VOL. 110 | NO. 237 | Tuesday, December 10, 1996
lj 10/5 cates
Building toward the future
The Home Builders Association of Memphis lists eight new goals on its 1997 "wish list"
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
Although the end of the year is generally thought of as a time of virtually non-stop holiday hustle and bustle, it also can be considered an ideal time for charting a course for the year ahead.
The Home Builders Association of Memphis has established eight new goals for 1997, a "wish list" that outlines the organizations commitment to such issues as builder education, increased attendance and involvement, political awareness, continuity of leadership and organization identity.
The goals were the result of a year-end planning retreat attended by board members and staff and were presented to HBAM members Friday during the associations annual installation and awards banquet.
One of the highest priorities of this years agenda is the improvement of communications and relationships with home-building professionals and government officials throughout the Memphis metropolitan area, an area that has greatly expanded since the associations founding in 1944 and which now includes the individual municipalities in the outlying areas of Shelby County as well as those in Fayette and Tipton counties, said Charles Morgan, this years HBAM president.
"We plan to take the high road and reach out to all of these areas," Morgan said. "We have a great deal of contact with Memphis and Shelby County governmental officials and agencies, and we really do deal a lot with their counterparts in the surrounding towns, too, but not as much as we probably should be."
In order to accomplish this, HBAM is establishing a Local Builders Council in 1997, which will be headed by outgoing HBAM president Paul Ryan.
"We are going to make an effort to be more visible in their town halls and meetings," Morgan said. "We would also like to get builders from each of those areas to form individual councils as part of HBAM."
To better reflect the broad geographic scope of its membership, HBAM officials also are exploring the possibility of changing the associations name.
"The operating word here is explore. It could be an emotional issue," said Dave Reel, HBAMs executive director. "Were going to be getting feedback from our members to see just how attached they are to the old name. However, a name change could be a gateway to other things."
While the word "Memphis" will most certainly be retained, the associations name could possibly be expanded to something like the Home Builders Association of Greater Memphis or Home Builders Association of the Greater Memphis Area, Morgan said.
Builder education also will be in the spotlight during 1997.
"When we hold meetings for our general membership, we plan to include more educational programs to better educate our builders," Morgan said. "We also want to bring in good local talent, as well as that from the outside to lead our seminars this year."
"The whole point of a professional organization is to help its members get better at what they do, and the best way to do this is to learn more about how to do it," said Palmer Albertine, president of The Albertine Co. and this years HBAM first vice president. "A builder is primarily a manager of other people, and theres so much to do, you cant watch everybody do everything.
"In the old days, grandpa was a carpenter, junior was a carpenter and bubba was a carpenter. Now, these second- and third-generation contractors are not out there like they used to be, so the experienced subcontractor is more and more difficult to find.
"The more we know about how they do their job, the better overall product were going to build."
To further increase builder members access to information, an exchange group committee may be formed in 1997 within HBAM as part of its builders issues committee. The new group will be a forum where builders can help each other out with problems, exchange information about forms that work well in their office and swap ideas about how to cut through bureaucracy, Morgan said.
The upcoming year also will find HBAM stepping up its participation in and commitment to political action efforts.
"We want to try to make a consistent effort every year to be effective in raising funds for and contributing to the campaigns of people running for public office that support issues that create a better environment for both home buyers and home builders," Morgan said. "There are so many regulations local, state and federal that end up placing a burden on home buyers, and there has been a lot of government intervention that has really contributed to price increases in housing in recent years."
While an organizations agenda may be filled to the brim with good intentions, it is strong only if it has the full support and involvement of its membership, HBAM officials said.
"I would like to encourage more builder member involvement in our association," Morgan said. "There are a lot of people who dont realize what our association does for its members. Were not the same association we used to be back in the days we were located on Central Avenue. We now have a number of committees that work very diligently and very professionally to solve the problems that face the home buyers and home builders of our entire community."