News Details

Travelocity founder speaks on innovation at Kauffman event

April 12, 2010

Terry Jones, chairman of online travel agency and founder of, delivered a presentation to more than 300 people on April 7, highlighting the "Business of Innovation" in Purdue University's Class of 1950 Lecture Hall.

His presentation highlighted an event led by Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and supported by a grant from the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. To  download a PDF of Jones' presentation, go to:

"On the cutting-edge of innovation and change, Terry Jones has founded, helped launch and served as chief information officer at American Airlines/Sabre," said Richard Cosier, co-director of the Burton D. Morgan Center, dean of Purdue's Krannert School of Management and Leeds Professor. "He has a proven track record of leading companies whose innovations have changed an industry."

Over the last five years as a consultant, board member and venture capitalist, Jones has helped companies use the tools and techniques he developed to compete in a changing world. Because Jones has worked in small, startup companies and the corporate world, he also has a unique perspective on innovation.

Jones offers real-world examples in how to create a culture of innovation. During the 1970s, Jones helped create one of the fastest-growing business travel companies ever formed. In the 1980s and '90s, he led product development, programming and operations at American Airlines/Sabre Holdings Corp., the computer system that became a Harvard case study on automating customers.

He launched Travelocity in 1996, taking it from a team of 10 employees to a multibillion-dollar public company. Today, is the nation's sixth-largest travel agency and the second-largest online travel agency.

But Jones didn't stop there. After leaving Travelocity, he became chairman of Kayak, a completely different online travel agency launched in 2004 that is on track to generate $150 million in revenue this year, up 76 percent from 2008.

A graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, Jones entered the business world in 1971 as a travel agent with Vega Travel in Chicago. Today, he also serves as principal of Essential Ideas, a venture he founded to help companies in the transition to the digital economy.

In addition to his role as chairman of, Jones serves on the boards of Rearden Commerce, Smart Destinations and EarthLink. He is a special venture partner at General Catalyst Partners and serves on the boards of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and the Technical Advisory Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Burton D. Morgan Center leads Purdue's large-scale interdisciplinary entrepreneurship programs and manages the university's Kauffman Campuses Initiative. That initiative focuses on making entrepreneurship education available across the university's main and regional campuses, enabling any student, regardless of field of study, access to entrepreneurial training. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,


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