One of the telltale signs of outstanding leadership is the desire to help strengthen the knowledge, skills and commitment of every person within one’s organization. That desire burns bright in Adam Jones, vice president and director of quality assurance at Massey Services, who leads the company’s technical services, risk management, training and development, and acquisition integration efforts.
“Adam is a natural teacher, coach and trainer,” says Tony Massey, president of Massey Services. “He works tirelessly with our field operations and technical trainers to ensure protocols are understood and strictly followed.”
Jones’ influence doesn’t stop with Massey Services, either. Well respected for being an industry advocate and champion, he serves as president of the Florida Pest Management Association (FPMA), working to effect positive change and support pest management professionals throughout the state. In addition, Jones is regularly involved in key discussions on government regulations, environmental responsibility and other topics that affect how Massey Services and other companies conduct business.
His deep-rooted technical knowledge, coupled with an uncanny ability to communicate even the most complex information in a way that is easily understood, made him Rick Beard’s first choice when he was recruiting a general manager to lead Massey’s GreenUP landscape services division in 1991, the year Jones joined the company from a major lawncare firm.
“Having worked with Adam at another company for several years, I knew that he was exceptionally bright in terms of developing systems and procedures,” says Beard, now regional manager of Massey’s South Central Florida Region. “Once he joined Massey, we saw that he was also a truly strong educator. He would go into the field and teach our technicians the importance of understanding and communicating to customers the benefits of what we were doing — aerations, for example, which were new to the industry — from an environmental standpoint.”
Barry Troutman, technical adviser for the National Association of Landscape Professionals and owner of Turf and Ornamental Technology, worked with Jones at Massey in those days. “Adam is a gifted trainer: He got people excited and taught them every aspect of providing excellent lawncare service,” he says. “In fact, he was so committed to training and education that he made the decision to take a step back from the general manager position he had been hired to fill to become service manager until he got everyone up to speed. His selflessness in making this move played a huge role in GreenUP’s success and demonstrated the most genuine kind of leadership.”
Mickey O’Brien, now claims manager, was approached to take over the general manager position when Jones made this move. “Adam was a visionary even then; he wanted to make the department stronger, particularly in the area of service, so he unselfishly moved himself into this training position. I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to not only become general manager but also work with the best trainer in the company.”
Since the successful launch of GreenUP over two decades ago, Jones has continued to play a pivotal role in Massey initiatives, including helping the company transition from a philosophy of pest control to pest prevention in the early ’90s, and researching, developing and launching the irrigation services program that has made Massey the largest irrigation services provider in Florida.
KEEPING HIS EYE ON THE BALL. Having spent a good part of his childhood living in the Los Angeles area, Jones became a huge Nolan Ryan fan. He shared Texas roots with the Hall of Famer, after all, along with a love for baseball. He also shared, from a young age, the ability to maintain razor-sharp focus in virtually any situation.
“If you had heard me talking about the mechanics of the game on the middle-school baseball field, you would understand how far back my analytical nature goes,” says Jones. “Even as a kid, I was looking at the science behind everything and explaining it to other people. As the team’s catcher, I felt it was my role to teach and lead.”
Jones considered pursuing an automotive engineering degree, but the lawncare company that had hired him for summer work exposed him to a different career path. He began progressing quickly, becoming a go-to tree and shrub specialist shortly after joining the firm.
Troutman recalls meeting Jones in the mid-80s: “As a technical director with the same company back then, I knew of Adam and his twin Alan before I met them, because people within the company would talk about these brothers in south Texas with the tree and shrub expertise,” he says. “I was impressed with their knowledge and saw that they were fantastic with customers. I was delighted when Adam and I ended up working at Massey Services together a few years later.” (Alan Jones later became president of his own landscaping firm in Houston.)
Adam Jones made his way to Massey when Beard recruited him in 1991. Beard had given Jones his first opportunity in a management position, moving him from Houston to Orlando to become assistant branch manager of the tree and shrub division with the lawn care firm. After joining Massey Services himself in 1990, Beard wasted no time pulling Jones into the mix when the GreenUP general manager position opened.
Jones says he had been weighing his career options at the time, but one conversation with Massey Services Chairman and CEO Harvey L. Massey convinced him it was time to make a move. “Within 20 minutes of talking with Mr. Massey, I knew this was the right company for me. Massey Services represented the family-owned values that had been missing from my previous company since its acquisition by a large corporation,” shares Jones.
Jones signed on with Massey and has never looked back. “We’re a team, a family,” he says. “Mr. Massey has built this organization on the foundation of principles that we all live by. A lot of companies write mission statements on paper, but we live ours every day. Anytime I’ve had difficulty making a decision, I remind myself to do what’s right based on our mission; this strategy has never failed me. There’s freedom and comfort in knowing we’re all focused on the same goals.”
