February 26, 2015

Heels & Hard Hats

Today's guest author is Carol Morgan, managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC. Carol focuses on marketing strategy and integrating websites, search engine optimization, public relations, social media, content and creative into effective strategies that garner measurable traffic and improve ROI. Carol is the author of “Social Media 3.0” and creator of the nationally-ranked and award-winning AtlantaRealEstateForum.com, Atlanta’s most popular real estate blog.

The 2014 Chair of NAHB’s Professional Women in Building, Carol currently serves on the NAHB Board of Trustees for Professional Women in Building, the Associates Committee and the IRM Board of Governors. A graduate of Oglethorpe University, she is the recipient of the 2008 Spirit of Oglethorpe Award, PRSA Georgia Chapter’s prestigious George Goodwin Award,  the 2009 Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s Associate of the Year and 2012 Council Chair of the Year. Carol holds the MIRM (Masters in Residential Marketing), CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) and CSP (Certified Sales Professional) designations from NAHB.

A member of Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and the Home Builders Association of Georgia, she resides in Cartersville, Ga. on a farm with a plethora of four-footed friends. For more information, contact her at 770-383-3360 or via MarketingRELEVANCE.com

Note: Are you a woman pursuing a degree in construction management? Apply for the Strategies for Success Scholarship by clicking here!

Professional Women in Building: Heels & Hardhats
Carol Morgan

The NAHB Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council is the voice of women in the building industry, dedicated to promoting industry professionalism and supporting our members at the local, state and national levels by offering networking and educational opportunities, legislative awareness and outreach, and professional and personal development. 

As one of the most diverse groups within the NAHB, our membership represents builders, developers, remodelers, trade contractors, architects, marketers, designers, sales professionals and mortgage brokers.

During 2014, I had the pleasure of serving as the national chair for PWB. It was an exciting year. We embraced our full integration into NAHB, and we welcomed a new executive officer, Sheronda Carr. My executive board, advisors and Sheronda worked smartly and effectively to accomplish a number of initiatives in 2014:

·         Chartered four new local PWB councils including the Greater Lansing PWB, HBA of Greater New Orleans PWB, HBA of Metro Portland PWB and the HBA of Metro Denver PWB.
·        Raised over $13,000 for BUILD-PAC through our luggage tag sale at Spring Boards, as well as an additional $8,300 for BUILD-PAC at the IBS Board meeting.
·         Collected $1,005 in donations for the 50th Anniversary of the NAHB PWB Building Hope Scholarship Fund.
·        Awarded $53,091 to the NAHB PWB/National Housing Endowment’s Strategies for Success Program to provide scholarships to youth pursuing careers in the building industry.
·        Honored individuals for their significant contributions to NAHB, PWB and the housing industry including the Woman of the Year - Darylene Dennon, Member of the Year - Katherine Higgins, National Member of the Year – Cindy Cepko and Executive Officer of the Year – Dottie Fawcett.
·         Celebrated local PWB council efforts in the categories of innovative programs, legislative and political advocacy, and community outreach. Here is a list of award winners!
·         Awarded $15,000 in scholarships at the local level. These scholarships provide travel to IBS for first-time attendees to attend committee meetings, as well as offer educational assistance to members pursuing NAHB designations or advancement within their field.
·         Grew our membership by 10-percent, and recognized our top Spike membership recruiters at the Spike party sponsored by InSinkErator.

There are numerous advantages to becoming a member of PWB. The group has provided me life-long friendships, leadership mentoring and a path to follow to grow my contribution to NAHB. Seven years ago when I first got involved with PWB, it was through PWB’s communications committee. I remember having lunch with Tammie Smoot a very active member of PWB and receiving her gentle nudge to join the committee and write an article or two. From there I became chair of the communications committee and then a PWB Regional Trustee. Along the way I made more friends and gained more understanding of this fantastic group. I am proud of all we have accomplished and who we represent within the NAHB federation.

So, who are we? In 2014, PWB conducted a Women in Construction Survey with NAHB, and through this survey we have a snapshot of the group we represent nationally. Here are some of the highlights:
·         75% have 10 years or more experience in the building industry
·         The median age is 50 years old
·         59% have completed an advance degree
·         Approx 50% are builders, remodelers, subcontractors, land developers or work in multifamily or commercial building
·         2014 media revenue was $2.4 million
·         The median number of employees is 7

For more information on getting involved, reach out to me, Sheronda Carr or anyone on the council’s 2015 leadership team including Carole Jones, chair, Cindy Cepko, vice chair, Juli Bacon, 2nd vice chair.  

