January 29, 2015

"Bring Housing Home"

“There are three types of people; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”

The above quote is timeless and is attributed to many and, unfortunately with regards to the last two types, practiced by many. One of the great things we enjoy as Americans is the right to take peaceful action for just causes.

As members of NAHB, we are encouraged to work with our state and federal legislators to advance our industry’s initiatives and work with the legislators to effect change. Out of 141,000 plus member/businesses within NAHB we have had less than 2% of our builder and associates go to Washington, DC and visit with Congress to discuss ways to enact financial reform and maintain Mortgage Interest Deductions for homeowners, as well as other much needed industry legislation, and our members do their best to help the legislators understand our issues and our thoughts on solutions. Understand that 141,000 plus represents one person; the average member has at ten individuals, which could represent at least two votes. We are talking about close to three million voices that Congress should know about. My numbers are ultra conservative so let your imagination run wild!

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's focus on the 2% of singular members; this is simply not going to cut it. If our legislators don’t hear ALL of our voices they won’t know that their constituents (you) are still, in many ways, hurting from the great recession. I know the expense of traveling to Washington is prohibitive to most which certainly, and understandably, explains the low numbers. If that’s the case, how can you contribute your time to advocacy efforts? The answer is participating with your state or local HBA within your districts. Just because you can’t make it to Washington doesn't mean you can’t meet with your congressmen and U.S. senators at home, in their office or yours. In fact, I believe that’s a much more effective way to communicate your concerns for your livelihood. The distractions of Washington, at the federal offices, are intense. Meeting them at home places you in a much more relaxed atmosphere and, with not having the external pressures of being in the capitol, your legislators can spend more time discussing your issues, your solutions and more important, your number of people employed in the building industry.

There are certain times of the year when your federal legislators are on recess and our back in your home states. Bringing Home Housing (click here) is the vision and the next action is March 9th through March 13th, the next time you, the member, can participate. The process is very easy and by clicking here you can obtain the 2015 NAHB “Bringing Housing Home”(TM) Legislative ConferenceIn-District Meeting Preparation Check List.

I would hope that your career means a lot to you and your future as well. By making things happen you are a part of the process not just watching. If you’re the third type who doesn't know “what’s happening,” start reading your HBA alerts and calls to action. Ask your local president to explain what NAHB is doing on all of our behalf to help grow our industry. When you are up to speed then take your destiny into your hands and get involved through our NAHB Grass Roots efforts.
I find it humorous when I hear that “special interest groups” are always lobbying the legislators. We all have a “special interest” and it’s called earning a living and providing for our families. As a person with a career in the building industry I am proud of what we do and I find it a noble industry, particularly the home building and home remodeling disciplines. We provide shelter and a better quality of life for families, as well as those who’d like to start families, and those new or remodeled homes are where memories are made. It’s time for our members, all 141,000, AND GROWING, to take some action when called upon so we can demonstrate our passion to those in positions to help us.
Like it or not, politics decide everything in life. Make “things happen” to ensure that the right decisions are made.

Will you make things happen?

 submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP 

January 25, 2015

In Three Weeks... It's Going Down!

"We're thinking members! You wanna win? You have a chance!" 

Mikey "Pitbull" Kurpiel

Yes, local HBAs, you have a chance IF you think you have what it takes to dethrone me :)

It's showtime!

NAHB is excited to announce the "What NAHB Membership Means to Me” video contest. Through Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, members may enter by creating and submitting videos 45 to 60 seconds long for a chance to win gift cards and an appearance in the 2015 NAHB membership campaign.
They turned me into “Pitbull” for the promo video that announces this social media contest. This campaign demonstrates the value of NAHB membership in an entertaining and memorable way. NAHB can’t wait to see the creative videos that our members and councils produce and enter. I absolutely challenge all of you reading this article to particpate

Follow these easy steps for entering:
1. Make a video describing what membership means and why others should join. Make it entertaining or serious, sing a song, do a dance or even write a poem. Create it solo or with a group of NAHB members. Just make sure that each video is original.
2. Create your video, post it to YouTube with ‪#‎NAHBWantsYou‬ in the title or description, and complete the submission form at www.nahb.org/NAHBWantsYou by Feb. 13. Make sure to share it on your Facebook or Twitter too!

