It is truly an honor to serve the FHBA in the upcoming year and I thank you, as an FHBA member, for giving me the opportunity. To give you a little bit of my history, upon graduating high school I went to work for a local production builder. That builder was heavily involved with our local Home Builder Association (HBA) at the time, and as I began college the HBA awarded me yearly scholarships until I graduated. That was my introduction to the family, influence, and mentorship of the Building Industry Association of Okalooa-Walton (BIAOW); and had it not been for BIAOW’s advocacy of my education, I might not be here today.
There is still advocacy work to be done.
In the next year our biggest challenge is reforming Workers’ Compensation Insurance. We must work hard to focus on the attorney fee issue, while simultaneously fighting attempts to undo reforms established by our victories in 2003. Jay Carlson, recently inducted Florida Housing Hall of Fame member and previous champion of the 2003 Workers’ Compensation reforms, is now heading a special task force to take this issue on.
To strengthen our advocacy ranks, the FHBA recently established the Large Volume Builders Council. Together, we will walk the halls of the capital as a truly unified voice for all builders in Florida. However, having a voice these days isn’t enough.
We must focus on fundraising for FHBA’s Political Action Committee (FHB PAC). When our PAC is financially strong, we can then strategically fight for issues important to our industry. We are coming out of an election year and our funds are depleted. Every member of the FHB PAC Board has agreed to raise $5,000 over the next two years. If you believe as I do, that we must have builder-friendly leaders in the legislature, then we’ve made it easy for you to contribute. You can join as Friend of PAC or as a member of the 1,000 Club.
To strengthen our influence at the capital, we need to strengthen our communication with you. I heard many of your Local Area Presidents (AP) and Local Area Vice Presidents (AVP), your HBA’s representatives to the FHBA, express at meetings you wanted better communication from FHBA and a heads-up on major issues that are pending. I am proud to say that FHBA conducted our first AP and AVP phone call a few weeks ago and we plan to have similar calls throughout the year. We also plan to launch an AP/AVP forum where local leaders can share ideas and information; leader-to-leader.
Starting out as a student member at the BIAOW to now President of FHBA, I am a firm believer that if you do not have a seat at the table then you are on the menu. I urge you to take an active role in your membership through either volunteering at your local HBA; expressing industry concerns to your AP/AVP or Executive Officer, FHBA staff, or even to directly to me; or contributing to the FHB PAC. To sincerely impact and control how you conduct your business, you must be support those that advocate on your behalf.
Again, thank you for this opportunity to serve you. I look forward to working to improve the economic environment of building in Florida and am optimistic we will be successful in our fight.