VOL. 126 | NO. 237 | Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Moore Takes Reins of Home Builders Association
By Sarah Baker
As a homebuilder, philanthropist and body builder, Jimmy Moore is a well-rounded individual.
And as the newly installed president of the Memphis Area Home Builders Association, he is poised to lead the trade organization by example and with empathy for its members.
At MAHBA’s annual holiday gala Thursday, Dec. 1, 11 past presidents came forward to pass the gavel to Moore, dating back to 1961’s president Morris Mills all the way up to 2011 president David Clark.
Like his peers, Moore’s background has a rich history in construction. Upon graduating from Overton High School, Moore attended the University of Memphis for his bachelor’s degree in sociology, and then went back to get education certified with a math major to teach math in high school for a few years.
A first-generation homebuilder, Moore got his start in 1972 when a man named Robert Denley hired the then 23-year-old Moore, assigning him on a framing crew for a summer job with his construction company. Over that next semester, Moore completed his degree at night while working full-time for Denley.
“I learned a lot about construction during that time period,” Moore said. “Then when I taught school, I did remodeling, additions, smaller jobs, and then in the summers I would do construction.”
In 1987, Moore left teaching and began building custom homes. He worked under the name Moore Homes for several years before ultimately reconnecting with Denley to form a partnership for his current business, J. Moore & Associates.
Moore remembers a time when advertising and building model homes weren’t necessary to be successful.
“We’ve all had to pretty much reinvent ourselves and the approach has changed,” Moore said. “Now, I’m advertising, got a website and we are taking on smaller jobs that we actually turned down over the past few years. Now, we are doing quite a few additions, remodeling, and we still entertain custom homes, they’re just few and far between.”
Moore plans to take the same approach to leading MAHBA as he has with his business – to adapt to changing economic conditions. For Moore, that approach trickles down to retaining members.
In May 2008, MAHBA’s membership count was 1,028. As of May 2010, the organization had 776 members, and today, it has 480.
“We want to be sensitive to what our members are going through,” Moore said. “We want to work hard to try to do what needs to be done to help our members get through this downturn in the economy. Probably my main emphasis this year is to improve and increase member services.”
Another area of focus for Moore’s 2012 term will be to increase interactions with members and the nonprofit sector, said Don Glays, MAHBA executive director. It’s something Moore knows well from his past experience as chairman of Home Builders Care.
“Jimmy is going to be modest about this, but he built a house in the Binghampton area that today serves as the bedrock of that block as a safe haven for young, at-risk kids in that neighborhood,” Glays said. “Part of his initiative this year is going to be working with the charities and with our members to try to do some housing for less fortunate people, maybe some Habitat housing. From that perspective, you’re going to see MAHBA taking a higher profile with the media and with the public in terms of doing some of these I think are very, very important charitable projects this year.”
Moore also plans to work with MAHBA member and 2012 president of the Tennessee Homebuilders Association, Keith Grant, on a homebuilders job creation bill and special assessment district legislation, which if passed, Glays said, will “have a very positive effect on homebuilding in Tennessee.”
Outside of work, Moore and his wife, Kelley, have two grown children, two grandchildren, and one on the way. And here’s something not everyone knows about the shy but confident Jimmy Moore: he’s a fitness junkie.
Moore, 62, has placed in the top five in the last 11 body building competitions that he’s been in, including one where he placed first in the nation in his age category.