IPS recognizes Andre Jones, ’81 Arlington graduate, for his impeccable drive to succeed.

Current president and owner of Pinnacle Equipment, Co Inc., Jones has managed a successful growing manufacturers representative company in Indianapolis for twenty years. He has managed to accomplish his goals as an entrepreneur which he credits IPS for the foundation that brought him success.

Driven to do well, Jones recently shares his story on finishing what he started; how his education and determination lead him to the successful entrepreneur he is today.

Early life in Indianapolis …

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

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

Your experience at Arlington H.S. …

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

Further, I really enjoyed hanging out with my friends. I enjoyed 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 myself. My theory was just to do the minimum to graduate.  Meanwhile, Mr. Clodfelter saw something; that I was good in math and he started to challenge me. Mr. Clodfelter was an inspiration.

Overall, I had a lot of fun in high school; nothing special, but fun. Between hanging with my friends and my auto shop 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 such as to finish what you’ve started. I didn’t fail any of 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 started; 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 4-year Sheet Metal Worker apprenticeship program. Completed 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 Pinnacle Equipment 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 my current business out of my home and when I outgrew the space, I bought a vacant gas station, which I worked out of for about 3 years. I then bought a building when that location outgrew which is where Pinnacle Equipment resides today. I still have the gas station, and I rent out the space to use for 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 help my mother and giving back to her for all her teachings she has installed in me over the years. I am most proud to be able to give back to her for all she has done and the sacrifices she made.

Family…

My wife, Shelley, and I have been married for 27 years. She is also an Arlington alum as she graduated in 1982 (Shelley Banks). Shelley is also the Controller for Pinnacle Equipment and my biggest supporter, we have two children; Miles is 24 and Paige is 22. We also have a grandson, Amir who is just 8 months. Miles is in his last year at the Art Institute and Paige works as a Mortgage underwriter.

Interests/ Hobbies …

I like remote control car racing; so much that 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. Also Join some boards to help give back.

Final Quote …

“Always finish what you start,” Andre Jones.

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”.