Jones/NCTI Remembers Glenn Jones
Glenn R. Jones, often referred to as the "poet of technology" for his five-decades long commitment and contributions to extending the reach of communications through cable and Internet technologies, has died at age 85. With rare intuition and enduring entrepreneurial spirit, he helped transform the global communications, information, entertainment, and education landscape by connecting millions of people through new technologies. He is credited with advancing industry through his leadership in the areas of digital encryption, digital compression, Internet technology, e-commerce, software development, education, cable networks, entertainment, mobile communications, radio networks, and advertising sales.
In 1967 and when cable television was still nascent technology, Glenn borrowed $400 against his Volkswagen to purchase his first cable television system in Georgetown, Colo., which was the genesis of his cable operations company, Jones Intercable, Inc. The company grew into a top-ten U.S. cable operator before it was sold to Comcast in 1999. His interests also centered on the creation of compelling entertainment and educational programming. In 1995, Glenn founded Great American Country, a 24-hour country music video cable TV network that reached 34 million homes which was sold to E.W. Scripps Company in 2004. Through Jones Entertainment Group, he produced award-winning documentaries and motion pictures such as The Secret of Roan Inish, The Story Lady, staring Jessica Tandy, The Whipping Boy, starring George C. Scott, and The Little Kidnappers, starring Charlton Heston. Glenn expanded his presence in the cable industry with the acquisition of Denver-based company NCTI, which formed Jones/NCTI. The company continues operations from its Centennial, Colo., headquarters and is considered the preeminent training organization for cable, broadband technicians and customer service representatives. Hundreds of thousands of cable professionals and industry executives credit Jones/NCTI for acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to build rewarding and successful careers.
While driven by business, Glenn's passion was education – in particular, freeing education from the confines of a traditional classroom through what he termed the 'democratization of education.' In 1987, he established his first distance education company with the cable television network, Mind Extension University (ME/U) which was later renamed Knowledge TV. The company delivered college courses via cable TV and had more than 50 million subscribers worldwide. The company was later sold to Discovery Channel. Glenn continued his educational pursuits with the founding of Jones International University, the first online-only university to receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. For his pioneering efforts, Glenn received significant recognition from organizations including the International Distance Learning Association and the American Academy of Achievement.
Known as an intellectual and a prescient thought leader, Glenn authored several books detailing his vision for distance learning and online education. Titles include Make All America a School and Cyberschools: An Education Renaissance. His other published works include: Free Market Fusion and multiple volumes of Briefcase Poetry of Yankee Jones.
As a young man, Glenn earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Allegheny College. After graduating, he served in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Pacific Amphibious Assault Unit and as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer. He earned the Lone Sailor Award for outstanding service to the EOD community from the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation in 1997. After his military service, Glenn attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School for two years before transferring to the University of Colorado where he earned a juris doctor degree.
While vocal in his business and educational pursuits, Glenn was a quiet but impactful philanthropist. He is one of the founding members of the James Madison National Council – a select, private advisory body to the Library of Congress – and served on its steering committee and as Chair of its Education Committee. He also served on the Advisory Board for the Columbia Institute of Tele-Information at Columbia Business School. Locally, he served on the Board of the Denver Area Council, Boy Scouts of America and on the Education Committee for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He was also an honorary lifetime trustee of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. In 2002, the Denver chapter of Volunteers for America recognized Glenn with its Humanitarian Award.
In 2015, the Library of Congress honored Glenn as one of the nation's "Living Legends," along with prominent artists, writers, activists, filmmakers, physicians, entertainers, sports figure and public servants, including Madeline Albright, Walter Cronkite and Ray Charles. Glenn was recognized for his contributions to building a stronger America during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Librarian of Congress, Dr. James Billington, noted Glenn's decades of service to the advancement of education and helping to widely expand access to the treasures of the Library of Congress globally. He was active in the creation of the National Digital Library as well as the World Digital Library which launched in 2009 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Several other organizations honored Glenn for his contributions to education and the cable industry by inducting him into their halls of fame, including:
- Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame
- Cable Television Hall of Fame
- Colorado Business Hall of Fame
- Troops to Teachers Hall of Fame
- U.S. Distance Learning Association Hall of Fame
Glenn's legacy also will endure through the development of The Jones District, a 42-acre lifestyle and business center in Centennial, Colo., which was announced in 2014. The development will take shape on an expanse of land located immediately east of I-25 and just south of East Dry Creek. For years, Glenn looked across the land and envisioned a thriving business and community center that would contribute to the vitality of the city. Developers are set to break ground within the coming months.
Glenn will be remembered as a visionary with a big heart. Those who had the good fortune to work for him call their time a life-changing experience. With quick wit and the perfect memorable sentiment at the ready, Glenn understood the power of the spoken word to inspire teams and challenge the status quo for change. He is described as a consummate gentleman with patience and precision in his advocacy for building a better future.
Glenn is survived by his love of 34 years, Dianne Eddolls; daughters Christine Marocco and Suzanne Jones; son John Paul; grandsons Joseph and Daniel Marocco and David Jones; sister Ruth Terrian; brother Neil Jones and numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Denver Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, 10455 W. 6th Ave. #100, Denver, CO 80215, or Volunteers of America, Colorado Branch, 2660 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80205.