February 19, 2015

The Death of a Political Action Committee

In my opinion, one of the best novels of all time is "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. The story is well known; a miserly curmudgeon who, along life's way, loses the true meaning of Christmas.Through a series of past, present and possible future events, we read about Ebeneezer Scrooge and his realization that immediate changes can alter his future. As the story goes, "Good Spirit," he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: "Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!" Well, most of you know how the rest of the story continues towards its conclusion, but as a quick recap, Scrooge's life, one of loathing and greed, didn't take a sense of complete urgency until he saw his name on a tombstone. It was in that moment, when all that had happened to him in the story, came to a roaring "ah ha moment." It was at that moment he realized that he must change his ways.  
"A Christmas Carol" was written in 1843 but it's story resonates today because all of us, to a certain degree, can relate to things in life we wished we could have done differently. Some may even work towards change going forward.
My purpose for introducing a Dickens classic into today's article has a sole purpose and that is to help, to the best of my abilities, change the course of struggling Political Action Committees that may be at the point of seeing their names on a tombstone. Let's face it, the Great Recession damaged many fundraising roads and sucked enthusiasm from creativity. The post recession lack of any dollar, let alone the PAC dollar, caused an erosion for our industry's much needed fundraising efforts. However, other factors have had a role in this as well and it begins with the caretakers of PAC aka trustees;
  1. The lack of substantial mission statement that defines who, purpose and direction.
  2. The acceptance of the phrase "because we have always done things this way."
  3. The lack of strategic PAC meetings that uncover new ideas and, as important, implementing new ideas. What's the worst that can happen; you try something new and it doesn't work? At least you were willing to try.
  4. Leaving a meeting, with perhaps that new idea in place, and no time certain for it's implementation causing the idea to "die on the vine."
  5. Gathering for the sake of gathering and discussing the same things over and over and yet over again. 
  6. Holding new trustee orientation as well as refreshers for existing trustees.
If we had team meetings at our own companies that were handled this way you could be certain that the need for team meetings would go away due to the company going out of business or drastically downsizing.

How do we bring a PAC back from it's possible demise? Starting right now and going forward, productive change is needed. Take the above bullet points, starting with the first, a mission statement. What is the absolute function of a PAC? Raising funds for campaign contributions for legislators who are pro-housing. How should a PAC mission statement read? "Our goal as HBA's Political Action Committee is to raise the awareness within our members of how politics and our industry are inseparable and to encourage each member's ownership in the housing industry by investing their fair share in our PAC's primary function." Something along the lines would be a great start but without a clear cut mission, and yes, written out, you become lost. In fact, print it out and have your trustees read it before every PAC meeting or start your meeting by reading the mission statement out loud during chairman's remarks.

Bullet points 2 & 3 are very treacherous waters. Doing things the same way over and over again and expecting different results is quite possibly the craziest direction you could take. Crazy plus? Taking ideas from contributing members of your PAC and not vetting their potential as new and additional roads to travel in the search for PAC contributions. So many members become discouraged when their ideas are brought to the table and a few entrenched members disregard them because of their lack of understanding. You want positive change in your PAC? Listen, open your mind, discuss, then give the idea a solid opportunity to succeed on its own merits. No idea is a bad idea unless one track visions are allowed to dominate a PAC's direction. Until you have a successful PAC, you don't.

What's worse than not accepting new ideas? Not implementing the new ideas when the consensus is "let's do this!" Bullet point 4 is very frustrating because it means "we love the new idea" but there is no plan or timetable to implement the new idea. Come up with an idea, vett the idea for its functionality, identify the idea's financial gain v. work needed to accomplish, assign trustees to implement the idea and set up a date certain for the event, program or initiative. The worse thing you can do is go to the same well for funds. You need to shake up your methods.

Bullet point 5; having PAC meetings that have the same discussions or same discussions but phrased slightly different are just as useless because the lack of creativity at the meeting level will certainly translate to lackluster results and a waning of volunteer interest. To have a meeting because you haven't had one in awhile is no reason to have a meeting. Meetings need to accomplish something better for PAC's initiatives, at least better than before you started. Unfortunately, in some cases, trustees will talk for the sake of talking even if it means rehashing past conversations. You don't want to suck the life out of your PAC trustees, do you? 

