The North Carolina Home Builders Association held its annual 21st Century Building Expo and Conference in Charlotte on October 11th – 13th. This event is the largest event held by the North Carolina Homebuilders Association in part to the events four prong approach to servicing its members in the industry.
The Expo set up on the Charlotte Convention Center floor offers vendors all over the east coast and even into the mid-west portion of the country to participate and show off their many products, new designs, new products and features their companies have to offer. There are many National and worldwide companies on hand as well as some small mom and pop shops that offer special services and unique products. It’s always a good opportunity for builders to get in front of the vendors to talk about their products face to face. Many of those companies offer trade show specials for anyone that stops by their booth. Twenty percent off a product you use all the time is worth the cost of admission to the show. You will hear from builders that don’t typically attend trade shows and expos that they are satisfied with the products they are currently using and don’t need to attend. However the things they are missing out on are the conversations with vendors and other participants about trends in the industry and marketplace that will affect their future sales and bottom lines. We spent a portion of all 3 days getting to know the vendors and their products.
The second prong of the Expo and Conference is the 3rd Quarter Board meetings that are held for the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The Board meeting is open to all members who wish to sit in and learn more about the issues the state and local leadership are working on and how we handle those issues that may affect our members. As Vice President for NCHBA”S Region 2, I represent the northeast region of North Carolina at the state level. An unexpected highlight was announced that NAHB’s First Vice Chairman of the Board Randy Noel, a builder from Louisiana was scheduled to speak at our Board meeting but was called the day before the meeting to attend an executive order signing by President Trump that would allow insurance companies to cross state lines to market their insurance products and also allow insurance companies to create products to sell to trade associations. These are first steps that would ultimately help small business owner’s access to affordable health care coverage. Randy did make it to the STARS Awards later that evening to present several of our most prestigious industry awards. Which brings me to the 3rd prong of the event.
The STARS Awards are presented to builders, developers, and associates in many categories. Members have the opportunity to nominate their products and people for the many awards ranging from best marketing piece, best home in a certain price range, to Highest grossing Sales Leaders, to Builder and Executive Officer of the Year. All of the categories are very competitive and are judged by peers around the country. It’s always a fun evening watching the excitement of the winners accepting their awards.
The fourth prong to the 21st Century Building Expo and Conference are the North Carolina Builder Institute classes. The NCHBA offers many classes that qualify for recognition and are requirements for the NCBI Master Builder, Master Remodeler, as well as NAHB CAPS1 and CAPS 2 Courses. These courses are designed for you to make new connections, enhance your trade skills, and help grow your bottom line. I took an 8 hour Business Accounting and Job Costing class from Michael Strong, a renowned speaker, and builder/remodeler for my continuing education requirement for my Master Builder designation. These classes have become very popular and are held during each day of the 3 day event. The industry is always changing and these courses are a way to keep a leg up on the competition and more importantly to stay in compliance with new laws and regulations. There are many 1-2 hour seminars on various topics from invited speakers and guests that are industry specific and business in general. One of the most memorable events of the conference was the presentation by Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson talking about qualities he learned as a Navy SEAL that has helped him become a successful entrepreneur.
As you can tell this is an action packed 3 day event with activities going on from early each morning to late at night with very little down time. It’s always rewarding to spend a few days with people that are truly interested in making the industry better for each other, our employees, and our present and future clients.