April 22, 2012

"Old Photos and Tales of Past"

"The dimming of the light makes the picture clearer. It's just an old photograph, there's nothing to hide,  when the world was just beginning." - David Byrne & Brian Eno

The above picture is The Builders Association of Northern New Jersey's 1952 Installation Banquet, held at The Hotel Commodore in New York City. The local was chartered by NAHB in 1944 so this picture is really a great snap shot of a time when most local HBAs were forming, creating an identity for themselves. Leaders then were trail blazers, they had to be. This was all new to them. This local, in its heyday, was the most politically active in NJ and wielded influential power within the state. Today, due to the northeastern part of the state's old housing stock and scarcity of open land, the local is now known as The Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey. Times change, members come and then leave, only to have new members begin the cycle. 

History is a wonderful tool. Understand it, but don't dwell within it. Remember it, but don't stop creating it yourself. One of the great tributes we have as an association is NAHB's Housing Center. The Center has The Past Presidents (now past chairmen) Wall with all their photographs proudly hanging, displayed for all to see when visiting. From the first president to the immediate past chairman. NAHB also has the Housing Hall of Fame, complete with plaques featuring the likeness of the builder Hall of Famer and the accomplishments of the recipient.  The associates have a Society of Honored Associates, designed to highlight those associates who have made an impact on our Federation. History. It should be respected and preserved so others can see, read, maybe even feel the past.

I believe it is important to understand the history of our association, and the key members that have built each and every local HBA. How the state HBAs formed was really a rallying mechanism to unite all the local chapters to focus on the core reason for an association; advocacy within the state's capitol. NAHB is built exactly like the state HBAs were built, but for a nationwide unification of advocacy within Washington, DC. These associations didn't build themselves and they certainly weren't created out of thin air. Passion was the key motivator, commitment was the engine that utilized the passion. Still is, but by an entirely different group of members. 

Take a good look at the above photograph again. You will be in one exactly like it in 60 years and the point is this; will anyone remember you? Think back 30 years. 20 years. 10, go back even 1 year. How many people have left us and we have nothing but an old picture to remember them by? If we remember them at all. Our association's history is rich and long. If it weren't for our past members, we probably wouldn't have an association, at least not like the one we have today.Take a look a what you are doing to keep your past ever present utilizing it to build a better tomorrow.

History must be written by and for the current members. While we still can all remember.

Submitted by:
Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP


Larry Kady NAHB State Rep MA said...

Well said Mike. Just like driving a truck, you always need to know whats around you but if you concentrate on that rear view too much a crash is eminent ;o)

Anonymous said...

Outstanding article. It got me reminiscing over some of the members I knew over the years, some great ones were lost. You're right in saying we need to do a better job of honoring their memories. Hopefully the locals will embrace your thoughts as an action item.

Thank you again.