Joba CEO Kevin Jones talks about his journey from sports to design
Co-founded by NFL veteran and former Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones, Joba has a workplace culture that perfectly reflects its leadership – a team focus.
The collaborative mentality and locker-room-feel is apparent upon the first step into the Joba office, with designated team-huddle work spaces around every corner. From wall to wall, there are ideas coming to life.
“We always have a new prompt – a new problem we’re trying to solve as a team – and everybody has to play their different positions,” says Jones. “I think it correlates with my athletic background, but it’s more intentionally creative.”
Jones explains that his entrepreneurial spirit came from his desire to be in a leadership role on the football team at Virginia Tech. He had a reputation for being a creative runner with the football, and that creativity manifested itself into Jones’s unique style as a leader. He always wanted to lead by example.
From his career at Virginia Tech to his career in the NFL, his desire to be an entrepreneur sustained. After football, Jones came back to Blacksburg to finish his degree, except this time, he changed his area of study. Originally a property management student, Jones decided to pursue industrial design. He realized he had found his career upon his first visit to the design studios at Virginia Tech.
“That was the moment, in 2011,” says Jones. “That was the moment when I realized what I wanted to be doing for my career. I wanted to be creative, I wanted to be in that type of space, and I wanted to own my own company doing it.”
Though Joba has evolved since its conception, its original mission has endured.
“We always wanted to be a multidisciplinary design firm. I believe that’s how we see the future and create the future,” says Jones.
Diversity is a priority at Joba, both in industry representation and individuality. In the design process, Jones believes having staff members from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds is the key to understanding and catering to different audiences. There was one other component Jones wanted to add, though, that would complete his vision.
When the opportunity arose for Joba to acquire Blue Mobius, a marketing company that also resides in Blacksburg, Jones jumped on it. He felt that he could expand his team and its ability to provide a complete brand experience through this collaboration.
Jones says he was confident in the acquisition because the two companies had already worked together on various projects. He adapted and combined the processes that worked for each team individually; the goal was for each team to come together and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“I’m at the top casting the vision,” says Jones, “and I try to blur the line as much as possible. We are more together than we are separate.”
Joba participates in consulting, in-house product creation, and hybrid projects in which the company partners with its clients. So what’s next for Jones? He says his new endeavors will be within the realm of the sports industry. Given that most of his team has a background in sports, it was a natural fit to further explore that space.
Jones’s wife, Robyn, is also an instrumental part of Joba. As the Chief Operating Officer, she manages the firm’s marketing, legal, financial, and human resources. As a husband and wife team, Kevin and Robyn are eager to come alongside brands to bring their products, services, and mission to life through impactful design and compelling communications.
Robyn says, “We believe brands are meant to be experienced.”
To learn more about Joba, visit them online at https://www.jobadesigngroup.com or call 540-553-8143. Joba is located at 1971 Kraft Drive, Suite 2700.
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