Kent Jones is Always Looking for Improvement

Posted on Nov 30, 2015

Kent Jones"I spent my life being an auditor and looking for things that can be done better," Kent Jones explains. Jones, 76, has been a director of the Grant County Economic Development Council for nearly five years. He was also part of the group that originally was asked to help establish the EDC. "I think communities need to have some leadership entity to help coordinate the growth of that community," Jones says. Jones explains that the city and the county can't do that job, so it falls to the EDC.

Jones, a man with a ready smile, moved to Moses Lake from California in 1948 when he was 8 years old. He attended Washington State University and Eastern Washington University, but decided he was wasting his time and his parents' money, so he joined the Army. He spent two years in Munich, Germany saying it was "wonderful duty."

Jones got his real estate license in 1962 and "failed miserably." "They forgot to tell me you had to work in this business." After a few years working outside of real estate, he returned and was successful, obtaining his Real Estate Brokers license in 1969. "Real estate is a people business," Jones says, "and I like people. Real estate doesn't have problems, only people have problems."

The challenge of real estate today, Jones explains, is "staying ahead of the consumer." With so much information available, the job of the real estate agent is to "interpret" and decide what to do with that information. "It's communication," Jones says.

Jones has also been a Port of Moses Lake commissioner for thirteen years. "A whole lot involved in being a commissioner," he says. "It feels good to help a community grow and have some direction on where that growth would take place." The one part of being a commissioner that Jones does not enjoy is the "political aspects." Jones says he tried to run for the legislature but lost. "I think I would have been a good legislator, but I was a terrible politician."

When he was asked by EDC President Juliann Dodds to be on her executive committee, Jones became a director at the EDC. Jones says he's never shy about sharing his opinions and he thinks the EDC is "doing its job description. What it tells its donors and directors it's doing." But "You don't have to get sick to get better." Jones adds: "We need to make sure the growth we have is consistent with the community we like."

Jones is glad the EDC helps local businesses and would like to see more of that. "Competition for businesses among states is really high. If you don't take care of them, they will go elsewhere in a heartbeat."

"Overall, people need to take more interest in the EDC because of the affect it has on the growth of the community," Jones says. "Maybe we as directors need to let people know" more about the EDC.

The biggest change Jones has seen in Grant County is that when he came here, Moses Lake had a population of 800. They'd just built a new high school on the edge of town, surrounded by alfalfa fields. It's now Frontier Middle School. "The world is changing so fast," Jones says with a characteristic smile.

"Grant County and Moses Lake are new communities," Jones says. "The attitude new people bring is good."

Jones likes the weather in Moses Lake. He and his wife enjoy travel, making regular trips to Mexico. "Someplace warm," he says. He likes to go in mid-February "for a couple of weeks" so that when he comes back, spring isn't far away. If he went in January, he adds, he doesn't know if he could stand waiting through February for spring.

Last year, for their 50th anniversary, Jones and his wife, Pam, took a Danube river cruise. He got to go back to Munich and explore and see the changes since he was there in the Army.

He enjoys golf with friends and working in his yard. "I like my yard."