Title Thumbnail

David A. Jones Always Moving Forward

A memoir of friends, family and building Humana

550 pages
Old Stone Press

The story of friends, family, hometown values – and an entrepreneur who changed American healthcare forever

In 1961, David Jones and another young lawyer borrowed $1,000 each to build a nursing home. That modest investment turned into Humana: first the largest nursing home company in the U.S., then the largest hospital corporation, and today one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, with 65,000 employees and a value of $65 billion.

“I've always believed there's nothing being done that can't be done better,” Jones writes in this engaging account of American entrepreneurship. He also advocates hiring ordinary people who learn fast and get things done, rather than relying on expert credentials.

But Always Moving Forward is about so much more:

  • The controversy over for-profit medicine: Jones explains why he was “proudly not non-profit.”
  • The artificial heart: The world watched as a Humana team implanted the Jarvik-7 into a man who lived 620 days.
  • A sixteen-year-long humanitarian mission: After the collapse of the Berlin wall and Eastern European economies, President George H. W. Bush asked Jones to help rebuild the Romanian healthcare system, which had been devastated by war and a corrupt dictator.
  • 9/11: Jones and 23 Humana executives were at Ground Zero when the planes hit. They tell the harrowing story.
  • Life lessons learned: For example, “Family first” and “You don't have a clear idea unless it fits on the back of a business card.”
  • Business failures as well as successes.

Jones also was a great philanthropist, although mostly anonymously. His final legacy is one of the largest metropolitan parks completed this century – a project led by him and one of his sons in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Author Bio

David A. Jones, Sr. was co-founder, CEO and chairman of the board of Humana. He retired in 2005.

Bob Hill, a Louisville writer, helped Jones with this book. Hill has won many awards for his writing, including the Ernie Pyle Legacy Award, which recognizes the ability to connect with people and tell their stories. Hill did that for 33 years in 4,000 columns he wrote for the Louisville Times and Louisville Courier Journal, and in the ten books he has authored. This was a joyous project for both Jones and Hill, as they swapped stories and discovered similarities in their early lives.

David A. Jones, Jr. (Editor), and family representative for his father’s memoir project. David's current passions include improving end-of-life care for patients, their families and community caregivers; preserving, and learning to play, American roots music; supporting student-focused improvement in public education; and rejuvenating local journalism.

He co-founded Chrysalis Ventures in 1993 in Louisville, KY, in the belief that focused financing for entrepreneurs was lacking “between the coasts.” This belief arose early, as he watched his father found and lead Humana Inc. – whose board he joined in 1993 when the company exited its industry-leading hospital business and re-invented itself as an insurer.

At Chrysalis David has partnered with young entrepreneurial companies in healthcare, education, telecommunications, and location-based entertainment. He’s continued to serve on Humana’s board, chairing it through the founders’ transition and now leading its governance committee. He is the eldest son of David A. Jones, Sr.

Jill Johnson Keeney (Editor) Founder of Moocow Communications, Editor and writer at New West, California, and Ms. magazines, The Louisville Courier Journal and a communications consultant at Humana.

Julia Comer, book designer, born and educated in Europe and Israel, Julia Comer has lived all over the world but calls Louisville, Kentucky her home. Her passion for design and art has guided a visual arts career that has included many years of graphic design practice and interior projects. Inspired and informed by her vast experience of fine art and craft, she curated and managed Objects of Desire and Flõ galleries creating her own line of sculptural jewelry. Julia’s work includes numerous projects including book design, branding, visual identity, environmental design, print, and web.