Author, Climbing Out of Adversity (2011, Excel Books)
Chairman/CEO, FillTech USA
Founder/CEO, Creative Technologies, since 1989
Founder/CEO, PHI, Inc., since 1989
Founder/Chairman/CEO, Sona MedSpa, Inc., 1999-2004
Overcoming Challenges: Dennis R. Jones
DOWN THE WRONG PATH
Dennis never did well in school. On his first day of school, Dennis, then 7, brought some comic books to school and some of the kids asked to see them. When they wouldn’t return them, Dennis hit one of the kids. The teacher dragged him down to the principal’s office and he was marked a troublemaker for the rest of his days in school.
When Dennis was 14, the assistant principal accused him of smoking (he wasn’t). When Dennis protested, the assistant principal shoved him. As soon as he pushed him, Dennis punched him in the jaw and knocked him out. “That was the end of my formal education,” says Dennis.
He started hanging out with the next door neighbor who had already been to reform school. They would sneak out of the house at night and hotwire cars. “We would always bring them back…we told ourselves we weren’t actually stealing them, we were just borrowing them,” says Dennis.
One night, they hotwired a car and drove to West Virginia. They hitchhiked to Kentucky and stayed 3 weeks then went home. Soon the next door neighbor kid got picked up by the police and he confessed everything. While Dennis had never been in trouble with the law, he spent 97 days in the Newport News city jail waiting for his trial.
The judge gave Dennis no leniency and sentenced both kids to 9 years in jail without a recommendation for parole. He spent a year in prison. Then Dennis went before another judge in Charlottesville, VA who reviewed his records and dismissed the case. Dennis, 15, was free!
CLIMB ING OUT OF ADVERSITY
He started working at a barber shop and soon started winning competitions. A few years later, Dennis, 19, packed up his belongings and moved to Miami. He opened the first hairstyling studio in Miami Beach and was extremely successful.
At the same time, Dennis discovered the party scene and did drugs day and night. After a year and a half, Dennis was burning himself out. One of his friends called and asked Dennis to help him get his salon business turned around in Virginia. After a few months, Dennis started his own salon, the first unisex salon in Virginia, and it was an instant success. Money was his god.
Dennis was in his car on top of a mountain and a vision of the Lord appeared. The Lord reminded Dennis of His word, “I own the cattle on a thousand hills.” Dennis felt the Lord tell him to use what money he was blessed with to usher in the second coming of Jesus. After he drove down the mountain, Dennis was born again.
By the late 1970s, Dennis had built and managed several successful businesses. One day in 1977, Cookie walked into his Williamsburg studio looking for a job. For 7 years, they were friends. Then in 1985, Dennis and Cookie were married. Demmos jas travelled on missions trips to Nigeria, West Ghana, Russia, etc. (Dennis was chairman of the board for Accelerating International Mission Strategies.)
He also developed hair care products for hair loss and hair transplants. Dennis developed the franchise model that provided laser-hair removal. “I don’t believe God has called Christian businessmen and women to just build businesses,” says Dennis. “I believe He has called us to be involved in building people’s lives.”
Dennis believes the challenges we face as a nation cannot be won politically but only spiritually. “The underlying theme of my concern is that the church at this time in history is becoming more politically correct than biblically correct,” says Dennis.
Change is a part of life, Dennis says, and if you believe God is speaking to you about a transition that’s about to happen in your life, it’s important to let Him bring it about in His own way and in His own good time. Dennis never forsaw all the great blessing and changes in his life, but God has done great things - starting with his family.
Dennis's parents didn’t know the Lord and had a hard beginning in life – his mother was Catholic and her family spoke little English and his Dad was raised in a Baptist home but never went to church. His dad worked hard in the Newport News Shipyard for 47 years and was an alcoholic. His mother came to know Christ personally when one day she walked past a church and heard beautiful singing. She went inside, heard the Gospel, gave her life to Christ which totally changed her. Her great love for the Lord made her pray fervently that her children and family would be saved.
After Dennis’s rough beginning he could one day tell her he was saved which thrilled her. But when he tried to share Christ with his father, his Dad always resisted the Lord. When his Dad retired at age 65 he was hospitalized for the first time and doctors did not give him good news that he would live. The night before his surgery, Dennis went to him and prayed with him to receive Christ. He told him that Jesus wanted to heal him and to ask the doctors to examine him again before surgery. They prayed and when his dad insisted on new tests before the surgery, he was healed! This totally changed his father. He and Dennis became great friends until he died at age 83. He became a loving husband to his wife and cared for her personally the last three years of her life, including bathing her and providing all her needs, never leaving her side. When his time to die came he went peacefully.
Finishing well means letting God lead you during times of testing. Commit to grow in the Lord. To finish well honesty and integrity must be part of our daily lives. “Before God can bless any man or woman, He must know beyond a shadow of doubt that He can trust them. He must know they will walk with integrity,” Dennis says. True success cannot be measured by your bank account. Get to know God in intimate ways. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We need wisdom to make the right choices. True knowledge comes from the knowledge of God.
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