Here is the number one video in America!

submitted by Mikey "Pitbull" K (AKA Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP)

January 15, 2015

The Big Secret in Politics is...

Your vote is YOUR vote. It belongs to no one but you, it is owed to no one but you. However, like so many things in life, peer pressure forces your hand up to vote for or against something, or someone, because others have pressured you to do so. Bullying comes to mind because peer pressure is a form of being bullied. Or, being ostracized, another act of being bullied, by your peers because you won't publicly give your support. Some people have the fortitude to go against the grain. Others would love to, but...

One of the best ways of exercising YOUR right to vote for what YOU believe in, without the possibility of repercussion, is the secret ballot. The SECRET ballot is a way to vote without the fear of being pressured by intimidation, subtle or otherwise.. 

The secret ballot is the voter's choice in an election or a referendum, while remaining anonymous. 

This year at the International Builders Show, we have a contested election, we have a choice. Contested elections are fantastic because they allow the voters on the board of directors to make a distinction on who will be best to protect the voters' overall interest, which, in my case as a voter, is my future in the building industry. I am not about the promise of a committee chairmanship or the act of political positioning. Those are for the few who engage in "look at me" grandstanding and not being concerned about the future but rather their present. 
I subscribe to the rule that successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others, or the cause, while unsuccessful people are always asking "what's in it for me?" Individual gratification does not and will not help our industry, our jobs or our families well being.

Voting is a privilege. It means someone or a group trusted and trusts you to "do the right thing." A vote, particularly one performed by secret ballot, gives you, the voter, complete power to support the candidate you believe to be the best positioned to lead our Federation. Which candidate will truly lead, while challenging others to lead as well? Who will look at short term initiatives to help all of us with the savvy and wherewithal to lead with eyes on the future?

On January 22nd, the NAHB board of directors will vote for the Federation's 3rd vice chairman, thereby making a decision that will affect our industry. As a board member I know I will vote wisely, not for a promise or because I was feeling pressured to vote a particular way, but because I need leadership that will help my industry, your industry, our industry.

The secret ballot; "DO THE RIGHT THING!" 

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

Many drops of rain fill an ocean. Many members engaged fill Washington, DC

January 8, 2015

Other People's Money

"Whooooosh!" Ever get that feeling that sometimes your money is being flushed? It happens in politics every day. Politicians using taxpayers’ dollars for frivolous items or things that clearly do not help our country with the basics; food, clothing and shelter. Some of the worst politicians are the ones that were born into wealth and/or a thriving environment, not knowing the true value of the U.S. dollar, and then having them become the caretaker of “other people’s money.” Contrarily, some of the best leaders are those who “come from the dirt,” growing against the odds they were initially dealt. They are the ones who know the meaning of hard earned money and how to spend for the sake of need unlike those who side with the sake of want.

Taxpayers pay a certain percentage of their wages to the federal government. They have no choice in the matter. Remember the saying only two things in life are certain, death and taxes. Those taxes, if utilized correctly and not wasted, are in fact a much needed way to help us with our day to day life. Roads, schools, our country's defense, to name just a very small few. If we didn't pay taxes, we would be living and experiencing life in a much different world.

As an NAHB member your dues are like taxes. Dollars from your "paycheck" are contributed to your local HBA to be divvied up by the local, state and national (NAHB). Those dues are paid to each level so that each level can work on what's best for the member; education, business opportunities and industry growth. The local level, in most cases, provides the education and business opportunities. The state and national associations provide industry advocacy and growth. That growth could be in the form of protection as well because any adverse actions towards our members livelihoods would threaten growth. The state works on issues that inevitably take its course through the state capital and NAHB performs the same function in our nation's capital.

When we elect our legislators, whether it's on the state or federal level, we as taxpayers demand fiscal responsibility. Reasonable people understand that you can't keep printing money and eventually, when your rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter will eventually come back to haunt you. That is fiscal irresponsibility.  As a member, if you feel that your dollars are not being well spent, you simple do not renew. How many members became ex-members because of a lack of perceived value?

