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Terry Jones

Founder of Syncom, Inc., Terry L. Jones graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut with his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. At Trinity, Jones founded the school’s first black student organization. Upon completing college, Jones worked as an electrical engineer for Westinghouse Aerospace and Litton Industries. He later returned to school where he earned his M.S. degree in computer science and biomedical engineering from George Washington University. In 1972, Jones obtained his M.B.A from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and became the co-founder and vice president of Kiambere Savings and Loan in Nairobi, Kenya. During his time in Nairobi Kenya he served as lecturer at the University of Nairobi. In 1977, he returned to the United States to join Syncom Inc. as Vice President.

Over the years Syncom has been responsible for investments made in companies such as Black Entertainment Television (BET), Radio One, TV One, Buenavision Inc. and the District Cable Incorporated. In 1990, Jones became the President of Syndicated Communications, Inc. and Syncom Capital Corporation. He has served as Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of Citi Group Global Investment Management and Citi Group Asset Management. In 1993, he was the Vice President of Finance and Planning Chief Financial Officer of TIAA-CREF. Since then he has worked as Vice Chairman and Executive Officer at Citi Group Global Investment Management and Citi Group Asset Management. He has also worked as the director of Cyber Digital Inc., Iridium Communications and Fox Entertainment Group.

Jones has served as a member of the board of Directors for a number of Syncom Portfolio companies and other corporations such as Weather Decisions Inc., V-me Media, Delta Capital Corporation and the Southern African Enterprise Development Fund. He has also served on the board of directors for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Phillip Morris Companies, Inc. and the Howard University Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation Institute. He has joined the board of trustees for Cornell University and Spelman College. He is the recipient of the New America Alliance Award of Excellence.

Accession Number

A2012.064

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/13/2012

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Trinity College

George Washington University

Harvard University

Central Academy of Excellence

First Name

Terry

HM ID

JON28

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

The Struggle Continues.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/23/1947

Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Popcorn

Short Description

Business chief executive Terry Jones (1947 - ) Founder, Terry Jones has invested in the development of industry-leading companies, such as BET, Radio One, and Iridium Satellite.

Employment

Westinghouse Corporation

Kiambere Savings and Loan in Nairobi

University of Nairobi

Syncom

Litton Industries

Goddard Space Flight Center

The Booker T. Washington Foundation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Terry Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Terry Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Terry Jones describes his mother's childhood in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about his paternal family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about his paternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Terry Jones describes race relations in Kansas versus race relations in Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Terry Jones describes his father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Terry Jones describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Terry Jones describes his parent's personalities and considers which parent he takes after the most

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Terry Jones lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Terry Jones describes his earliest childhood memories in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Terry Jones explains his family's migration to Omaha, Nebraska and back into Hiawatha, Kansas, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Terry Jones describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Hiawatha, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Terry Jones describes his childhood community in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Terry Jones describes his experience in Hiawatha Elementary School in Hiawatha, Kansas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about the impact of the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education on Kansas City schools

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Terry Jones explains his family's migration to Omaha, Nebraska and back into Hiawatha, Kansas, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Terry Jones talks about developing an early interest in engineering

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Terry Jones talks about playing the clarinet

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Terry Jones explains why he chose to be an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Terry Jones describes his extracurricular activities at Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Terry Jones describes his childhood mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about influential teachers at Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, including Dr. Jeremiah Cameron

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Terry Jones describes his summer jobs growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about the African American business community in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Terry Jones explains what inspired him to become an engineer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about applying to college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about East Coast elite academic culture

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Terry Jones describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Terry Jones describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about the Trinity College black student organization, the Trinity Coalition of Blacks (T.C.B.)

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about his involvement in campus protests at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about his involvement in protests at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about national political unrest in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about his post-graduation jobs in engineering

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about applying to Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about the curriculum and faculty at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about the African American Student Union alumni weekends at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities in Kenya after graduating from Harvard Business School

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Terry Jones describes his experience in Kenya

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Terry Jones describes meeting his wife, Marcella Jones

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Terry Jones describes planning a family and long-term goals with his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about his return from Kenya to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about his work with the Booker T. Washington foundation and the Federal Communications Commission tax certificate program for minorities

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Terry Jones explains venture capitalism

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about venture capital available to African American entrepreneurs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Terry Jones explains HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.'s departure from the Urban National Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the Federal Communications Commission's Minority Tax Certificate Program

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Terry Jones describes connecting with HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. and accepting a job at Syncom Venture Partners

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Terry Jones explains why he was interested in media entrepreneurship and Syncom Venture Partners

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about Radio One and HistoryMaker Cathy Hughes

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about how he contributed to the success of HistoryMaker Cathy Hughes' station, Radio One

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about investing in BET, Black Entertainment Television

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about investing in Latino and African American telecommunications companies

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about encouraging cities to diversify cable television ownership

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the success of cable in inner city neighborhoods

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about Syncom Venture Partners' financing of WorldSpace, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about Syncom Venture Partners' financing of WorldSpace, Inc., pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about the sale of WorldSpace, Inc.'s rights to XM satellite radio, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about the sale of WorldSpace, Inc.'s rights to XM satellite radio, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about the economic component of the movement for racial justice

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about the success of black businessmen Robert L. Johnson and Reginald F. Lewis

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about the Glass-Steagall Act

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the Iridium Satellite Company's technology and flaws in its original business plan

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about the purchase of Iridium Satellite LLC from Motorola

