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 (
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.
2011 NAHB Associate Member Committee Chair