President Bailey Delivers ‘State of Association’ Address

HBA President Matt Bailey Delivers "State of the Association" Address to HBA Membership

When the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield held is first general membership meeting of 2011 on February 20, new HBA President Matt Bailey was the featured program. Bailey delivered a “State of the Association” address that was focused largely on new goals and member value outlined in the HBA’s recently approved new strategic plan. The full text of President Bailey’s address is re-printed below, for the benefit of all HBA members.


How many of you took part in the HBA Home Show? We had a great one. Our Home Show committee always works so hard on that, I don’t want to fail to recognize them. John Harp has chaired that committee forever. If you are on the Home Show Committee, would you stand so we can recognize you? THANK YOU!

Attendance was up this year – 14,500 people. It was our biggest crowd since 2006. I’m hopeful that means things are beginning to turn for the better in our industry. It has been a tough road. And it can be very difficult to keep your bearings when everything you know is being turned upside down.

When you are caught in the middle of a powerful storm, it can be difficult to tell which way is up. Pilots and ship captains depend on their instrument panels when they know they can’t trust their own senses. In difficult times, you must be able to confidently depend on trusted navigational tools.

The HBA’s most important navigational tool is our strategic plan. Our last plan (adopted in 2006) accurately anticipated the coming ebb in the housing market. It identified important issues that would face our members, including a fundamentally changed marketplace, green building growth and others. And it positioned the HBA to better serve and equip its members today – right when we all need more from our association than ever.

In December 2010, the HBA board of directors adopted the fourth strategic plan in the history of the organization. This three-to-five year plan will guide decisions and priorities for the association as it strives to serve its members, advocate on their behalf on various platforms, and equip them to compete and succeed in an emerging and changed economy.

The HBA’s new strategic plan will be posted in its entirety on later this week. Watch next week’s Housing News Weekly for the story. But the new plan is comprehensive, and we would never have time to cover all of it here tonight.
So, I’d like to spend a few minutes sharing the big picture goals, and pointing out just a few of the exciting specifics you can expect to see in the months ahead.

The HBA’s new strategic plan has four Key Issue areas of focus. They are: Member Retention & Growth, Advocacy, Education, and Member Engagement.

KEY ISSUE AREA 1: Member Retention and Growth

The lifeblood of a membership organization is our ability to keep the members we have and to constantly attract new ones.

Although our member retention rate has consistently far outpaced the national averages, we have set a goal of increasing that retention rate to 85%. And, we have targeted setting new membership records by the end of this plan, reaching 500 members for the first time in our nearly 60-year history.

Thank you to Lee Beaman (outgoing membership chair and senior officer with oversight over Member Retention and Growth in our strategic plan.

Thank you to Louanne Dietrich for taking the reigns of the membership committee and our ambitious, but achievable goals for growth and retention!

KEY ISSUE AREA 2: Advocacy

The HBA is the industry’s leading (and often ONLY) advocate in the regulatory, legislative, political, and legal arenas.

We engage members, staff and contract lobbyists to fight to keep the American Dream of Homeownership affordable so our members have as many potential customers as possible!
That means working with code officials and inspectors (regulatory advocacy). It means speaking out for good ordinances and bills and against the bad ones (legislative advocacy). It means giving to the CBBT PAC and campaigning for pro-growth candidates (political advocacy). And if we do all that well, we hopefully never have to engage in legal advocacy, because suing governments is expensive and unpredictable.

Our biggest current ADVOCACY EXAMPLE: Residential Fire Sprinklers.

Last week the Missouri House of Representatives passed by a 149-9 vote, an eight year extension of Missouri’s current “Mandatory option” law. If the Senate follows suit, and the governor signs the bill, it will mean two things in Missouri will be true through the year 2019:

  • FIRST, No Missouri city, county, or political subdivision will be allowed to mandate fire sprinklers in new homes.
  • SECOND, every builder in Missouri will continue to offer residential fire sprinklers to their customers as an optional upgrade (at the customer’s expense).

The law would keep the decision about residential fire sprinklers where it should be: in the hands of informed consumers.

Successfully passing legislation (even very good legislation like this) doesn’t just happen automatically. It is only through the tireless work of the HBA that your businesses are protected from this costly and unnecessary mandate.

In fact, if not for the work of the HBA, we already would be required to install residential fire sprinklers in new homes (it is in the IRC building code)… and consequently we would be building EVEN FEWER of them than we are today!

But the HBA (and our members) also understand the importance of fire safety. This hasn’t been made public yet, but watch the news in the next couple of weeks…

HBA is partnering with the Springfield and other area fire departments to acquire, deliver, and install smoke detectors (for FREE) in hundreds of older homes throughout the area – homes where people really ARE at risk of fire injury or death. The occupants of these homes will be more than 90% more likely to survive a house fire after we provide them with these smoke detectors.

THANK YOU to our partner sponsors Meek’s and Metro Builders Supply for helping to underwrite this initiative by the HBA.

