The Jones Family Legacy Of Leadership

photo by ebony magazine

The Jones Family legacy on the Southside of Chicago is built on integrity, technology, manufacturing, and jobs. Family patriarch Jerry T. Jones grew up in Mississippi, earned a Ph.D. in physics, and became one of the first Black scientists at NASA before founding Sonicraft in the 1970s. A Chicago-based electronics manufacturer, by the early 1980s Sonicraft had landed a $32 million US Department of Defense contract to produce highly sophisticated communications systems for the US Air Force. At the time, it was the largest federal government contract ever awarded to a Black-owned firm. At its height, Sonicraft employed more than 500 people at their headquarters on Chicago’s Southside.

The Jones family business was about more than manufacturing, technology, and jobs. Jerry T. Jones has met the Reverend Jesse Jackson shortly after the march at Selma, and they built a lifetime of collaboration focused on Black enterprise. Dr. Jones served as the first Chair of the Rainbow PUSH International Trade Bureau and worked alongside legendary champions for minority business like Anthony Robinson to expand economic opportunities from Chicago to the halls of Congress.

Bret Jones, Founder and President of Supreme Solutions, is following in his father’s footsteps. From his early career on the Hill working with US Representative Gus Savage (Illinois 2nd Congressional District), to building Supreme Solutions into a diversified business managing technical programs for federal agencies from HHS to FAA, Bret is committed to creating jobs in his hometown.

That is exactly why Bret led Supreme Solutions to launch a solar business, and it’s just one of the reasons Groundswell is proud to partner with him to build solar projects serving Chicagoans – beginning with a first-of-its-kind community solar project in Chicago Heights at Christ for Everyone Ministries, which is led by Bishop Kenneth Franklin.

This past week, the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce recognized Bret Jones as Businessman of the Year. Three generations of his family lined up beside him to accept the award. The celebration marked a milestone, but it’s just the beginning of what this generation of the Jones family will build as their legacy for the future.

“When I see solar panels and energy storage systems, I see jobs,” observed Bret Jones. “Engineering jobs, executive jobs, construction jobs, and the opportunity for business ownership. My father, Jerry T. Jones, built an enterprise that delivered high paying, high tech jobs to the Southside of Chicago. We’re going to do the same thing in our lifetimes with solar.”