January 28, 2017

The Future of NAHB Membership Is Here

Have you ever gone to a gym looking to sign up only to be told you have to pay for your entire year in advance? Chances are that you haven't. Have you ever visited Amazon.com to purchase an item only to be told that it will take 60 days (on average) to process order? If you did, you never went back. I can even go to Groupon and book and all inclusive trip in a matter of 5 minutes or less.

Why have we made joining the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) such a lengthy process? I suspect it's because of the age old adage "because that's how we've always done it." Well, NAHB will be celebrating 75 years of service to members across the country this year but 58 of those years were in another century. "Things" need to be brought to the way the world works today as well as constantly being ready for the day by day changes to our future. 

I can't speak for all the new and potentially exciting ideas and possible direction NAHB will take leading our industry into it's next 75 years but I can tell you about one initiative that has come to fruition, one I am proud to lead as chairman. NAHB, through a working group of outstanding volunteer members and EOs from across the country, has been developing a tool to make it easier for members to join or renew. Thanks to their hard work and dedication NAHB now has a solution that will take our membership process into the 21st century, and we are ready to take it out for a test drive.

Since the Midyear meeting, the working group has held countless meetings to discuss many of the challenges that had to be resolved to design and develop a program before an initial pilot could be launched. We are proud to announce that on January 8th, the first new member application was received and processed at the Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern New Jersey, the pilot local home builders association (HBA). 

This new platform will replace a process that has not seen significant changes in decades.  HBAs can save time and money by processing payments online, allowing members to pay in installments, auto-renewing members and sharing merchant fees. Members will receive nearly live processing of their membership payments and have greater flexibility in how they chose to manage their membership. 
Apply and pay online. Right now only 20% of local associations offer online payment.

Federation-wide access.  

The ability to apply or renew from any level of the federation. Payment plans will be simplified and accessible to all members whose local chooses to participate. Locals can offer their prospective members payment options: one lump sum or pay in four or 12 equal installments. (Reducing a potential financial burden to a young business owner.) Auto-renewing! Members can chose to automatically renew with the credit card on file or by ACH. 

The benefits will be tremendous, both for HBAs and members. Our NAHB Immediate Past Chairman Ed Brady says, “I am so pleased the future of membership is here. This platform has been a long time coming and it represents a huge shift for the organization and our members. But most of all, it should help us grow.”
The pilot of this new program will allow us to fine tune the system before it is made available to all HBAs across the Federation later this year. We are excited about the potential this program has to streamline membership and eliminate a lot of the locals’ administrative work so they have more time to serve the members. 

Please feel free to click on my name below for and email me any questions you may have about this program.

It's Time to Take Advantage

January 22, 2017

A Fresh Start

A fresh start is always good, particularly when the previous "go at it" didn't go at it quite so well, at least for quite a few in the Federation. 
The home-building industry has been held back over the past 8 years plus by many obstacles. It appears that some or most of those obstacles will start to clear as President Trump begins his first full week in office.
Will Obamacare be repealed and replaced? Will it be modified to make sure ALL Americans are treated fairly? Will small businesses begin to hire when those burdensome tax/penalties are relieved? 
How about those ridiculously extreme EPA regulations that have crippled efforts to sell or buy land needed to build homes? Seems like there will be relief coming there as well. No more dictatorial actions would be welcome among the members of NAHB. By the way, we have to breathe the air and drink the water as will our beloved children will and grandchildren, as well as other family members. We just want reasonable regulations not "take it and suffer" regulations.
 AD&C lending? How will that progress under a business friendly administration? It has slightly eased but thousands of builders can't meet the suffocating lending conditions that need to be loosened for those builders who actually have a business plan and buildable land. Common sense, please!

Job creation has been a lauded victory of the past 8 years but as the saying goes "you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig." Yes, job creation, mostly restoration, has improved. The actual compensation package? Shrunk. People who left the job search ranks? Increased. Millennials, who builders will need for building, are still not in the career choice they imagined. They are still renting or leaving at home. Does this sound like we had great jobs improvement? Before you give me the party "yes" for us in home building it's a resounding NO.