Bullet point 6; new trustees with zero to little guidance on what the role of a trustee truly means is setting the stage for the PAC to begin its descent and will deteriorate over the years as the established members start to step down. Before you know it, the true meaning of PAC is gone. Refreshers are needed to help trustees to refocus their commitment and reignite their passion. Everyone one needs a shot of enthusiasm every once in awhile.

If the above negatives fits your PAC you need to start, beginning now, with reshaping your PAC or tear down and start from scratch. If your choice is do nothing, your PAC will become devalued beyond recognition or simply cease to exist.
The importance of PAC is far reaching, more so than any other HBA function you may deem important. Without political influence we will be in a very hostile climate for our chosen industry, which would translate to less members and less non dues revenue. Meaning the demise of the HBA would not be too far down the road. Trust me, I'm not exaggerating.

Some of you may not like or appreciate what I wrote today. Do not look to criticize me for striking a nerve. Instead, look at this as an opportunity for your PAC, just as Ebeneezer Scrooge did by getting a second chance at living his life to its fullest. Change is never easy but it can be exceptionally rewarding if changed for the better with eyes wide open and minds expanded with a sense of urgency sprinkled in.

Go ahead, say humbug all you want.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

February 13, 2015

Nationally, Associates Are Ready for 2015

Michael LeCorgne, 2015 Associate Members Committee Chairman

My Chairman's Message and Vision for 2015 

Wow, what a great time we had during IBS and a great finish to end NAHB's official close out of 2014. Many thanks to Kim Hefner- Hines for her leadership of the Associate Members Committee this past year, and to Kathy Craven Snodgrass for her past 2 years of leadership as our National Associate Chairman.

 Without losing any excitement we now start 2015! 

I would also like to introduce as well as recognize Diane Beaton who will be serving as the National Associate Chairman for the next 2 years, and Michael Kurpiel who will be serving the next 2 years as NAHB’s BUILD-PAC Associate Vice-Chair (an officer position). Michael has the official honor of being the first associate to serve in all three national associate leadership positions.

Dianne Beaton, National Associate Chairman

Michael Kurpiel, BUILD-PAC Associate Vice Chairman

Both Dianne and Michael will represent the associate members very well, as they each bring many talents and knowledge to the table with them. 
To learn more about our three national associate leadership positions, click here.

I am proud to be serving with Diana Lucero as our Associate first vice-chair and Strategic Planner and Sonny Antonio as our second vice-chair. The rest of the associate leadership team, heading the following committees are: Kenny Elliott, Chair, Associate Outreach Network; Tony Bosco, Chair, Advocacy; Linda Mosier-Vaudt, Chair, Leadership and Recognition; Larry Hott, Chair, Education and Designations. Please feel free to reach out to any of the people listed above if you need any information or would just like to have a conversation regarding NAHB associate information or concerns. All can be reached by contacting NAHB Staff member, Sonora Munks smunks@nahb.org

We look forward to continuing the efforts of those that have gone before us and bringing even more information to the associate and general NAHB membership to help each of us become more successful in our businesses.

Just a quick outline of what the Associate Members Committee hopes to accomplish this year:
• Help to increase local membership by delivering value to prospective members by growing the awareness of the many programs available to each any every member though NAHB’s Affinity Program and  the Member Advantage – new programs just announced at IBS – 2-10 HBW service program, Geico partnership, and cell phone discount program.
• Ensure that we understand what is important to the locals and assist them. Make sure we not only share ideas from National meetings but also reach out to hear success stories on local levels and share those as well.
• Get even more associate members involved and participating in BUILD-PAC at any level. Great strides have been made, and many associates have stepped up to participate at the high donor level, which is fantastic and encouraged. What we need is for more associates to participate at any level that will work for them. EVERYONE can participate at some level!!
• Make sure that our associates and builder members are recognized for their participation at every level and encourage even more applications for the Associate of the Year, Bill Polley BUILD-PAC Award, BEAM Award. There are so many involved and hard-working members that deserve to be recognized!
• Increase the landscape of our membership by going past the traditional membership base of builders, associates, affiliates, and student chapters. Home-building does so much for the economy of a community, we need to reach out to the other members of the community for their support as well.

