January 28, 2011

"And the 2010 Winners Are......"

The 2010 Associate Awards were presented at The Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida, on January 13th, 2011, during the just recently completed International Builders Show. 

This year's group of honorees has demonstrated, during this Great Recession, that actively engaged associates will keep on providing the deeply needed dedication that helps to keep our Federation of local and state HBAs at their best. Within NAHB these individuals were, and are, recognized for their accomplishments because they realize that "if 'it' affects builders 'it' will affect associates."

The three awards/inductions are;
1. Associate of the Year
(Presented to the most outstanding associate member for his/her dedication and proactive leadership at the local, state and, with heavy emphasis, the national level. The voting is based on a points system with past winners and builders as the judges.)

2. Bill Polley BUILD-PAC Award
(The associate member who's dedication in political fund raising efforts and helping to expand the importance of political action. The award was named after Bill Polley. Bill passed away several years ago but his political activism lives on.)

3. Induction into the Society of Honored Associates
(Finalists for Associate of the Year)

And the 2010 winners are.......

2010 Associate of the Year

2010 Bill Polley BUILD-PAC Award

2010 Society of Honored Associates

2010 Society of Honored Associates

2010 Society of Honored Associates

The NAHB members, from around The Federation, congratulate you. Bravo!

I encourage associates from all over the country to make sure your state HBA submits names to NAHB staff member Betty Thweatt (bthweatt@nahb.org). Betty will send to you the forms needed for submission. It is a great way to make sure the country knows who you are proud of back home.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

January 22, 2011

"An Associate as an NAHB Senior Officer?"

Note: This post was edited on September 12th, 2011 to reflect the most recent updates and conversation. 

A great conversation, some would say debate, has been occurring within NAHB these past several months. In fact, during the 2011 International Builders Show (IBS), during the Area Caucuses, open discussions continued. The discussions were part of a straw poll for two items (from multiple items) that the NAHB Exploring the Alternatives for the Future's task force is working on in potential preparation for possible NAHB Spring Board resolutions for support. The first item is that area caucuses appoint committee members. By way of a brief overview, there are 15 areas within NAHB. My home area is Area 2 (New Jersey/New York). For the purpose of this blog post I will be concentrating on the second item; an associate as a senior officer (ASO). You might be surprised to know that there has never been an associate member as a senior officer at the national level. There is quite a movement from within NAHB to make this position a reality while others voice their objections (will get into that later in this discussion). 

Within your home local HBA, chances are very good that you have one associate, maybe more, as part of your senior officer team. In fact, you may very well have the same situation at your state HBA. After all, on average, your HBA is comprised of approximately 66% associate membership. So it would make sense that your senior officers should have some representation for the majority of membership. Actively engaged and politically aware associates are the lifeblood of any local HBA. An important question to ask is “what is NAHB?” NAHB is a federation of local HBAs that stands united in advocacy and building industry growth. 

The discussions regarding an associate as an NAHB senior officer have been lively and have offered quite a bit of optimism for adding an associate to the senior officer ranks. In an independent report by Andrew Lang, an association management expert contracted by NAHB to look at how NAHB's is organized,  a key observation was made about the majority of membership not being at the senior officer table and the report highly recommends the ASO.

You, as an associate member, may have conversations regarding the ASO position. If you do, I would like to give you a few of the objections that I have come across and how I recommend they be addressed.
If you have your own recommendations please let me know.

1. "This is a home builders association, not a product selling association."
It is a home builders association, without question. How does a home builder build a house? With products, as well as services and trades and these items are provided by associate members. Associates are part of the home builders' team and should be engaged in helping the builders protect the industry. "If 'it' affects a builder 'it' will affect an associate." That's not just a slogan; it is reality.

2. "What if an associate is representing other concerns (their own) other than home building?"
As an associate comes up the ranks, through local and state leadership they become much more aware of what the HBA is all about and it is about advocacy for home builders. They would not advance, or shouldn’t advance, if they supported initiatives detrimental to home building. Associates learn association business comes first and their business concerns come second meaning that if you take the oath of office your fiduciary responsibility is for the association you are swearing to protect. The nominating committee, at any level of NAHB, is primarily made up of builder members. If, and hopefully when, an ASO position is created the vetting process will be intense and the cream of the associate crop will rise. I'm quite positive that this objection is a "gut reaction" to the idea and when thought out thoroughly, realization that associate ulterior motives, that some worry would come into play, would diminish. Let's face it; there have been some builder member leaders with ulterior motives for being a leader and they did not have the sole vote. It is a group of votes with a majority rule.

