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 Through no fault of their own, some mighty good builders and associates are no longer active in the home building business, and that’s a void we need to fill.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
Director.


Submitted by:
Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

1 comment:

Ann Garvey said...

So nice to hear from Bob.