new Detroit Red Wings/Pistons arena and will be a part of the construction of the new International Bridge to Canada. To see how far we have come in less than five years is amazing.
We are expanding, opening several other locations in various communities to replicate the same impact. I couldn’t be prouder of the hard work we put into starting this social enterprise.”
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
“Jesse Owens, he broke barriers and never let the negativity get to him. He represented America winning Gold Medals during an era where racism was taking center stage across the world. He stood for what was right to make a difference not just for himself, but for America- regardless of the backlash he received. I think that is pretty remarkable. They say if you do not stand for something, then you will fall for anything, and I believe just that. I believe we all have a purpose to help improve this world, so that it’s a better place after we leave this planet.”
Who are your heroes in real life?
“My father, he served in the United States Army. He was a part of Operation Desert Storm and toured overseas including in Afghanistan while I attended school, to help provide for our family. He’s a hero and I look up to him. He made sure he still played an active role in my life, even if he couldn’t physically be there all the time. I appreciate all of our armed service members who put their life on the line to protect our freedom and this country. My mother is also my hero, as she never gave up on me and encouraged me to always be my best self and to make her proud.”
Quote to live by:
“Follow your passion.”
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
“Doing what you love and being able to do it every day.”
What is your most marked characteristic?
“Being a visionary; I am driven, passionate, and creative.”
What do you most value in your friends?
“Loyalty, I have friends that I’ve known since I was in kindergarten and most of my friends I have known since elementary school. Although we all change and develop ourselves with the changes in life over time, we always stayed together and friends.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I would have liked to play football. I never played it in high school but would have loved to do so and I would have loved to play at UGA as a defensive back for the Dawgs. Also, I wish I had a photographic memory!”
Who are your favorite writers (and why)?
“McGraw-Hill. What can I say, I loved my textbooks, I really do enjoy reading textbooks and educating myself. I typically read all my textbooks from cover to cover.”
Fave social media and who to follow (and why)?
“Instagram, I can showcase my work to my friends and family. I can also see the work of the others and I can keep up with what’s going on in the world.”