3. “I have no use for associate members.”
This statement, believe it or not, was uttered by a few. Ask any executive officer (EO) if they have no use for associate members. The vast majority of EOs will explain that their local HBA would cease to exist without the extensive volunteerism and greatly appreciated financial support of the associate membership. It goes back to the question and answer from earlier; “what is NAHB?’ NAHB is a federation of local HBAs that stands united in advocacy and building industry growth.” So I have to sincerely question the thought that some have no use for associate members who are working to help the local HBAs. Those with that thought are driven by a singular vision which is their personal business concerns and are not realizing the fuel for the HBA.

4. "An Associate from a large company can 'buy' the senior officer position"
That's simply not true. Stringent qualifications such as serving your local as an officer, your state HBA as an officer, serving on NAHB board of Directors for a few years (meaning as an associate your local thought highly enough about you to place you in this position and the NAHB Nominating Committee vetting process will assure the board of directors that the best person for the job is elected. Large company? So what. Large heart and enormous passion for our Federation is what should be looked at, not the size of checkbook.

5. Associates have their own associations (Lumberman's, Mortgage as examples used), they would never let a builder be an officer within those associations"
Using The Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (LBMDA) as an example to this particular objection, you would find out, if you asked them their core mission, that the LMBDA takes on issues that affect them directly. However, if NAHB is fighting an issue, or multiple issues that affect builders it will affect the members of LMBDA. NAHB protects the builders business so the LMBDA members can stay in business. NAHB protects every members business regardless of the business discipline. 

6. "Having an associate as a senior officer would create a great divide and cause devastation"
WHAT? I'm sorry, but this statement is a bit dramatic, no? We have an associate sitting as a BUILD-PAC officer, right now, and the skies didn't rain fire and locusts did not devour the crops. In fact, that BUILD-PAC Associate Chairman led the associates on a fundraising campaign that out performed the other committees and councils within NAHB. I'm sorry for being sarcastic on this objection but this really was said and it has a 20th Century feel. I will go 180% and say that having an associate senior officer will deeply unify our Federation.

7. "Associates are paid to attend NAHB, Builders are not."
This is another "what?" objection. My first response is "if true, so what? Associates are the vast majority of financial support, whether through sponsorship or membership dues. Those employers should be thanked for giving their employees the dollars and volunteer time so the local HBAs can survive. However, since the majority of Associates, per an NAHB official survey, are small companies or self employed it would say that this objection is really no objection. 
(As a side note, there are builders who are members of record who are employed by the company they work for or may not even be builders but maintained their builder status or joined where the criteria is very weak and they allow any one to be a builder.) 

Those are the top 7 objections that have been publicly stated. It’s good to hear the “inside voices’ because true feelings are known. I would like to make sure that when the ASO discussion is delivered to a point in time when a vote takes place that all unnecessary fears and speculation are a thing of the past for the overall membership and in particular the NAHB Board of Directors. If we, as a federation, are to move strategically into the future we have to embrace the past and its lessons and work towards a complete membership effort to enhance the quality and productiveness of the home building industry.

“If ‘it’ affects builders, “it” will affect associates.” The time is now to have an associate senior officer.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Member Committee Chair

January 17, 2011

Why Associate members should get involved in Advocacy.