Will Donald Trump be the great panacea for our industry? He might but you can't please everybody so time will tell. Will he be an measured improvement over the Obama years? In my opinion, yes he will if what I outlined above comes to fruition. 

The use of violent protests, radical name calling and mass hysteria is not going to change the next four years. Donald Trump is not a politician, he is a businessman and those types of resistance are not going to sway him or the 50% of Americans who voted for him. In fact, you may lose more people to your call because of your lack of understanding of calm negotiating. This is who the president is and he was given an edict by the landslide of states, the same states that make up our federation of local home builders associations. 

We need to look towards the success of our companies that we own or are employed by. We need to care for those who rely on our industry to earn a living. We have our families to think about and their well being. Ideology makes your conscious at ease but does not pay the bills or create jobs.

Whether you voted for Donal Trump or not is irrelevant because he is the president for the next four years. Respect the office, respect the other half's choice and respect America. It's the only sane choice you have. 

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

January 14, 2017

Congratulations to Dean Mon NAHB Third Vice Chairman '17

The road to success is a winding, hilly, detour filled highway. If you persevere you can navigate the road and if your patient, you will reach each stop along the way, eventually.

Dean Mon, an NAHB leader, has reached his next stop; the National Association of Home Builders' Third Vice Chairman position. Dean started his career at NAHB's national volunteer level in 1990 and has experienced many committee roster spots and quite a few committee chairman roles. Dean has served as NAHB state representative (NJ) and National Area Chairman (Area 2, NY & NJ), both multiple times and has been engaged on NAHB's Executive Board for a very extensive period of time. Dean has served as a BUILD-PAC trustee for as long as I can remember and he truly understands the DC connection to a successful building environment. 

Dean Mon and Michael Kurpiel
His 2014 campaign for third vice chairman was not successful but Dean learned a great deal from that experience and is a better leader because of it. The 2016 campaign was memorable as Dean traveled the country meeting members and executive officers and he listened very closely to what the grassroots of our federation are experiencing. The Great Home Building Depression of 2008 still lingers to varying degrees and Dean understands the locals and state HBAs needs. After all his years of experience and meaningful conversations and broad industry awareness, Dean is ready to serve our members and work towards a better future for us all.

Dean is now on the national leadership ladder, working with his fellow officers;
  1. Granger MacDonald, Chairman of the Board (Texas)
  2. Randy Noel, 1st Vice Chairman (Louisiana)
  3. Greg Ugalde, 2nd Vice Chairman (Connecticut) 
  4. Dean Mon, 3rd Vice Chairman (New Jersey) 
  5. Ed Brady, Immediate Past Chairman (Illinois) 
  6. Jerry Howard, Chief Executive Officer and President (Washington, DC)
This is a spectacular, highly intelligent team Dean has joined and all have the passion in their hearts and fight in their souls to work towards protecting the home building industry where we all earn a living and provide for our families. It takes a certain type of individual to dedicate their time, treasure and talent for all.

Read about all of our NAHB National Leaders by clicking here

Michael Kurpiel gives Dean's seconding speech

I have a dedicated this article to Dean because he is a very dear friend that is more like a big brother to me. He is also one of my past NJBA presidents and I'm very proud of him and our state for having Dean in DC.

Dean Mon's NAHB press release can be read by clicking here

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

January 6, 2017

Another Run Around the Sun

What a year, what an ending what a chance for new beginnings.
2016 was a fierce year for politics, more so on the national level. Some would even say "nasty." I am one of them. After all that has been said, and all that has been done, we have a new president that will be looking to change America back into a business friendly, job creating and income enhancing country. If successful, President Trump will dramatically improve the housing market by the three items I mentioned. 
For everyone in home building, builder and those that help with the building process, this should make 2017 brighter. I'm looking forward to our "making housing great again" future.

I am also looking forward to our International Builders Show, starting next week in Orlando. There will be a lot of exciting news to report but two items, a new addition to leadership and a new tool for member recruitment and retention, are the items I'm very  excited about I will bring to you next week.

Short blog, I know. But I am looking forward to one more year publishing this blog.

Happy New Year!

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP