Coffee Chat with Jason Jones, Development Manager

As part of our Coffee Chat series, a Capstone employee will be interviewed each month and featured in our monthly newsletter, The Erudite. For the December issue, the editors of The Erudite sat down with Jason Jones.

Jason’s introduction to Capstone began over 10 years ago when he was a project architect for The Cadence at the University of Arizona. After completion of The Cadence, Jason continued as a project architect for two other Capstone projects – one at Cornish College and the other at Seattle University. After a few years of working closely with Capstone from the design side, he decided to join Capstone and become a member of the development team. Given his background, Jason has an appreciation for the design-build process and brings a unique perspective to our project development team. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Jason loves getting outdoors with his family and exploring parks and trails throughout the Northwest, near his home in Portland. 

Jason Jones, Development Manager

Bachelor of Science, Architecture,
Portland State University, 1997

Masters of Architecture,
Southern California Institute of Architecture, 2003


Where are you from originally? I am from a small town called Netarts in Oregon. It’s a small coastal town, next to Tillamook which is famous for their Tillamook cheese. Netarts is a really tiny coastal village. Interesting, what’s the population there? The county is around 5,000; there may be 1,000 people in Netarts.

So when you left for college, did you live on-campus?  Yes, the first school I attended immediately after high school was Central Oregon Community College. I went there to be a ski bum…ha! So, I lived in an on-campus residence hall as a freshman. The building was a concrete box with CMU walls. I had a double occupancy room and there were community baths/showers. I think there was just one lounge and it had a TV that didn’t work and smelly furniture.

Did you work during college? Yes, I worked a few jobs throughout college. One job was a work-study with the college facilities department. I fixed a lot of broken irrigation lines in that job. I also worked on a llama ranch through college and for two summers – that was pretty fun. I groomed a lot of llamas, gave them shots, and even birthed a few baby llamas…and also fixed more irrigation pipes. Llama farms are common in Central Oregon. If you don’t treat llamas nice they will spit on you, kick you and rise up on their back legs to kick out their front hooves. You have to be nice to them.

What was your favorite class from college? During both my undergrad and masters studies I enjoyed architectural studio, where you are assigned conceptual projects that you design and present. This included building models as well. For my undergrad all of the modeling was physical, but during my masters studies the school was known for technological advancements, so it was all computer-generated. I enjoyed the theoretical and creative discourse of the architectural studio class. During that time, I was really into design, in fact my first job in architecture was a lead designer. This class really started my passion for designing and creating stories for environmental built spaces. I also entered a few design competitions throughout college – and I won quite a few too.

Is there a podcast that you are you listening to right now or book that you are reading? Yes, I listen to SmartLesswith Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett. It’s a good break from the real world. I listen to podcasts mostly during travel and cooking. I do all of the dinners in our house, so its dinner, dishes and podcasts for me at night.  I’m also re-reading an old book that I picked up for traveling, The Gunslinger by Stephen King.

Is there a TV show you are watching right now? Yes, my wife and I just finished watching True Story starring Kevin Hart on Netflix. I’m also into the outdoor series Alone, and am waiting on the next season to drop.

Before working at Capstone, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? The llama ranch, obviously. But actually, the other option I would say is actually as an architect for Capstone. (Jason previously worked for an architect that was a design partner for Capstone. He was on the design team for 3 projects that Capstone developed, before joining Capstone as a development manager). Is there anything that you learned by being a former architect that you’ve applied to your role as a development manager that brings a different edge? Our 90-day due diligence plan; it teaches you to be very nimble and how to make decisions quick in that first 90 days of a project. I’ve also learned to be creative with budgets and really understand the equity of a dollar and where to spend it; I learned that a lot recently on our UW Bothell project. Also, a big passion of mine that was created through Capstone was understanding the design-build nature of our projects and working with those design-build teams. If you were to go back to the architecture side of it, is there anything would you relay to architects from a developer? Be nimble; be flexible. You need to understand the schedules that we have to adhere to; and our hard openings. It all changes very fast and you need to keep up!

What do you do in your free time?  I have a son who is 8 and a daughter that is 7, so I mostly hang out with my family. I like to be outdoors as much as possible – hiking, fishing or camping – and get my kids out there exploring. We usually camp within 1-2 hours of Portland; we’ll go anywhere in the Northwest region.

What do you enjoy most about working on college campuses? I enjoy creating a better environment for students to succeed in and understanding their personal and academic needs and really catering to that. I also enjoy the stakeholders that we work with. Everyone has the best interest possible for their campus, the project and their students. It’s inspiring to work with people that are that dedicated.

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? I would love to go back to Southeast Asia and explore more of Vietnam and Laos and have my kids experience that. My wife and I went there for our honeymoon and stayed there for one month and really fell in love with the culture.

Bonus Question – If you could join any band, dead or living, what would it be? Pearl Jam. I play guitar (acoustic and electric) as a hobby. Everyone, meet Jason Jones, former architect, developer and now the newest member of Pearl Jam.