My name is Dana Caudill Jones, and this is my website. I am President of Caudill’s and also serve as chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. As a public servant I think it’s important to let people know who I am and what my philosophy is. My goal with this website is to tell you a little about me and what I believe.
A Connection to Community
I was born and raised in Kernersville. My father, Danny Caudill, started Caudill’s Commercial Electric in Kernersville in 1973, with my mother Charlene as his partner. I joined the family business after graduating from High Point University, and today my husband David Jones and I lead the company, which has expanded considerably over the years.
Forsyth County has been good to our business. For that reason, we believe in serving the greater good by giving back to the community. Caudill’s does that by supporting local causes and organizations. For me personally, serving the greater good has meant giving back to the community through public service.
Raising My Hand
One of my first volunteer efforts was serving on the Board of the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, helping foster business and economic growth in my home town. It was enjoyable and gratifying, but could also be frustrating, as our plans and ideas were often dependent on town government for implementation, and that didn’t always happen. So, in 2003, I decided that in order to make some of these things happen, I needed to be the person in town government raising my hand to vote for it. That’s what launched me into public office in Kernersville, where I was elected to the Board of Aldermen.
I served on the Board for ten years, and from 2011 to 2013 served as Mayor Pro Tem, but decided not to run again because I sincerely believe in term limits. I think it’s important for new people with new ideas to step forward and have a chance to serve.
Advocating for Children
I was only out of office for a short time before deciding to run for the Board of Education. That was prompted by a lifelong passion for helping young people. What’s important to me, and always has been, is advocating for children.
Even in the early years of my public service, I wondered how the community can empower young people. Because our children are our future, empowering them is an important economic development tool. We have to invest in them now to ensure we’ll have the entrepreneurs and business leaders to keep our economy growing.
That is part of Caudill’s business philosophy, too. Through our electrical apprenticeship program, we often hire high school graduates who are seeking a career in the electrical industry and pay for their education at Forsyth Technical Community College while they’re working at Caudill’s. I’m always looking for ways we can lift up children through education, because I really believe that education opens doors, and we need to make sure children see the importance of education.
“How Can I Help?”
Over the years, many of the organizations I have had the privilege to work with have been supportive of children and families. I served for many years on the Board of the Kernersville YMCA because it’s a great way to help children and families through a variety of programs. I also serve on the Board of Trustees of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem because they are a wonderful supporter of programs that let children express themselves and explore and learn through different avenues, like music, art, poetry, and drama.
One of the most eye-opening things I’ve ever done, however, was to serve on the Board of Next Step Ministries and volunteer in their safe house for victims of domestic abuse. Working with the women and children who came there, helping them heal and see that they matter and are loved, I came to realize the level of need that exists in our community and the kind of help they require, which involves many different agencies. That became a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, and an issue my whole family feels strongly about.
What led me to the Board of Education was volunteering in the schools as a parent. As a volunteer, I learned that parents really do want to be there for their children. The overwhelming majority of parents are supportive of their youngsters, but many are unable to volunteer because of work and other responsibilities. So, while I was there to support my child, I became an advocate for every child in the school, representing the parents who wanted to be there but couldn’t. And that led me to think, “How can I help these children and families in a larger sense?” That’s when I decided to run for the Board of Education.
Serving on The Board of Education
Serving on the Board of Education has been a rewarding experience because I can see, first hand, the results of our work. I, along with Superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory and other board members, visit three schools each week. This gives us the chance to meet with the principals, teachers and students and hear directly from them what they need and how we can meet those needs. Our goal is to visit all 81 schools in the district, because every school – and every child in that school – is important. We have already done a lot – helped pass a major bond referendum, balanced the operating budget, increased the number of Pre-K classroom, and removed 11 schools from the “low performing” list. But there is still much to do, and I look forward to being a part of it.
To learn more about my work on the Board of Education, click here.
In my role at Caudill’s, my focus is on creating and sustaining relationships with customers. I believe that one of my strengths is being able to build relationships with people, hear what their needs are, and help deliver services to meet those needs. I like to think that I do the same thing in my work for the community – meet needs, bring people together, and find common ground so things can move forward. When I was on the Board of Aldermen, I looked at every resident as my customer. It's the same with the children and families I serve now on the Board of Education. It’s my job to hear what they need and to make it possible for our schools to meet those needs.
When people ask me what I’d like to accomplish in my life, I often quote Mother Teresa, who said: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” By giving back to the community that has been so good to me, I feel like I am causing a ripple that I hope will do some good. My faith tells me that it’s important to offer service back to others, and the idea of “service over self” is an important part of my philosophy. At the end of the day, I truly believe that if you do what’s best for others, you find that you’re more blessed than those you give back to. I know I certainly have been.