These are some of the things that I hope to see accomplished in 2015. If you have something you would like to see addressed, or, are of a concern to you, please feel free to reach out to me and I will look forward to your call or email. With your help and the commitment of all those involved at the many different levels, local, state, national, I believe we can do the above and more!

Here is to a great 2015!

Best Regards, 

Michael LeCorgne, CGA, CGP, CSP, CAPS
Associate Members Committee Chair, 2015
2-10 Home Buyers Warranty


February 5, 2015

NAHB Associates "IBS Edition"

Association Maximization note: Kim Hefner, an associate member from South Dakota, is our guest blogger for this issue. Kim will be officially wrapping up her sensational year as the 2014 Associate Members Committee Chairman by delivering to members back home the stars that shined under her year as committee chair. Michael LeCorgne, the 2015 Associate Members Committee Chairman, will follow Kim with a message for you, our member.

The 2015 International Builders Show delivered, once again, as promised. Spectacular exhibits, educational courses that are second to none and tremendous, high quality, professional effort from our staff members. 

Kim Hefner, 2014 NAHB Associate Members Chairman
Our leadership team of the 2015 senior officers were installed and we thank them for their dedication to all our members in their efforts to defend all of our businesses. Three officers in particular should be recognized; Rick Judson, the 2013 immediate past chairman, Kevin Kelly, the new immediate past chairman and Tom Woods, our 2015 chairman of the board. Meetings during the week were highly productive, with volunteerism ever present, and our 2014 board of directors wrapped up the week with thought provoking conversation and direction. I personally left IBS 2015 with a good feeling for the future of our Federation and a re-energized determination to help affect positive change in our industry.

One of the volunteer members highlights of the week came on Wednesday morning, January 21st, at our annual Associates Awards Breakfast, with many in attendance; builders and associates as well as HBA staff from across the country and the event was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center

This year's group of honorees has demonstrated that actively engaged associates will keep on providing the deeply needed dedication that helps to keep our Federation of local and state HBAs at their best. Within NAHB these individuals were, and are, recognized for their accomplishments because they realize that "if 'it' affects builders 'it' will affect associates."

The descriptions of the 5 awards/inductions are:

1. Associate of the Year
(Presented to the most outstanding associate member for his/her dedication and proactive leadership at the local, state and, with heavy emphasis, the national level. The voting is based on a points system with past winners and builders as the judges.)

2. Bill Polley BUILD-PAC Award
(The associate member who's dedication in political fund raising efforts and helping to expand the importance of political action. The award was named after Bill Polley. Bill passed away several years ago but his political activism lives on.)

3. The B.E.A.M. Award 
Given to the builder who best exemplifies NAHB's motto "It's good business to do business with a member." BEAM stands for Builders Engaging Associate Members

4. The Chairman's Award
Given to an associate who went"above and beyond the call of duty" on behalf of the Associate Members Committee.

5. Induction into the Society of Honored Associates
    (3 of 4 finalists for Associate of the Year)

 Drum roll please.................

2014 Associate of the Year
Dianne Beaton, CGA, CAPS
New Hampshire

2014 Bill Polley Advocate of BUILD PAC Award
Kathy Craven Snodgrass, CGA, CAPS, CGP
North Carolina 

2014 BEAM Award
Mike Hughes Builders

2014 Chairman’s Award
Monica Sommerfeldt Lewis

Inductees into the Society of Honored Associates

Diana Lucero
New Mexico

 Joe Dumstorf

Mike Farr

 Randy Fannin

The NAHB members, from around The Federation, congratulate you. Bravo!

I encourage associates from all over the country to make sure your state HBA submits names to NAHB staff member Sonora Munks (smunks@nahb.org). Sonora will send to you the forms needed for submission. It is a great way to make sure the country knows who you are proud of back home.

Here are links to all the past award winners. Their efforts will never be forgotten!

Associate of the Year (click here) 
Chairman's Award (click here) 
Bill Polley BUILD-PAC Award (click here) 
BEAM Award (click here) 
Society of Honored Associates (click here)

I would like to hand off the Associate Members Committee to Louisiana's pride and joy, Michael LeCorgne. Michael just completed his two year commitment as BUILD-PAC's Accoiate Vice Chairman and now begins his year as Associate Members Committee Chairman. He has been a tremendous asset during my year as chairman and I am excited to see how this year unfold with Michael at the helm.

 Michael, congratulations and "go get'em!"

Best Regards,