Oct. 16, 2017

IPS recognizes Andre Jones, Arlington High School (Class of 1981), for his impeccable drive to succeed. 

Andre Jones, Arlington Alum

As president and owner of Pinnacle Equipment Co. Inc., Jones has managed a successful, growing manufacturer’s representative company in Indianapolis for 20 years. He credits his entrepreneurial spirit and his accomplishments to the foundation and skills learned in IPS schools.

Driven to do well, Jones recently shared why he believes in finishing what you start, and how his education and determination have led to his success and his desire for continued growth.

Early life in Indianapolis …

I attended several IPS schools including School 1, 110, 83, 53 and Forest Manor. I also attended Arlington High School for all four years and took auto body courses at Arsenal Tech.

Growing up, I had a close group of friends at each school I attended, which led me to knowing a lot of people in Indianapolis today.

Your experience at Arlington High School …

I had a wonderful experience at Arlington. I was a “gear head” and had a strong interest in cars, which led to me participating in Tech’s auto body magnet program. We used to work on destroyed cars; I also worked on my own car.

Further, I really enjoyed hanging out with my friends, going to football games and other events going on at school. I was always hanging out at school; I would even go to school early and stay late because it was where my friends were. As much as we hung out at school, we did not get into trouble. Arlington was just a good place of comfort for us.

I graduated a semester early and though it was a big deal, I still went to school for the remainder of the year because that is where my friends were and I wanted to be around them. We had the best of times.

Fondest IPS memory as a student …

I remember my algebra teacher, Mr. Clodfelter being very influential. He must have seen something in me that I didn’t see in myself. My theory was just to do the minimum to graduate. However, Mr. Clodfelter saw that I was good in math and started to challenge me. He was an inspiration.

Overall, I had a lot of fun in high school. Between hanging with my friends and my auto body class, I gained a wonderful experience.

My IPS education prepared me for ….

Everything … life. My education gave the foundation for my current life. It taught me lessons, including to finish what you’ve started. I didn’t fail any of my classes because I knew I needed to finish and have a high school education to succeed. I knew I wasn’t going to college, but I also knew I needed to graduate high school. I’ve always carried with me that one must complete what they start, so don’t start it if you aren’t going to finish the race.

Higher Education …

I went to ITT Technical Institute for a one-year Heating and Air Conditioning certificate. I then took a four-year Sheet Metal Worker apprenticeship program. I completed the SBDC Nx level for Entrepreneurs course and HVAC piping and Design at Butler University.

My life since graduating …

I worked at APEX Industries for 14 years and UPS for a few years. At the age of 34, I started my own company, Pinnacle Equipment. Today, I am still the sole owner of the company and employ nine people. My company is a great since of pride.

Additionally, I enjoyed drag racing for years and started a motorcycle parts sales business to support my hobby. I also started a tree stump removal business in 1993 and still have it today as a side business.

I started Pinnacle Equipment out of my home. When we outgrew that space, I bought a vacant gas station, which I worked out of for three years. I bought our current building (on Milburn Street) because of the company’s continued growth. … I still have the gas station, which I rent out to auto mechanics. I was nervous when I bought the current building, but in retrospect, it has been one of the best business decisions of my life.

Proudest accomplishments …

Starting Pinnacle Equipment and having a successful business for 20 years. I am proud to be in a position to help my mother and to give back to her for all of the sacrifices she made for me and the teachings she instilled in me over the years.

Family…

My wife, Shelley (Banks), and I have been married for 27 years. She is also an Arlington alum; she graduated in 1982. Shelley is the controller at Pinnacle Equipment and my biggest supporter. We have two children: Miles, 24, and Paige, 22, and an 8-month-old grandson, Amir. Miles is in his last year at the Art Institute of Indianapolis; Paige works as a mortgage underwriter.

Interests/ Hobbies …

I like remote-control car racing. My son and I race together; we even travel out of state to compete. I also enjoy motorcycle riding and golf.

Vision/Dreams …

To see more trade school and apprenticeship opportunities promoted for those not able to attend college. I would also like to join some boards to help give back.

Final Quote …

“Always finish what you start.” My best advice to my younger self and students today would be to listen to your parents, because they are older the wiser. I always tell my mom, “The older I get, the smarter you were.”