Bill founded McDonald Jones Homes (now part of the MJH Group) in 1987, after 20 years working on the tools. Looking back, he consid-ers the company’s extraordinary growth to be his greatest professional achievement. ‘I was just a carpenter from Waratah in Newcastle and served my time in the industry,’ he says. ‘We just kept working…the opportunities came along and we took them and it’s all worked out.’
Bill is quick to credit his business partners and suppliers for helping McDonald Jones Homes navigate its path to success. However, there’s little doubt that the company’s formidable momentum is due in large part to Bill’s business nous, affability, and unerring ability to find and implement new innovations – all underlined by a rare generosity of spirit. ‘I’ve always believed in life you have to give to succeed,’ he says.
And he has given so much, leveraging his standing within the industry to drive change, to help those in need, and to support the wider community. In 2012, he launched the McDonald Jones Charitable Foundation, and has worked tirelessly to raise funds for many causes, projects and initiatives across NSW, ACT and Queensland. One of the foundation’s key campaigns is ‘Build for Cure’, where McDonald Jones Homes – with the support of many industry partners, suppliers and volunteers – builds, furnishes and auctions a home, with all pro-ceeds going to the Children’s Cancer Institute. So far, four ‘Build for a Cure’ homes have been built and sold, raising well in excess of $2 million.
At a professional level, one of Bill’s biggest concerns is the ongoing issue of skills shortages, a situation he believes has come about ‘mainly because everyone’s focused on money, not on the end-game’. Bill’s OAM was awarded partly in recognition of his efforts to promote trade apprenticeships and help attract young people into the industry, both as a HIA host trainer and through other avenues.