Count Your Blessings this Christmas

What a special time of the year this is. My hope and prayer for you and your family is for a joyful 2008 Holiday Season. For some reason, now even more than at Thanksgiving, Christmas always gives me pause to reflect on the blessings I’ve been granted. And, this blog affords me the perfect opportunity to share a few of the blessings that come with working for the HBA of Greater Springfield, and with all of you.

I’m thankful we live where we live. 

Attending conferences and meetings in other parts of the country – with members and executives from other Home Builders Associations – brings into sharp focus the advantages we have in this market. 
Yes, this is a painful time in our history. And there is not one of our members who would not readily trade this difficult patch for the “good ole days” of just a few years ago. But if misery loves company, those in the construction industry are enjoying quite a fellowship right now. And there is not another market or HBA in the country that wouldn’t readily trade places with us at this moment.
We have advantages that are protecting us from the utter collapse seen in so many parts of the country. Our local economy still is creating new jobs. Our population is growing. Our cost of living is reasonable. Our economy is diverse (and heavily reliant on the recession-resistant industries of education and health care). And our builders did not make the mistakes that many did elsewhere: when it became clear demand was waning, builders here responsibly slowed their production. That means our inventories do not look like the bloated, multi-year supplies facing many communities.
It has been said before, but it bears repeating: We entered this downturn later than most other markets. Based on the fundamentals of our local economy, we should come out of it sooner than most. And we are unlikely ever to sink as deep as most markets already have.
I’m thankful for our outstanding volunteer leadership.

What an honor and a privilege it has been to work with our board President Kevin Clingan so closely over the last two years. He is an outstanding servant-leader of this HBA. Of his many strengths, perhaps his greatest is his ability to lead by example. If people in the home building industry are uncertain right now – if they are feeling for what to do next – they should look to the way Mr. Clingan runs his own business, and how he has led the HBA of Greater Springfield. A great and valuable education awaits anyone who would observe him.
I am similarly excited about our next president, Rusty MacLachlan. Rusty and I recently attended a Leadership Training Conference conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. During the conference I had the opportunity to see up close what I had observed about Rusty for a number of years: that he is a leader of exceptional vision who has the ability to identify solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing our industry. His leadership skills offer enormous promise at a pivotal time for our HBA and for the industry.
Thankfully, our entire board of directors and other volunteer leadership (committee and council chairs, co-chairs, members, etc.) are extraordinary. While other HBAs are losing members, ours is growing. While other HBAs’ signature events are suffering, our Home Show is selling out of booth space. While other HBAs are borrowing and dipping into their reserves just to pay their light bills, ours continues to be a debt-free organization (with a balanced budget) that is financially solvent with some of the lowest dues of any HBA in the country. These things do not happen by accident. They are the result of years of careful stewardship and strategic planning exercised by our outstanding volunteer leaders.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve exceptional members. 

I’m very pleased that the HBA of Greater Springfield continues to receive recognition on a national level as a successful and accomplished organization – one that can be – and is – emulated by other HBAs. Because of my job title, from time to time people congratulate me on our HBA’s success. When that happens I always am careful to point out that we are not an exceptional association – we are an association of exceptional members. For nearly eight years it has been my honor to work for you, our exceptional members. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with you to overcome the challenges that lie ahead, and together to achieve even greater successes in the future.

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