WV Business Hall of Fame
Charles “Charlie” Jones is president and CEO of Amherst Industries. As a longtime West Virginia barge and coal operator, he’s been providing jobs through one of the state’s few home-based corporations. He has been referred to as a “coal miner, farmer, riverboat captain, and Renaissance man.”
started Amherst Madison in 1893 and Jones joined the company in 1946 following
his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Amherst Madison (formerly
Madison Coal & Supply Company) is a family-owned operation based at Port
Amherst, West Virginia, on the north bank of the Kanawha River. Port Amherst
Ltd. and associated companies continue to provide a variety of services in the
diverse field of marine and rail transportation, bulk material transfer, and
shipment. Madison Coal and Supply, a Port Amherst subsidiary headquartered at
Port Amherst, operates 18 towboats on the Ohio, Mississippi, Monongahela,
Allegheny, and Kanawha rivers and provides a variety of towing services. This
firm specializes in the transportation of bulk material and large equipment
used for construction and dredging projects.
Born June 4, 1918, Jones remains active on a daily basis as chairman of Port Amherst Ltd., parent company of Amherst Industries and Madison Coal & Supply on the Upper Ohio River. His education includes attendance at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, the Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey, and a degree in business from the Babson Institute in Massachusetts. During World War II, Jones served with the Navy Seabees in Guadalcanal and then served on a Navy minesweeper as engineering officer sweeping magnetic mines around Japan.
For many years, he has been active in industry groups including The American Waterways Operators, Ohio Valley Improvement Association, DINAMO, Sons & Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen and the Seamen’s Church Institute, from which he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. In 2001, Jones received the National Rivers Hall of Fame Achievement Award. He also served as chairman for three years of the Inland Waterways User Board and was given chairman emeritus status.
In 2008, he received the Distinguished West Virginian Award and induction into the Coal Mining Hall of Fame. Also active in his community, he is scheduled to receive the “Spirit of the Valley” award August 12, presented annually by the YMCA of Kanawha Valley, for his long support of the organization’s youth programs. Jones holds a Master of Towing Vessels, Western Rivers, license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Jones was honored as a Distinguished West Virginian by Gov. Jim Justice on June 1, three days prior to his 99th birthday.
He’s been married to Mary Ellen for 37 years and they reside in Charleston, West Virginia. Jones has four children — Laura Jones Pray, C. Tandy Jones, Jennifer Jones and O. Nelson Jones, who is president of Madison Coal & Supply Company.