In our federation, fiscal responsibility begins with our very own elected officials but it could end with membership not growing because as we add members we lose members. That's called "treading water" and even the strongest of swimmers will drown if there is no one there to help them. That is why we, as an association, elect members to fill leadership roles. The stronger associations elect leaders to lead us. It takes a special member to want to lead; it takes an exceptional leader to lead our members to opportunities that help us through work, business development and financial stability. Leaders know how to properly work with "other people's money" because leaders know it is not THEIR money. Fiscal responsibility should be just that; being responsible. Being held accountable. Being a leader.

Anybody can preach fiscal responsibility, but it takes a leader to really do it. A leader, a true leader, will take a member-elected position and will be accountable and will not hide or shy away from frank conversations that may, and will, be needed as we move through 2015 and head towards all of our futures. 

When it's time to elect your next association leader, elect someone who will not take "other people's money" for granted and will perform as if it is their own hard earned money being spent. Fiscal responsibility truly is the art of understanding the value of money, in our association’s case, members’ dues.

One drop represents one voice. Many drops represents NAHB's voice!

January 5, 2015

New Year's Resolutions; "This Year I Will..."

Note: Association Maximization will begin publishing on Thursdays for the upcoming year. Today, however, we have a special "first work day after the holidays" edition to get you started.

Welcome to a New Year with an old way to start..... New Year's resolutions. You know them; every 2nd day of the year (because the 1st day is still a holiday and doesn't count!) you make a list of things you'd like to change or improve upon for the upcoming year. Some make it a full week while some say "wait till next year." Still others have the willpower to  achieve the changes they were looking for and, in fact make it a lifestyle change for good. 
The determined ones are the most successful ones, wouldn't you agree?

2015 looks like it could finally be the year of sustained building industry recovery for single family home production. As our industry recovers we will also experience, hopefully, a resurgence of our local home builders associations (HBA). This resurgence will only help the state HBAs as well as NAHB. What we all should resolve to do this year, if we aren't already doing so, is to be better members. This isn't to say that you aren't a good member so please, take no offense. I'd like to think I'm a good member but I know there are areas that I can improve. Below are some suggestions for you, the builder & associate member as well as a few for the non member who may be reading this blog. 

New Year’s Resolutions for Builders:

1.     Do business with active associates – If you believe in what your association does for you, in terms of industry advocacy which helps with the bottom line, doing business with those who volunteer their time to generate new members and net profits from HBA fundraisers is a very good resolution to be a better member. The associates on the sidelines will see the increased business opportunities the active associates are experiencing and will look to become engaged within the HBA as well. This translates into a stronger HBA meaning a stronger advocacy arm for builders.

2.     Make sure that all your suppliers, service providers and sub contractors are members of the HBA. If it affects builders it will affect these trade partners as well; why should they not be a member like you? They benefit from your success they should invest to protect that success.
Take it one step further…
3.     Volunteer:

  • Serve as an officer for your HBA.
  • Serve as a board member for your HBA
  •  If you have accomplished the first two items look to be a mentor for the new or younger builder members of your HBA.

New Year’s Resolutions for Associates:

1.     Look to recruit builder members from your accounts list. See which of your accounts are not members of the HBA and invite them to meetings. Most HBAs should have a program in place for a complimentary general membership for prospective members. 

2.     If you are not an active associate look to volunteer your time on one committee. Just one. 60 minutes (approximately) per month and you are helping the HBA.

3.     Already an active associate? Look to recruit one new volunteer a month for your HBA. There are members on the sidelines that may want to be engaged; they just need to sometimes be asked.

4.     Associates do business with associates as well. Look to the associate members who are active if they have a service or supply you may need. If not active, look to the membership directory.

New Year’s Resolutions for non members of the HBAs –

1.     No more free rides -  Why are you on the outside looking in? Help your career by helping the only true organized entity that is for YOUR advocacy. You invest in your company with employees, equipment, office space and the coverage that insurance gives you in protection. Why not invest in the local HBA that serves to protect you?

2.      Join!

These are only suggestions and I'm sure you could debate the value of all or any. The focus should be what can you do to be a better member, a better building industry professional? The first full week of January so let’s get started… today!

Make it a great and Happy New Year!
submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP.

One drop represents one voice. Many drops represents NAHB!