May 25, 2012

"Remembering Those Who Gave So We Could Have”

The simple things in life come to us in a variety of ways; pleasures of a day at the beach, reading a good book, playing a round of golf or maybe just sitting around an open fire and having cigars, cocktails and conversation. 
If we are fortunate enough we are enjoying the love of a significant other, watching our children grow up and then our grand children. Even the simple pleasure of coming home in the evening and having our memories hug us like a long lost friend.

While the weekend barbecues for Memorial Day Weekend are the centerpiece for a holiday weekend and the “official” start of the summer season let’s remember the reason why we can enjoy so many things in our world; our American heroes that gave their lives for the freedom and protection of our lives. Keep them in your heart and mind, not just this weekend but as many days as possible. Let's raise a glass in honor of those we lost,  from The Revolutionary War through today's war in Afghanistan, and let’s celebrate their memory, their sacrifices and their continuing influence on our way of life.

To all those in the home building industry in particular, our prayers for your loved ones lost, but will never be forgotten.

Have a Happy & Safe Memorial Day Weekend.

Homes For Our Troops (click here)

Submitted by:Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

May 20, 2012

"Top 5 Reasons to Become Involved Within NAHB"

Today's guest blogger is Dianne Beaton, CGA, CAPS. Dianne is the 2012 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman and is an associate member from New Hampshire.

Dianne Beaton, CGA, CAPS
Quite a few years have past since I made the journey from Manchester, New Hampshire to Washington, D.C. and embraced my complete membership; local, state AND national. I have met so many fellow members from across the country and learned so much about other associations that it just naturally helped me become aware of all the possibilities of networking outside the borders of my state. I would like to share with you my thoughts and hope that I pique your interest and add NAHB to your "to do list." I hope you can join us for NAHB's Legislative Conference on June 6th and our NAHB Associate Members Committee on June 8th, both to be held in Washington D.C. At the end of my "Top 5" click on my name and contact me with any questions or input regarding Spring Board or becoming involved nationally.

  to Become Involved Within NAHB

1. Networking with your fellow members from other states - expanding who you know is very important in life and with social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn our world is expanding like the original "Big Bang." You never know who you could help, and who could help you, by increasing your professional network. NAHB involvement is the positive steps to take in that direction.

2. Taking part on a national committee - members from different areas of the United States working towards like-minded goals. Not only can this help you with committee work back home at your local with similar committees, it also helps who become a better professional, working with such a diverse group of people. The mannerisms, the attitudes, the way others "look at life" are so varied but it helps you develop a unique set of people skills you wouldn't normally receive by being bound within your own state.

3. Learn about advocacy for our members at the federal level - now, more than ever, "The Hill" is where our industry will recover. Gaining insight to the advocacy process not only helps you understand what affects you, but helps you take action to protect yourself.

4. Gain a better understanding of housing issues in other areas of the country - when certain anti-home-building groups find a successful tactic in becomes only a matter of time before it spreads like weeds in your garden. What happens in New Jersey and California, our two most industry legislated and regulated states, has and will appear elsewhere. It's great to know, if there is a particular plan to stop housing in your state, that others have already "been there, done that" and could help you plan and prepare.

5. Engage in discussion about best business practices - NAHB builder members have a program designed to help them called "The Builder 20 Club" designed to help these members discuss their businesses with their peers, but peers that are of no competition because they are from different parts of the country. While associates don't have that particular program we do have our NAHB Associate Members Committee which can give you the same types of discussions. As an example, if you are a marketing professional in your state and you would like to discuss tactics on growing your business, someone who is your competitor is not likely to help. However, a fellow marketer from another state that you have successfully networked with and developed into a friendship would. 

Open your minds to the idea that not all things are confined within a state and let the world of our Federation flow towards you.
Dianne Beaton, CGA, CAPS
2012 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman

May 13, 2012

"Bob Nielsen: Past and Looking Ahead"

 "A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops  under his command make him."General Douglas MacArthur

This week's blog contributor is Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nevada, and is the 2012 Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of the more than 140,000 member National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Bob has taken years of experiences and memories and encapsulated the essence of "being engaged" in our Federation.

Bob Nielsen 

 Past and Looking Ahead
  By Bob Nielsen

Twice last year, NAHB asked in public opinion polls if home owners would advise a close friend or family member just starting out to purchase a home. Even in the wake of the housing market crisis, the response was overwhelmingly “yes” in both polls. No surprises there.

That question got me thinking about what advice I would give someone just starting out in the home building business. I have to say the answer was pretty obvious: Join your local builders association.

But with that recommendation comes even more heartfelt advice: Don’t just be a passive participant.
Get active. Spearhead a public service project. Run for a leadership position. Volunteer to chair a committee or represent your association at a public hearing.