ACCOMPLISHED TEACHER AND COACH Known across the industry as an analytical thinker devoted to technical and customer service excellence, as well as environmental stewardship, Jones challenges his team and others to examine every aspect of an issue before making decisions. Tony Massey describes him as the “cool head” in heated situations.
“Adam’s methodical, logical and calm approach is critical in potential crisis situations,” says Massey. “I respect his analytical approach and his clear, concise communication, and completely trust his judgment. He is thorough, ensuring that every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed.”
This analytical approach keeps the people on Jones’ Quality Assurance team focused.
“Working with Adam is fun and challenging. He is the master of ‘20 Questions,’” says Tom Jarzynka, senior director of Pest Prevention Quality Assurance. “No matter what subject comes up, he will challenge you to pause and think it through, to peel the onion and ensure that the information you’re basing your decision on is accurate. I tend to have a fast-thinking, let’s-get-it-done personality, so I appreciate the analytical discipline Adam brings to the process.”
Adds O’Brien, “Adam is committed to the development of every team member and provides the kind of leadership that makes each of us better at what we do.”
Ed Blumenthal, who was hired as a general manager in training nearly two decades ago and was promoted by Jones to termite training and technical director, says that Jones helped him hone skills he continues to use today. “When I was young and green, he taught me how to attack problems and communicate more effectively,” says Blumenthal. “Today, he trusts my judgment and gives me the freedom to do what I do, yet he’s there when I need his support.”
Jarzynka shares a similar perspective. “Adam makes it clear that he has confidence in our abilities by giving us latitude, but he also recognizes that we need additional support as priorities increase. He always has our best interests at heart, whether that means supporting our efforts to succeed on the job, teaching us to become good stewards of the environment, or encouraging us to participate in industry organizations.”
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY. Jarzynka points to Jones’ support of QualityPro and various technical committees of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) as an example of his dedication to the industry. It is support that one might expect from the president and longtime executive council member of FPMA.
Jones discusses why FPMA’s work is important and why he is proud to serve as the organization’s president: “Our industry remains strong even through market downturns, so it’s a great business to get into. However, the often complex regulatory issues related to pesticide usage, fertilization practices, OSHA and workers’ compensation concerns, and environmental stewardship can be a burden to established business owners and a barrier to entry for entrepreneurs. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to weigh in on these issues and to work with FPMA to help business owners navigate the regulatory environment by providing them with information, insights and support.”
His commitment to helping other business leaders extends to inviting them to visit Massey Services. “We frequently host key managers and executives from other companies who want to learn about Massey’s best practices, especially in the area of service protocol and quality assurance,” says Tony Massey. “Adam maintains contact with these industry professionals and occasionally visits their businesses to observe and consult with them regarding their operations and best practices.”
Additionally, Jones was a key driver in the creation of the Florida State Specialty Contractor License, and a key contributor to the related state exam. He also assisted in the development of the state building code and best practices for the installation of irrigation systems.
ENJOYING LIFE. Anyone who knows Jones recognizes that he loves his company, his industry and his job. Those who know him personally understand that he is as passionate about life as he is his profession.
“That passion people see on the job is ingrained in Adam’s personality; it naturally carries over into his personal life,” says his wife, Shielah Jones. “He’s not a ‘maybe’ kind of guy; it’s all or nothing. That’s how I am, too, so we complement each other’s personalities and have a lot of fun.”
Adam is an avid hunter. Among the activities he and Shielah enjoy together in their spare time are shooting — Adam is a competitive shooter and gunsmith, while Shielah says she just enjoys “plunking at targets” — and spending time with their 10-year-old son, Jack, taking their three dogs to the dog park or, when they’re vacationing, swimming and snorkeling in the ocean. Adam’s elder son, Jayre, who turns 30 this year, is a research scientist at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Troutman, who became fast friends with Jones when they worked together building GreenUP in the early ’90s, and later served as best man at his wedding, says that although Jones has his serious side, they’ve enjoyed a lot of laughs over the years. “Sometimes life gets hectic and you don’t get together with your friends as often as you’d like. Adam is the kind of friend who, no matter how much time passes, stays close. We spend five minutes together, and it’s like we were never apart,” Troutman says.
This aspect of Jones’ personality reinforces his impact as teacher and leader, roles he intends to continue filling at Massey Services for years to come. “This has never been just a job to me; I am not only a part of the Massey Services family but I also feel like part of the Massey family,” he says. “My goal is to finish my career here, mentoring as many people as I can and helping the rich legacy of our company live on.”