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Terry Jones describes making Iridium Satellite into a successful company

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Terry Jones talks about the success of TV One

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Terry Jones talks about investing in NuvoTV

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about how the internet has affected media and communications

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Terry Jones describes the impact of the economic crash of 2008 on venture capitalism

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Terry Jones talks about people of color becoming the majority in the United States population

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Terry Jones considers the profitability in media platforms for communities of color

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Terry Jones talks about the low number of minority entrepreneurs financed by Silicon Valley venture capitals

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Terry Jones talks about the Federal Communications Commission's auctioning off of portions of the broadband spectrum

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Terry Jones talks about the budget priorities of the federal government

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Terry Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Terry Jones reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Terry Jones talks about his three daughters

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Terry Jones talks about his volunteer activities

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Terry Jones considers what he might have done differently

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Terry Jones talks about his recreational activities

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Terry Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

9$6

DATitle
Terry Jones talks about developing an early interest in engineering
Terry Jones describes connecting with HistoryMaker Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. and accepting a job at Syncom Venture Partners
Transcript
Now you got keenly involved in science, now, you know, so this is, you know--how, who got you involved in science early? I mean how, or how did you, what, what drew you into science.$$Well, again, I, I always felt I was relatively balanced. I liked science. I liked art. But I think as I did things as a kid, like building things, and got, I remember getting an Erector set for Christmas one year because I'd shown this interest in it, in that kind of stuff. And I don't know if you remember Erector sets back in the day, but they used to be these beams, little beams, little aluminum beams, and screws, and bolts, and little motor you can--(unclear)--and, but you had to put things together and make a drawbridge or a this, or make a that. And so I used to do that, and I used get a lot of--what is it? People would congratulate or--I'm trying to think of the word--but you know, when people sort of pat you on the head and say that's really good; that's really good; that's really great; look at this; look at, look at what he did there. And all those kind, that was, that kind of feedback affects young people. It certainly affected me. I said hmm, this is something I'm--people think I'm good at. And you know (laughter), and I'd get, you know, praise for it because I, I growing up physically, I didn't get accolades for physical things because I was thin, and at that time short, and I just didn't have the, the genes to jump high and run fast like a lot of the other guys did. I mean I liked sports, and I did 'em, but I wasn't, I wasn't a winner. I wasn't the fastest. I wasn't the strongest.$$But you were a year behind the other--$$And I was, and I was--$$--students there.$$--and I was a year sort of, at least several months, behind most of the people in any class I was in. So, where I got my support and, and you know, sort of, you know, co, co--what do you call it--kudos, was, you know, people say oh, gee, look at he did this; he made that; he's, you know, is good at that, you know. And so you sort of, you sort of gravitate towards the things that you get rewarded and congratulated for. So that tended to be, you know, in engine, engineering kind of stuff, you know, little science stuff, little projects, math. And 'cause that didn't, didn't matter how many muscles you had or how high you can jump, you can do that. And so I wanted, being a seeker of adulation, decided to (laughter) to do that stuff and, and you know, was encouraged to do it as more, and the more encouragement it got and the same was with music. The more, more I played and studied music, the better I got, the more people say oh, isn't that great, the more it made me want to do it more and distinguish myself more. So, you know, it was just seeking approval. And seeking, you know, that really kind of help direct the course of, of, of things.$So Syncom [Venture Partners] was created in '78 [1978] as well, right?$$It did what?$$Syncom was also created in '78 [1978], right?$$Seventy-seven [1977].$$Seventy-seven [1977], okay. It's just on the eve of this F.C.C. [Federal Communications Commission]--$$Yeah.$$--rule, okay, all right. Okay, and, and Syncom hired you basically from Booker T. Wash, Washington [Booker T. Washington Foundation], right?$$Right.$$Right. How, how did that come about? I mean how, when did you first meet Herb Wilkins [HM Herbert P. Wilkins Sr.], and how did this happen?$$Herb had a--Herb was in Harvard Business School [Boston, Massachusetts] as well. And one, some of his best friends, one of his best friends, a guy named Len Fuller [Leonard Fuller]--and Len be another guy to interview (laughter)--Len offered me a job. He worked for a consulting firm here. And when I was in business school he offered a summer job to work with them. I didn't take it. I took the real estate thing, mortgage banking job, for the summer. And then when I came out of school and I went to Africa, Len was in Africa, in Nairobi [Kenya], just vacationing. And he and I hooked up together, and we just became friends. And he was impressed with what he thought I could do, and I was impressed with him. And he and Herb happened to be classmates and real good friends. When I took the job with Booker T. Washington Foundation, we were, as I said, doing cable television. We were getting franchises for cable television opportunities around the country. And when the job opening here came up in '78 [1978] at Syncom, I said, "I'm interested in getting, transitioning into venture capital, and Herb Wilkins is the guy." And so Len told me, he said, "Well, I know Herbert. He's one of my best friends. Let me tell him about you. Let me write him about you," blah, blah, blah. And so he kind of said, "Herb, you really need to talk to this guy," blah, blah. So I applied and talked with Herb, and we, he finally felt comfortable enough to hire me, so I became the vice president. But that's how that happened. That's how I came to Syncom. It was sort of I was in the cable area. Syncom was created to do cable and other broadcasting things. They needed a vice president. Herb with the Harvard Business School. I went to Harvard Business School. Len Fuller went to Harvard Business School. We knew each other. You should talk with each other, talked with each other, and ultimately came over.