It takes just a handful of minutes speaking to Rick Jones to realize something: CVAR (Central Valley Association of Realtors) got it right.
Recently Jones was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2020. An honor which he shared he felt honored, as well as humbled by.
In speaking with Jones about his recent honor and acknowledgment it becomes apparent why the Oakdale real estate broker and developer was chosen. Finding it hard to stay focused on the topic at hand – the honor he received – Jones shared numerous stories of his love for the community as well as the business of real estate and development.
“I built my first building in Oakdale in 1978,” Jones said of a commercial building.
A 1969 graduate of Oakdale High School, Jones attended University of California, Berkeley on a football scholarship. He majored in Business Administration and began his career in property development following graduation in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Mustang turned Bear shared being the son of a farmer he learned early on the drive and commitment to hard work and family.
“It’s a great profession, I love farming. I understand what it does in the industry,” he said, “I just didn’t want to be pruning and irrigating and thinning and all that.
“I was from across the tracks.” he continued. “It was my way of getting out, when I got a scholarship. I try not to look back. I’m always looking forward.”
And look forward he did upon his completion of studies at Cal. In time that look forward brought he and wife Rachel back to Oakdale, where he shared he felt they could make an impact on the community, as well as having a desire to raise their family here.
His return to Oakdale would prove much about Jones, most notably that he is indeed a man of action and truly walks the talk.
Upon his return he became involved in development of the North Oakdale project and the East F Street specific plan, which was annexed in to the city limits from the rodeo grounds to Stearns Road.
“I always thought the golf carts should be going down D Street and they just punched that road through. I’m happy to have had a part in that,” he said.
Transitioning from developer to broker, Jones got his broker’s license around 1998. The real estate mogul shared with his wife Rachel, a third generation Realtor and his knowledge, it just seemed logical … the couple started Touchdown Properties in 1999-2000 and then MVP (Most Valuable Player) Property Management Company.
“I decided to get a broker’s license because you know when you tell someone you’re in development they start to get a little antsy, they glaze over because they don’t get the environmental impact for the planning and all those kinds of things that it takes,” Jones said. “I just thank God every day; you know we’re just blessed. This community has given me so much over the years and I just try to do a very small part in giving back,”
Jones has also served as President of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, helped launch the Oakdale Cowboy Museum with Christie Camarillo, was an OJUSD School Board member, as well as Oakdale Council-President of the local association.
“In 2002 I decided I wanted to give back to the schools and was elected and spent 10 years on the school board,” Jones shared, likening the decade of his school board service to that of a Camelot time under the leadership of former Superintendent Dr. Wendell Chun.
According to Jones during that time the OJUSD Board took a $20 million bond and leveraged it to $80 million, which allowed for implementation of numerous district improvements.
“Improvements” which included the building of Sierra View Elementary School, new construction at Oakdale Junior High, the Oakdale High School pool expansion, a media center, as well as additional classrooms on campus.
“I wanted to give back something to this community. I got so much from this community, I would never be where I am without it,” Jones stated with an emotion-filled voice. “That was part of it. I’ve never spent any time looking back. I’m always climbing the hill.”
Along with his wife, Jones is quick to point out three others that have been instrumental in his life and success. Those three names are of notable Oakdale figures and former coaches, Norm Antinetti, Dale Clipper and Jack Walker.
“I’ve been blessed and I think I owe a lot of that to Oakdale High School and my teachers and my coaches there,” he stated. “I can’t say enough. They had my back. Coach Dale Clipper, Coach Norm Antinetti, Coach Jack Walker; just tremendous mentors. I can’t say enough about those three.
“I love them,” he continued of the coach trio. “They were so important to me growing up. They provided a path out of here. They met those college coaches during the recruitment process. There’s no way no matter what I did I could repay them for what they did.”
Jones, however, did not let his drive and desire to do more stay restricted to the 95361. In 2012 he decided it was time to give back to the real estate community. Jones became the Government Affairs Director for the Central Valley Association of Realtors.
“You get what you give. I’ve always felt like that, it’s a formula that’s worked,” he shared. “What have you done today to give back and try to replace yourself and what you do? To have a legacy. I think you have to think about that at some point in your life.”
Jones shared his continued feeling of blessing for a God-given gift of playing football, which provided his education and helped place him on a career path which he feels so passionate about.
“We fought for everything we had,” he said of growing up. “My dad held three jobs and I thought if I could get a college education that would be my way out and this community promoted me to do that. I just can’t say enough about it. That inspired me.”
Now, 43 years since developing that first commercial building in Oakdale, what’s next for the award winner? If Jones has any say, definitely not retirement.
“I love what I do and I’m at the top of my game,” he stated regarding the future. “We’ll see. As long as I’m vibrant and as long as I’m relative and as long as I can contribute, I’m going to keep doing it. That’s who I am. I’ll always want to continue to try and make where we are a better place.”
And as far as being recognized for what he loves doing? Icing on the cake.
“I never thought about a Lifetime Achievement Award. I was kind of floored, I was speechless,” Jones admitted. “They don’t give that out all the time.”