By Bob Michels, BATC 2017 President
As I begin the new year as your BATC President, I am humbled and excited for the opportunity to take on this new challenge. I’m truly grateful to the women and men who have gone before, those who have guided BATC with intelligence and passion, leaving me the much easier task of heading an organization that is strong, healthy and ready to face whatever the future may hold.
And, I think our future is looking darned good for the next 12 months and beyond. Our political efforts were rewarded in November, with 20 of our 23 supported candidates winning their seats. This coterie of housing-friendly elected officials will help solidify our housing caucus and make the job of our lobbyists just a little bit easier.
We’re seeing the overall economy continue a slow recovery, with forecasts for growth in home sales through the year. We may see a slight uptick in mortgage interest rates this winter, but on a positive note, that might just be the impetus to get more prospects into the market. And, while the nation remains divided, with the fall elections over, the government has a clear direction and hopefully will get down to business and fulfill the promise to Make America Great Again.
BATC’s leadership has made some hard decisions over the past year (our disaffiliation with BAM and NAHB the most noteworthy), but I do believe that in all cases these were the right decisions. We’re prepared to assure you access to all the resources you’ve become accustomed to and much more. Need a sample contract? We’ve just rebuilt our Legal Landmines packages for members, including updated performance guidelines standards. We’re also continuing to forge and solidify alliances with a number of key local business groups to support our common interests as we blaze a new trail, making new tracks.
Forging alliances has proven exceptionally positive for BATC, and our next partnership is no exception. Working with the Realtor Associations, we’re getting set for the biggest and most exciting Housing Day at the Capitol ever! We’re expecting hundreds of industry professionals to join us as we meet with our state legislators to talk policy followed by a rip-roaring reception. This is really a BATC event you don’t want to miss, so sign up now at BATC.org.
Speaking of BATC events, we’ve continued to refine and grow all of our networking events. Over 750 members gathered together to celebrate the industry at last October’s BIG Night, our biggest awards gala in years. We expect April’s Builders & Remodelers Show to continue on a growth curve, and I know I’ll see a lot of you at this month’s Launch Party to hear Elliot Eisenberg share insights into the local and national economy.
Our marketing efforts, under the Parade of Homes, Remodelers Showcase and Artisan Home Tour remain immensely popular and highly respected. Yet we’re very aware that we cannot just continue the same old same old. We’ve been putting resources into understanding and adopting new media and online strategies that will help us adapt to meet the changing way families search, shop and make buying decisions. We’re investing in efforts to showcase the benefits of new and newly remodeled homes, with a goal of growing the pool of prospects ready and able to buy your homes and your remodeling services.
On another front, we have joined with a number of other construction groups to create Workforce Minnesota, a recruiting campaign designed to bring young people into the construction field. This is a long-term effort aimed at students, teachers, counselors and parents to showcase the amazing opportunities this industry offers.
There’s plenty more to talk about, which I plan to do in the coming issues of BATC Digest, but please know that I and the rest of the BATC Board of Directors are committed to our association and our industry. We’ll be working hard to meet our mission of helping you grow your businesses through marketing, advocacy and industry connections. Please, never hesitate to give me a call or drop me an email if you have comments, recommendations or any complaints to share.
Before I sign off, let me take a minute to thank our 2016 President, Meg Jaeger. Meg was a remarkable president, effectively leading us through a tough year with grace and honor. She’s left some pretty big shoes to fill, and I’m ready to step up and do my best for you, for BATC and for our industry.