February 24, 2014

"Contrary to Popular Belief..."

I would like to share with you two stories that affected my way of life, and in particular, my views on how I would volunteer my time in our association. The first story is based on perception and the second based on reality. 


Story #1;
A long time ago, more so than I care to remember, a mentor of mine, who was also my manager,  gave me a visual to drive home a point. The situation came about when I was having lunch with him and I was very cocky regarding bringing in new business for the company we worked for. Confidence is a great trait; cockiness can be annoying. I was truly being the latter. After I delivered to him the message of how great I thought I was he asked me to "take my glass of water and stick my finger in it.." I looked at him, not exactly sure of what he really wanted me to do. Noticing my hesitation he made the ask again, which now was more of a request, to "stick my finger in the glass of water." I followed his request to the letter. I lowered my finger in the glass. He told me to "keep it there for a minute." I did as he asked because I was curious to where this was heading. When the time was up he instructed me to remove my finger, which I did immediately. His next question caught me off guard; "Did you leave a hole in the water?" I answered truthfully, "no." What he said next stuck with me ever since; "when you leave a hole in the water that means you are indispensable." The lesson in being cocky as opposed to confident was delivered and the idea that anyone, including me, is above anyone else was quickly removed. 
There comes a point in everyone's life when they need to "stick the finger in the glass of water" and realize that they will not leave a hole. Anyone who believes they're immune to this simple test means that they believe their worth is more so than others. 



Story #2;
Not as long ago as the first story, sometime between then and now, I was having a conversation with the then executive officer of my state association. We were talking about volunteers and their overall value to our locals as well as state. He said something to me that seemed harsh at the time; "Mike, we tend to treat our volunteers like sheets of paper towels, pulling them off one at a time. What we may fail to realize is that the roll does come to an end." What he was expressing to me was the fact that we sometimes take our volunteers for granted, that we have an infinite supply of time from an individual volunteer. I have watched over the years volunteers who gave so much to the association but were forgotten as soon as they stepped back, like the cardboard roll at the end of a run. I imagine it's been this way since day one, that no one volunteer stands the test of time. Association leaders and staff have to be very careful in their utilization of volunteers and appreciate them for who they are, in the here and now.

My moral to the two stories;
How did the two stories affect my association life? I realized that I was only as valuable as others perceived, not my perception. I also realized that my time would be short lived as a volunteer and that my time as a volunteer should make me feel good knowing I helped where I could. I would have to be incredibly oblivious to not know that there were others before me and there will be others after me. My lessons were taught in another time, but those lessons are very much relevant today and for all volunteers. 
My best advice to those who want it is to be yourself, ask for advice but listen to your good judgment, do what you believe is best for positive growth, do not get caught up in your "press clippings" or political positioning and never devalue others' work on behalf of our association.


Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

February 17, 2014

2014 IBS: "And the 2013 Winners Are...."

Today we have guest blogger, John Sizmore, Immediate Past Associate Members Committee Chairman. 

NAHB Associates Committee Honors Three Longtime Members

John Sizemore
On February 5th, 2014 during the International Builders Show, three longtime members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) were honored during the Associates Appreciation Breakfast held at the LVH. They were honored for their professionalism, political engagement, volunteer activities and service to the industry.

Presented by the NAHB Associates Committee, the Builders Engaging Associate Members (BEAM) award went to Paul Nelsen, president of Paul Nelsen Construction in Sioux Falls, S.D. The BEAM award is given to a builder member who values doing business with Associates: trade partners, suppliers and service providers who are also members of the NAHB federation. In fact, noted council chair John Sizemore of 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty in Louisville, Ky., all of Paul Nelsen’s subcontractors are NAHB members.

Nelsen has served on the board of directors of the HBA of the Sioux Empire in South Dakota, is an annual contributor to NAHB’s political action committee, BUILD-PAC, and is a charter member of the Home Builders Care Foundation in South Dakota.

Paul Nelsen, BEAM Award Recepient
The Associates Committee also honored Larry Hott, CAPS, president of R.L. Hott Design in Ruston, La., as the Bill Polley Advocate of BUILD-PAC. The Bill Polley Award is given to an Associate member who advocates for BUILD-PAC on the local, state and national levels. Winners are recognized for their energy, enthusiasm and ability to recruit contributors to help build up the PAC’s resources.

Hott actively pursues BUILD-PAC participation at all the meetings he attends. Hott is a three-year Gold Key member and is a Life Spike with 131 credits for recruiting and helping to retain new NAHB members.

Larry Hott, Bill Polley BUILD-PAC Award Recepient

Finally, the committee named Jerry Cowan, CAPS, senior territory manager at Builders Mutual Insurance Company in Raleigh, N.C., as NAHB’s Associate of the Year. This award recognizes Associate members who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to the home building industry on the local, state and national level.

Cowan has received numerous awards from the Greater Greensboro Builders Association and the Raleigh-Wake HBA, including Membership Recruiter of the Year, Associate Recruiter of the Year and Senior Spike of the Year. NAHB recently named Cowan an All-Time Big Spike, having earned more than 1,500 Spike credits so far during his career.
Jerry Cowan, Associate of the Year

Paul, Larry and Jerry are all excellent ambassadors for NAHB because of the professionalism, community activism and investment in the industry that they display every day, I can’t think of anyone who deserves these awards more. 

I invite you to become involved at the national level!


Association Maximization Note: Joe Dumstorf , Associate Outreach Network Chairman for 2013 was awarded the Chairman's Award given to an associate who went"above and beyond the call of duty" on behalf of the Associate Members Committee. 

Joe Dumstorf (at the mic) 








February 10, 2014

"Spikes Deliver Stability & Growth"


In order to build a home, you need to start with a solid foundation. On that foundation, sits the frame of the home which gives the home structure. In the home building industry the frame is very simple; wood and nails. 
Our association is similar; our foundation is the local HBAs and we have the structure, which is membership. Membership dictates what we do and how we perform as an association. Without membership, we have nothing. No one could argue that. Membership recruiters are the nails; without nails, we would not be able to maintain a well built structure. Without nails the frame collapses, without membership the local HBA collapses.
Nails are also known as spikes and within NAHB Spikes are members that actively seek out recruits for our association and Spikes also retain those converted recruits within our association to have a stable membership base.

Why did I just go over the above with you? It’s important to fully grasp how important our NAHB Spikes are to our association. The average member may not even know what a Spike is or what value a Spike delivers. I would ask all state and local HBAs to highlight these membership “soldiers” across the federation and applaud their efforts.

2013 saw NAHB membership totals finally delivered an “in the black” year, first since 2007 when the economic tsunami hit. It’s been a long road for quite a few businesses and individuals over these past few years and national’s membership totals witnessed dramatic declines. 2014 will start with continued energy and building on the momentum that ’13 delivered and ’14 ending with membership arrows continued upward trends. This can only be achieved by active Spikes, those that help to recruit and retain.

Membership is critical; thank you to our NAHB Spikes for all that you have done and continue to do for NAHB. Bravo!

Members only connection to Spike Wall of Fame (click here)


For information on the NAHB Membership Committee (click here)

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP