When Johnny Jones was a 12-year-old boy growing up poor in East Ridge, Tennessee, he had one pair of pants and one shirt.

Later, when Jones got out of the Army, he was so worried about hanging on to his savings that he drove to Tennessee from California, got an hour’s sleep, and then strapped on his tool belt to get back to work as a carpenter building houses.

Then there was the time when Jones, the father of three sons, had to sit his oldest boy down and explain the family needed to sell the son’s motorcycle and use the money to replace their home’s broken heating and cooling system.

Those hard times are behind Jones, now.

He’s the president, co-owner and co-founder of Lipsey Logistics and Lipsey Trucking, a fast-growing shipping and trucking company headquartered in Brainerd’s Eastgate Town Center that has about 100 office employees, a fleet of 100 semi trucks and drivers and revenue of almost $100 million in 2016 — up from $2 million when the company launched in 2010.

Jones has a home in Ooltewah, Tennessee, on acreage that is bought and paid for. He and his wife vacation at such places as Bar Harbor, Maine. Jones, a welterweight Golden Gloves boxer in his youth, donates to charities now, including the Chattanooga Y-CAP Boxing Club.

But he’s still driven by the memory of growing up in a loving, happy — but financially stretched — family of three kids raised by their single mother. It left Jones with the desire to create what he calls a “Leave it to Beaver” lifestyle for himself, his family — even his employees.

“My drive was for my sons and my family,” Jones said. “And now, this is my extended family.”

If you’ve got a full-time job, work is where you spend the better part of your waking hours, so it should be enjoyable, Jones said.

To that end, Jones says he doesn’t micromanage, he gives employees paid time off for family emergencies and he has an open-door policy under which any employee “can come in and close the door and we speak as equals.”

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By Tim Omarzu
Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press


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