Andréa Bledsoe, Associate Member
Print-O-Stat, York Builders Association
What does Print-O-Stat do in terms of the home building industry?
Print-O-Stat can trace its AEC Industry roots back to a garage workspace producing blueprints. Over 65 years we have evolved and diversified so we can offer the modern-day builder so much more for the office or the job site. Printing, signage, regular and safety apparel, 3D laser scanning, software, large and small format printers, and supplies are just a few things that we can offer home builders.
How long have you been a member of the York BA?
Print-O-Stat has been a member for over eight years.
Why did you get involved in your local – and how did you learn about it?
I wanted to join the YBA because it served a two-fold purpose; I wanted to be involved in an organization that would introduce me to potential clients and partners, but I wanted it to be an organization that was in line with our roots as a business. We’ve been working with builders since the very beginning!
What made you want to get more involved in PBA?
Since the first year that I was on the Board at the YBA, I’ve attended the Regional meetings. The longer I attended and met members from other HBAs, the more I felt a connection to the organization as a whole and wanted to explore what other opportunities were available.
What is the biggest advantage of being a member of York BA and PBA?
The biggest advantage is the connections you make to other organizations that are also here to support the building industry.
Why should other potential Associate Members get involved?
Associate members should get involved because the old adage is true – you get out of it what you put into it. Members like working with other members that they know and trust.
What are some of the activities you have been involved in as part of the HBA?
At the YBA I was the Associate Vice President from 2016-2020, been on the Board for a total of six years, serve on and previously chaired the Associates Committee and the Golf Committee. I also typically volunteer at the Home Show, attend most networking events such as the Quarterly Happy Hours, Morning Mingles, Building Business Speed Networking Event and Member Picnic, attend the Regional PBA meetings and in the last two years attend the State PBA Board meetings. I’m happy to help wherever I can to put my, and Print-O-Stat’s, talents to work.
Should You Consider Earning a Designation?
In today’s evolving market, it’s more important than ever for building-industry professionals to maintain their competitive edge. Earning a professional designation through NAHB can be a great way to distinguish yourself – and your company – from your competition.
Having a designation tells clients that you have honed your business skills and have superior training, hands-on experience, and in-depth knowledge of your profession. Designation holders also can take advantage of valuable networking opportunities during their enrollment, working closely with expert instructors and other professionals within their field and outside their specific areas of expertise.
March is National Designation Month. NAHB is taking extra steps to educate consumers about the value of selecting a professional with a designation, so your hard work will mean even more when it comes marketing yourself and your business. Designees are listed in The Professional Designation Directory on the NAHB website, making their contact info easily accessible to consumers.
While you are working toward your designation, you can develop a nationwide network of colleagues that they consistently return to as sounding boards for challenges and ideas long after their courses have completed. This chance to network with so many fellow industry pros often brings people back to obtain more designations.
Earning a designation from NAHB is hard work and the rigorous coursework is continually being elevated.
Several PBA members know the importance of getting their designations. Kert and Cathy Sloan of Aluminum Associates Remodeling in Temple, PA, are big supporters of the designation system. Both have worked hard to earn their designations and not only have they learned from them, but they also know how best to use them.
“We use the initials behind our names on our business cards, website, and most of the advertising we do,” Cathy Sloan explained. “The designations do bring questions and curiosity when we connect with a customer. Once they are informed what they stand for and the fact that we were willing to educate ourselves in certain areas sometimes will help with them choosing us over someone else.”
PBA members should understand what the designations are and what best fits the needs of their business. For more information on the requirements, fees, and processes to gain your designations, please visit https://www.nahb.org/education-and-events/education/designations
What are the designations that are currently available? Below is a list of available designations with descriptions of the advantages:
- Certified Graduate Associate (CGA): Developed specifically for NAHB associate members (including suppliers of materials and financial services), the CGA program offers participants an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of home building industry fundamentals.
- Certified Graduate Builder (CGB): An overview of key areas in today’s home building industry, the CGB curriculum covers business management, financial strategies, marketing techniques, construction technologies, and more.
- Graduate Master Builder (GMB): The GMB program allows industry professionals who already have completed either the Certified Graduate Builder or the Certified Graduate Remodelor course to more fully develop their skills and provides in-depth instruction geared for experienced building professionals.
- Certified Green Professional™ (CGP): NAHB’s CGP designation teaches builders, remodelers and other industry professionals techniques for incorporating green building principles into homes—without driving up the cost of construction.
- Master Certified Green Professional (Master CGP): The Master CGP designation comprises a more in-depth study of green building science and methods. The courses required for the designation cover topics like building science techniques, the high-performance home and marketing strategies for selling green.
- Certified Graduate RemodelerTM(CGR): An exclusive professional designation that emphasizes business management skills as the key to a professional remodeling operation, the CGR designation trains remodelers in project management, design estimating and job cost, along with other core skills relevant to the remodeling industry.
- Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR): The GMR program includes advanced and updated courses geared toward experienced remodeling professionals.
- Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS): Developed by NAHB Remodelers in collaboration with the AARP, NAHB Research Center and NAHB 50+ Housing Council, the CAPS program provides comprehensive, practical, market-specific information about working with older and maturing adults to remodel their homes for aging-in-place.
- Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP): The CSP program is designed to help specialists in new home sales to enhance their professional image, increase their marketability in the home building industry and sell more homes.
- Master Certified New Home Sales Professional (Master CSP): A more advanced designation that acknowledges additional educational achievements of CSP graduates, the Master CSP program is open to professionals currently holding a CSP designation. Advanced courses such as “House Construction as a Selling Tool” and “Essential Closing Strategies” are targeted toward improving participants’ sales and marketing skills and providing increased marketability in the industry.
- Certified New Home Marketing Professional (CMP): IRM’s mid-level professional designation, the CMP program recognizes the achievements of students who have completed four marketing-intensive core IRM courses: “Understanding Housing Markets and Consumers;” “Marketing Strategies, Plans, and Budgets;” “Lifestyle Merchandising, Advertising, and Promotion Strategies;” and “Challenges of New Home Sales Management.”
- Master in Residential Marketing (MIRM): The most prestigious designation bestowed by the Institute of Residential Marketing, the MIRM represents the highest level of achievement for professionals in new home marketing. MIRM graduates are required to complete all mandated coursework and submit a case study for approval before graduating from the program.
- Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP): A specialized designation for developers, property managers, asset managers and others working in the affordable housing industry, the HCCP program is the industry benchmark for education, experience and ethical standards for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) professionals. The HCCP designation is the only nationally endorsed credential of its kind, and was created through a partnership of NAHB and the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA).
How is PBA Dealing with the Membership Drop?
Growing it and keeping it. That’s the biggest challenge in the age of COVID.
Over the past year, local associations across Pennsylvania have seen numbers falling. It’s happening across the country.
According to an analysis of NAHB membership, the national average level of decrease over 2019 rosters is 6.40%. The percentages across the country range from a loss of 64.26% in Rhode Island to an increase of 18.96% in Maine (looks impressive, but that increase brought them to a total of only 116). In fact, there were only four states that posted a membership in the black over 2019. Besides Maine, the others were Hawaii (7.07%), South Dakota (.39%), and Nevada (.25%).
Despite the challenges, Pennsylvania experienced an average loss of 7.30%. Some neighboring states posted higher losses – Delaware (-16.34%), New York (-9.74%), New Jersey (-9.65%). Maryland fared slightly better with a -7.24% loss, following by Ohio (-6.2%) and West Virginia (-3.41%).
The biggest deficits across the board have been at the Associate Member level. Some of which results from budget cuts and layoffs due to the pandemic. COVID has also played a part in the reduced number of Builder Members, but other factors including business closures and retirements have been major factors as well.
So where do we go from here?
In 2020, PBA Membership Chair Cathy Sloan headed a Membership Task Force that polled local associations and developed materials and ideas for local associations.
Each local was asked to complete a workbook of questions about their membership efforts. Everything from identifying potential members, to onboarding, engaging, and preparing these members for future leadership roles was included.
The completed surveys were studied by Task Force members and a Best Practices Retention Booklet was compiled. The booklet offered proven-effective suggestions for communicating with new and potential members, making them feel welcome, establishing ambassadors to cultivate relationships, and how to develop a 30, 60, and 90-day successful membership.
Copies of the booklet were sent to all local executive officers as well as key membership contacts in those locals.
Also developed were customized Power Point presentations for each local that spelled out the benefits of membership. Money-saving perks and rebates, insurance offerings, advocacy contacts, educational opportunities, business development and coaching possibilities were all included in a package that is available for local membership representatives to share.
In addition, the Task Force regularly provides specialized flyers that focus on individual membership benefits – and who they are available to – as selling tools to promote membership.
A study was done to analyze the impact of duplicate membership falloffs. For instance, several companies maintain memberships in multiple local associations. This is especially true if they do business in different parts of the state. The Task Force wanted to determine if some of the falloff was due in part to companies dropping one membership in one or more particular local but keeping a presence in another. It was determined that there was a drop 64 total memberships due to canceled duplications.
A major factor in the loss of memberships is something beyond the locals’ control. We all know that one of the biggest aspects of membership is the invaluable face-to-face networking opportunities. COVID restrictions have taken that away from industries and groups across the globe. Right now, the world is operating a large part of business through ZOOM, Skye, Webex, and other online conferencing tools. This presents challenges like we have never seen before.
Some locals have been able to conduct business – and even events – through these online portals. However, we all know recruitment is best accomplished with a personal touch.
The Membership Task Force will be producing materials and additional ideas to promote the idea of “Supporting the Industry that Supports You” – encouraging members to reach out to colleagues and associates to promote the benefits of membership. It’s an approach that everyone needs to embrace. Share the reasons why you find membership of your local HBA so valuable.
In 2021, the PBA Membership Committee and Task Force will be led by PBA Secretary John Olson of Wayne Pike BIA. John will be assisted by past Membership Chairs and experienced Executive Officers to develop even more ideas and materials to help grow and maintain membership.
Members and locals are invited – and encouraged – to share their ideas. Tell the Membership Committee what you need, what works, and even what doesn’t work.
These strange days are making it more important than ever to stand side by side and work together for a brighter future.