Sometimes Associates are not sure how they can help the building industry other than sell good products and services. What Associates don’t always realize is the power they have to affect the building economy through advocacy. Advocacy relates to all aspects of working with elected officials to create a strong building climate. Politics is a numbers game – number of votes and number of dollars. One thing Associates have in the Association is numbers. So how can an Associate help? Depending on how much of a political “junkie” you are, there are several levels of involvement you can choose from.
An easy way to get involved with National advocacy is to join NAHB’s new BuilderLink Grassroots Program, which connects members of Congress to the people who matter most — their constituents – aka you. There are two ways to become involved with BuilderLink. One, become a BuilderLink Advocate and communicate with emails, letters, and phone calls. The material is all prepared for you and you just push a button to send it to your elected officials. Second option is to be a BuilderLink Ambassador and create a personal relationship with a member of Congress. This is much more “hands on” and great for people who live to discuss issues with elected officials. And, if you are already on a first name basis with your Congressman (for good reasons) even better You can easily sign up for either option of BuilderLink on the NAHB website.
A second, fun way to get involved is to attend the Legislative Conference (LegCon) in WashingtonDC. This is a full day of issue orientation and Capitol Hill visits. If you have never sprinted from the House to the Senate, talked with legislators as they walk down the hall, met staffers that look like they aren’t old enough for a driver’s license yet, or shared issue discussions with builders from your state surrounded by marble – you have to try it! This year’s LegCon is 3/16/2011. Make your reservations and join fellow Associates and Builders as we fight to keep this nation building. You might wonder what an Associate adds to these meetings. Associates help legislators see the many companies that supply products and services to Builders that are affected when Builders aren’t building. Your attendance emphasizes the “industry” of building, as well as, offers support to your Builders and Government Affairs staff.
Third, if this is politics, there is money talking. As a member of record, you can contribute to our national political action committee BUILD-PAC and help provide the necessary financial clout to make the building industry voice heard in WashingtonDC. BUILD-PAC's support of candidates who make housing a national priority helps all of us continue to work. And giving to BUILD-PAC isn’t painful. The amount is up to you. Again, this is an area where Associates have the numbers necessary to create a powerful PAC. As important as total dollars in a PAC is, how many members give to a PAC is maybe even more important to demonstrate the power behind the PAC. Every contributor equals a potential voter.
So, as an Associate, getting involved with the legislative efforts of NAHB is a great way to support your Builder members and the industry you work in. Congressional decisions affect the bottom line of all of our businesses. I urge you to join BuilderLink today, put NAHB Legislative Conference, 3/16/11, on your schedule and find out more about BUILD-PAC. You will be well on your way to being an “Active Involved Associate”.
Remember, if it affects a Builder, it will affect an Associate. Become part of the system to keep America building.

Submitted by: Monica Sommerfeldt Lewis, CAPS, CGA
                            NAHB Associate Advocacy sub committee chair

January 16, 2011

"Tomorrow Has Arrived"

"People are afraid of the future, of the unknown. If a man faces up to it, and takes the dare of the future, he can have some control over his destiny. That's an exciting idea to me, better than waiting with everybody else to see what's going to happen." ~ John H. Glenn

Welcome to Association Maximization, The Blog, our next step in bringing you to NAHB through social media. We also have NAHB Associates on Facebook and LinkedIn with both called NAHB Associates.

Social media is the future for associate members. Yes, I know, social media has been with us for awhile but associates utilized it rarely until now. Think about it for a moment; being in instant contact with your peers from across the country where ideas can flourish with different and diverse viewpoints. Any thoughts, any suggestions and any business discussions can be vastly expanded outside your normal sphere. I invite you all to take part in our social media web of communication and contribute often. The future is not that bad if you allow it to come to you naturally.

Now, this particular form of social media, blogging, is being utilized more and more. Blogging can be whatever you want it to be for whomever you want to touch. The NAHB Associates blog will certainly reach out and touch all members, associates and builders as well as executive officers from around the federation.

My name is Michael Kurpiel and I am a Certified Graduate Associate (CGA) and a Certified Green Professional (CGP). I will be providing content to this blog and I encourage you, the member, to submit content as a guest blogger.

This is what this blog would like to post, and would like input on more ideas:

1. Advocacy: grass roots mobilization and political investing
2. Views and opinions from a member
3. Highlighting an actively engaged member
4. Best business practices
5. Networking
6. Leadership growth

In order for you to post your comments you need a FREE Google account to sign in https://www.google.com/accounts.

I hope you will share this blog with your colleagues and help the growth of this potentially valuable communication's tool.

All the best,
Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman

Note: If you have any suggestions and/or articles for submission, please send them to by clicking on my signature.
Your content has to be timely if it is a call to action, relevant if it is about the building industry and sent in as a word document with names correctly spelled, including any designations. Pictures must be in jpg format. Advertisements or promotions of your business will not be accepted.