CEO, Price Gregory Services | Volunteer, Prison Entrepreneurship Program
If you ask him, John Jackson will tell you he has spent a lot of time in prison. However, the only record Jackson has is one for servant leadership and volunteerism.
When he’s not in the office serving as CEO of Price Gregory Services, a pipeline construction firm, Jackson volunteers with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). PEP is a national nonprofit organization consisting of business executives and MBA students who mentor inmates and help them evolve into legitimate business people upon their release from prison. Catherine Rohr, former Wall Street investor, founded PEP in 2004.
“Catherine contacted me shortly after the program’s inception to help with mentoring as a Houston business executive,” he said. “Over the last five years, I have had the pleasure of witnessing this program become extremely successful.”
Jackson serves as an executive business mentor to PEP graduates and is directly involved in the program’s vision as a governing board member. He also teaches leadership, staffing and training courses at the PEP Entrepreneurship School located on the campus of Rice University.
Although he studied accounting at Baylor, Jackson holds a passion for entrepreneurship. And PEP is the perfect outlet. Through volunteering, Jackson said he has seen untapped potential transformed into success.
“These are inmates who may have been raised in negative environments and done harm to or stolen from their own family members,” he said. “It’s a pretty remarkable thing when I’ve seen some become top executives leading completely new lives-reintegrated into society and reconnected with their families.”
Jackson was honored, or as he says “humbled,” last July when former President George W. Bush presented him with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his work with PEP. Jackson, however, is more interested in the accomplishments of the inmates who graduate from the program than his own achievements.
“It is very rewarding to see these people succeed,” he said. “As volunteers, we are there to facilitate, but the inmates are the ones who have the courage and determination to make sustainable life changes. I think most people want to do good-it’s amazing what a little encouragement and support can do for them.”