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By John Rask, 2019 BATC-Housing First Minnesota President
Two years ago, I attended my first Past President’s Retreat where I had the opportunity to meet a number of former leaders of BATC-Housing First Minnesota. This retreat is designed to bring past presidents together with current leadership to share ideas and learn from one another. I received a lot of good advice during my time at the retreat—this is not a shy group. Perhaps the one piece of advice that stood out the most was a comment made by Past President Craig Plekkenpol. Craig told me that I better spend some time thinking about what I want to accomplish as president before taking office and warned me that if I waited until I got into office to establish goals and an agenda, that the job would overtake me in a hurry. Lucky for me, I listened to Craig, which has allowed me to hit the ground running.
The first quarter of 2019 has been a productive one for our association. Here’s how we’re carrying forward our mission of helping our members build their businesses through marketing, advocacy
We have had tremendous activity in our advocacy arena, with strong media coverage and much discussion about the release of our ground-breaking research by the newly minted Housing Affordability Institute entitled Priced Out: The True Cost of Minnesota’s Broken Housing Market. We have testified before several legislative committees regarding the research and shared the challenge of building homes that are affordably priced for average Minnesota families.
We brought some 300 industry advocates to Housing Day at the Capitol in early March. It was exciting to see us gathered for a rally at the rotunda and several lobbyists commented that our people were everywhere. We know that has a powerful impact. We’ve also weighed in on zoning issues in Minneapolis and Bloomington as they wrestle with density and development. And we have engaged in two special elections, supporting candidates who are favorably inclined toward housing.
In meeting our mission of marketing and connections, we held our annual Builders and Remodelers Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center with strong results, offered a great networking opportunity at our happy hour at the International Builders Show, and kicked off another strong Spring Parade of Homes and Remodelers Showcase. Take a look at the new home and remodeling magazines that accompany the tours and you’ll notice an exciting redesign featuring more photos creating more of a magazine look.
In the area of workforce development, we introduced a student construction demonstration at BRS, we ushered in the second full year of Project Build Minnesota, and we served on a workforce panel for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.
We finished up our 2018-2019 courses and launched our second online Contractor University course. We look forward to building out our library of courses even further this year.
We were pleased to present at the annual RESNET conference with a session entitled With 16,000 Home Performance Reports, We Must Be Doing Something Right.
Our charitable arm concluded impressive work remodeling a parsonage home at Emmaus Lutheran Church in Bloomington for women in crisis recovery. Homes by Tradition was our build partner, and Together for Good is the service organization working with the church to manage the facility. In addition, the Foundation’s board of directors completed board training and we received the prestigious “Meets Standards” designation from the Minnesota Charities Review Council. We are proud of the work of the Foundation and see its efforts overlaying all of our activities with a positive aura.
We are fortunate as an organization to have such an engaged leadership, as well as past presidents and board members that continue to support the great work of our association.
I know I speak for the past presidents and the current leadership when I say that we are all honored to serve you, the members of our association. Thank you for your continued membership and support of BATC-Housing First Minnesota.