Chris Jones steps forward to accept the Businessperson of the Year award from Mardi Anson, outgoing Craig Chamber of Commerce Board president, on Friday night at the State of the County event at the Holiday Inn of Craig. Jones works as an accountant at Jones & Associates, a local business owned by his brother, Don Jones.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Chris Jones steps forward to accept the Businessperson of the Year award from Mardi Anson, outgoing Craig Chamber of Commerce Board president, on Friday night at the State of the County event at the Holiday Inn of Craig. Jones works as an accountant at Jones & Associates, a local business owned by his brother, Don Jones.

Local accountant named 2012 Businessperson of the Year

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An Interview with Chris Jones

Chris Jones, an accountant with Jones & Associates, Inc., was recognized Friday night as the Craig Chamber of Commerce 2012 Businessperson of the Year during the annual State of the County dinner. Jones talked about the award Saturday from his office on Yampa Ave.

Chris Jones, an accountant with Jones & Associates, Inc., was recognized Friday night as the Craig Chamber of Commerce 2012 Businessperson of the Year during the annual State of the County dinner. Jones talked about the award Saturday from his office on Yampa Ave.

Quotable

“Anytime people think high enough to give you an award, it’s very special. But, I think it is just a reflection of what this community values.”

— Chris Jones, Craig Chamber of Commerce 2012 Businessperson of the Year

Tracking down the 2012 Businessperson of the Year on a Saturday afternoon in Craig isn’t difficult, but you have to know where to look.

This year’s winner is a passionate college hockey fan and also dedicated to his family.

It would be a safe expectation to find him at home combing the networks for a rare afternoon telecast of his beloved Colorado College Tigers or spending quality time with his wife, Amy, and their two children, Emma, 8, and Hudson, 6.

But less than 24 hours after being honored by the Craig Chamber of Commerce at Friday night’s annual State of the County dinner, Chris Jones was at 458 Yampa Ave., with his brother, Don, working.

It’s tax season after all.

Jones, 38, is an accountant with Jones & Associates.

Although people around the country have two extra days to file their taxes this year because April 15 falls on a Sunday and April 16 is a holiday in Washington, D.C., Jones said tax season ramped up about two weeks ago with locals looking to get their returns done early.

Despite the influx of business, Jones worries the two extra days are going to give the procrastinators even more reason to put off filing.

“We’d like to tell people the deadline is April 1,” Jones said. “But, the reality is we do have two extra days this year.”

Jones was raised in Craig and graduated from Moffat County High School in 1992.

Four years later, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colorado College and spent his first 13 years out of school in the risk management insurance business in Denver.

He returned to Craig in September 2009 to work for his brother. To get up to speed on the business, Jones attended Regis University in Denver as a commuter and earned a master’s of science in accounting in 2010.

He is currently preparing to sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam.

But, it’s not because of his work ethic and dedication to the job alone that Jones was recognized Friday night. In a city like Craig, community involvement also plays a big part in the Chamber’s decision to honor people and businesses.

“In a community like this it kind of goes hand in hand,” Jones said. “You have to do both because you want to do both.”

Mardi Anson, outgoing Chamber of Commerce Board president, presented Jones with the Businessperson of the Year award Friday.

During her presentation, Anson touched on all of the boards and associations Jones has been involved with since his return to Craig less than three years ago, including the Moffat County Youth Basketball Association, City of Craig youth sports, the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, and the soon to be officially announced, Friends of Moffat County Education.

“In the few short years he has been in Craig, he has been described as a community leader,” Anson said. “He has a positive vision for our future, he is humble, has a lot of energy, and is encouraged by everyone’s ideas.

“He is a professional in everything he does and believes in making Craig a better place to live, work and raise our children.”

Anson’s words may be spot on, but there is one characteristic that shines through in Jones’ personality more than others — his humble disposition.

Jones said he was shocked he was chosen for the award. He thought he was only there to present the Moffat County Quality of Life awards, a community effort he spearheaded.

“It was a surprising honor … because there are so many people that do so many things for this community,” Jones said. “Just to be considered one of those people was quite an honor, but I think there are a lot of people that are much more qualified for the award than I was.”

Jones said the evening was made even sweeter because his father, also named Don, was there to share it with him.

“It doesn’t get any better than this, it really doesn’t,” the elder Don said before announcing the evening’s Large Business of the Year award winner. “As a parent, as a father, it makes me very, very proud.”

Jones said his father, who sits on the Chamber Board, had no idea he was going to receive the award.

Jones, like his father, is a man of few words. He said his father’s comments Friday night was a surprising display of emotion.

“It was very special because a lot of things I’ve learned, in terms of hard work and treating people right, come from him,” Jones said. “For him that was emotional and knowing we’re kind of a silent, quiet type when things are said we know how difficult that is.”

Jones maintains he is the last person who should have received the Businessperson of the Year award, but speculates the community must have seen certain qualities they respect somewhere inside him.

“Anytime people think high enough to give you an award, it’s very special,” Jones said. “But, I think it is just a reflection of what this community values.

“They like the people that are willing to roll up their sleeves and get the work done.

It’s something you do, not because there is a chance you are going to get an award, but because that is what your passion is.”

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