Here in Nevada, our HBAs have a long tradition of dedicated and effective leadership, and that tradition continues even as we cope with one of the nation’s worst housing markets. But the simple unvarnished truth is that the ranks of people able to go the extra mile for our industry have diminished. Through no fault of their own, some mighty good builders and associates are no longer active in the home building business, and that’s a void we need to fill.

It is very important to our industry and our HBAs here in Nevada for a new generation of members to step forward and take on leadership roles.

Admittedly, I’ve sat through my share of long meetings with local government officials discussing issues that only a bureaucrat could love. But I’ve also been honored to go to the White House to represent our industry, and I’ve taken our concerns about issues such as foreclosures, appraisals and the availability of AD&C financing directly to the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board on more then on occasion.

I’ve also taken our messages directly to elected officials in my home town, at the state legislature and in Washington. I’ve testified before Congress and helped organize coalitions between our industry and other groups that share our enthusiasm for homeownership and concerns about national housing policy.

At NAHB, I’ve participated in the policy-making process and then acted on those policies to ensure fair and equitable treatment for our industry on an enormous range of concerns from the tax code to building codes.

Am I proud of these accomplishments? You bet. Extremely proud.

But beyond my personal pride is a deeper sense of accomplishment. I have helped shape the business environment for an entire industry. Being a home builder will always be tough, and knowing that I helped make it even a little bit easier for a fellow builder to fulfill a family’s dream of home ownership is truly satisfaction beyond price.

Note:  Bob Nielsen, who has more than 25 years of experience in the home building industry, is president of Shelter Properties, a development and management company
headquartered in northern Nevada. During his home building career, he has
developed more than 45 communities housing more than 4,500 families. Active in builder associations at the local, state and national levels, Bob has
served in numerous elected positions at every level. He was president of the Builders
Association of Northern Nevada in 1986 and president of the Nevada Home Builders
Association in 1988.
At the national level, Bob has been a member of NAHB’s Federal Government
Affairs Committee for more than 15 years, and was its chairman in 1997. He has also
served as chairman of NAHB’s Housing Finance Committee and is a Senior Life

Submitted by:
Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

May 6, 2012

"It Takes Many Drops of Rain to Fill an Ocean"

“Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the initiative for the making of the future.” - Peter F. Drucker

 It takes many drops of rain to fill an ocean; sporadic drops just are not going to make an impression. In fact sporadic amounts of anything generally do nothing to make an impact. Less than 7% of our NAHB membership (if you belong to a local association you are indeed an NAHB member) take any action when it comes to contacting their representatives and senators in Congress. Less than 3% of our NAHB members invest in BUILD-PAC. This next part is important; 100% of our members are impacted by decisions made in Washington, D.C. And yes, the employees and family members of the NAHB member are 100% affected.
Yes, 100% 

In one month, June 6th to be exact, NAHB's Legislative Conference will arrive. How many members will attend, I don't know. I will say that my answer would be, "not enough." For those attending our 2012 Spring Board meeting The Hill visits will be very manageable. But there are others, back home, who can't make the trip. The fact of this particular matter is very clear, we need the raindrops! We need to fill the ocean which is Washington, D.C. with as many in person and telephonic or email outreaches as possible. 

If you can't attend 2012 Legislative Conference, there are other options available to you as an NAHB member. NAHB's government affairs staff can provide you with talking points (click here) for either type of outreach you choose below or check the above link for information. You could also contact your NAHB State Representatives (click here for yours) and they will guide you through the process. If information is not yet posted contact NAHB BUILD-PAC staff Meghan Everngam (click here);

Your two options to help you with your career in our building industry:
1. Set up in- district work week meetings with your fellow association members, builder AND associate. "If it affects builders it will affect associates."
See the following link, 2012 Congressional Calendar (click here), for dates when Congress is on recess and start the discussions with your state executive officer, your NAHB state representatives and your state's NAHB BUILD-PAC trustees and ask what "we need to do to set up these meetings?". Ask you local executive officer for EO, state rep and BUILD-PAC trustee contact information.

2. Can't make the in-district work week happen? Contact them before the day of The Legislative Conference or the weeks following up to June 6th. Explain to your senator or congressman that your fellow building industry colleagues will be visiting on June 6th, and while you can't attend in person you wanted to make sure your voice, your concerns, are heard as well. 

Contact your Representatives (click here)

There is no reason that I know of not to engage your elected legislators.  If they don't hear from you they will think there is no problem. This is your industry, your career, we are talking about. Drops of rain will add up.

Note: If you are having any problems with contact information or general questions regarding The Legislative Confrence, please feel free to contact me directly
Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP (click here to contact me)