KEY ISSUE AREA #3: Education

In the last two years, dozens of local HBA members have begun or completed coursework to obtain NAHB professional designations. Thank you to Past President Rusty MacLachlan, Education Advocate Brett Godfrey and others for your leadership to build a culture of education in our HBA.

Now, we want even more of our members to have the opportunity to pursue their professional designations.

On March 15-17, at OTC in Springfield, you can complete all the coursework to earn your Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation.

AND, over the next two years – FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER – local HBA members will have opportunity to complete their BAR & PREP exams, and earn their:

  • Certified Green Professional,
  • Certified Graduate Builder,
  • Certified Graduate Remodelor,
  • Certified Graduate Associate, and
  • Certified Aging in Place Specialist designations

– all by taking classes right here in Springfield.

Of course, these classes aren’t free. And we know times have been tough. Those who have survived this painful economy aren’t sitting around with a lot of disposable extra income right now.

That’s why I am so pleased to announce the generous action recently taken by the HBA Charitable Foundation. The Foundation board recently voted to authorize 50% tuition scholarships for local HBA members who take those CGP classes here on March 15-17. And they are in the process of finalizing and announcing a comprehensive scholarship program for HBA of Greater Springfield Members who pursue the CGP, CGR, CGB, CGA, or CAPS designation locally over the next two years. Watch for more details soon on that.
If you are on the HBACF board of directors, will you please stand up? THANK YOU for your commitment to the professional education of HBA members. How about a round of applause?

KEY ISSUE AREA #4: Member Engagement

The most valuable thing we can do for our members is to engage them in the full value of their membership in the HBA. Member engagement is my top priority as president and it is front and center in our new strategic plan:

No more dragging people to events they don’t want to attend and sending them home wishing they hadn’t come! There is simply no reason for that, when the HBA has so many great things to offer its members.

So, we are inventorying and numerically evaluating EVERY HBA event to determine its value (or lack of value) to HBA members. We will dump the least valuable ones; and systematically improve whatever is left – until it would make absolutely no sense for any HBA member not to engage!

We are going to consolidate all the different ways we ask you for support into one nice, neat, comprehensive and consolidated menu of services, sponsorships, and advertising. That way, if you still WANT us to call you 20 times a year asking for $60 sponsorships, we CAN… but you’ll also have the option of one-stop shopping for all your HBA needs.

We are going to engage HBA members in becoming advocates for their industry. Every member should be involved – in some form or fashion – in supporting the advocacy efforts of the HBA. Share your opinion on an issue that affects your business. Ride along to HBAM Legislative Day (April 6, by the way). Make a small PAC contribution (every one of us should, by the way).

If politics aren’t your thing, fine. Don’t walk neighborhoods leading up to an election. Engage in the code adoption process instead. But do something to advocate on behalf of your industry. We all need all of us… now more than ever.

I’m going to challenge my fellow HBA members, staff, committees, councils, etc. … I’m going to ask you to give more of yourself and your resources than you have ever been asked, but I want you to think of that as a good thing.

Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? 80% of the work in any organization is done by 20% of the people. It is too often a fact, but it is misunderstood. The losers in that equation aren’t the 20% who do 80% of the work. Sure, they can get tired and burnt-out, and we want to avoid that.

But the real losers in that equation are the 80% who never do anything! That’s why member engagement is so important. Yes, it helps spread out the burden. But more importantly… why should only 20% of our members ever realize the full potential their membership has to offer?!


John F. Kennedy’s most famous call to action was: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country…. Citizens of the world, ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Kennedy wasn’t just trying to make the burden lighter on the few who were carrying a disproportionate load. He understood that when Americans engage, the country is better for it (because working together we can do so much more than any of us can do on our own); and each person who participated is also better for it individually as well (because they have ownership and have experienced the full potential in their citizenship).

That’s what I want for each of us as members of the HBA. Yes, I want the HBA and our industry to benefit greatly from an invigorated and fully engaged membership. But even more than that, I want each and every member of the HBA to get the most they can possibly get out of their membership. And there is only one way to do that: by fully engaging. Look around you. Even in this room, who are the people who seem to always get enormous value out of their membership in the HBA? They are the most engaged and involved members. The HBA reaps the rewards of their engagement – and so do they, individually.

Now, I know to a certain extent I’m preaching to the choir here. You’re here, so you are our most engaged members. But I’m telling you all this so that 1) you can engage even more fully in getting the most out of your own membership; and 2) so you will become part of the team that actively engages others (those friends who aren’t here tonight) in their HBA membership. Will you help me? There are big jobs ahead and I can promise you’ll find the work rewarding.

So, as we prepare for what I hope and believe are brighter days ahead, I ask you to ask not what the HBA can do for you. Ask what you can do for your association. And ask what, together, we can do for the betterment of the industry and to advance the American Dream of Homeownership.

Thank you.