4 Ways to Stand Out as a Young Professional

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The home building industry offers a wealth of opportunity for those in the earlier stages of their career to get involved, grow and succeed in their companies and the NAHB Federation. Young professionals can propel their careers through advocacy, networking and community involvement, and help shape the future of home building. Winners of the 2018 Young Professionals Awards are strong examples of how young professionals (YPs) can make an impact in the industry at the local, state and national level. Innovation Young professionals are a critical component of membership to continue to develop the workforce, and innovative strategies to help engage them within the home builders associations can be a valuable tool. Jamie Humes — 2018 Region C winner — spearheaded efforts to address the “YP challenge” at the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati, which culminated in the creation of the HBA’s Next Generation Council. The council’s mission is to engage and connect the HBA’s next generation of industry influencers and emerging leaders by providing unique professional development opportunities and industry exposure, as well as a welcoming and fun environment for cultivating relationships with industry peers. “A proven model for engaging YPs is to create unique event experiences in cool venues with access to innovative influencers and leaders,” Humes noted, such as the council’s urban condo tour and a behind-the-scenes tour of a local observation tower. “We’ve had seven highly successful quarterly events with a larger than expected attendee turnout at each, with 75 average attendees — strong for our HBA.” Future plans include additional professional development programming and personal branding workshop for the council — “at a cool venue, of course,” she added. Leadership Development Getting involved in a home builders association is one of the quickest ways to make an impact in the industry. As the only president under the age of 30 and the third female president for the Temple Area Builders Association (TABA), Megan Kiella — 2018 Region D winner — is a testament to that. During Kiella’s first year in TABA, she served on virtually every association committee, where she provided fresh insight, volunteered at events and fundraised. The following year, she was asked to join the Board of Directors, awarded TABA Builder of the Year and served as chair of the Parade of Homes Committee, where she played a role in implementing an app to enhance the experience for event attendees. She then served on the Executive Board as secretary before being elected president in 2017. Under her leadership, event income and attendance increased significantly, and TABA successfully applied for a $10,000 grant through NAHB to support construction trade programs and education in its local high schools. Community Outreach Builders don’t just build homes; they are also active members of their communities. 2018 Region B winner Joshua Mauney was recognized by the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County for his community efforts with the President’s Award for his work on The Green Chair Project, which assists area families transition from homelessness or disasters into secured sustainable housing. The Green Chair Project was adopted by the HBA’s Remodelers Council as its annual charity renovation. The nearly $134,000 project, which Mauney planned and executed, included construction of two new kitchens, two bathrooms and some TLC for the facility’s exterior. “As a result of the newly renovated work space, restrooms and kitchen, The Green Chair Project will be able to have a greater impact in serving our community for a long time to come,” Jackie Craig, executive director and co-founder, The Green Chair Project, shared with The Raleigh News & Observer. Continuing Education A lifelong learner, 2018 Region E winner Joseph Irons was one of the first graduate master remodeler (GMR) recipients in the nation and the first in Washington state. He holds five total NAHB designations — GMR, as well as certified graduate remodeler (CGR), graduate master builder (GMB), certified aging-in-place specialist (CAPS) and certified green professional (CGP) — and has traveled all over the United States taking classes and learning from instructors and his classmates. He continues to learn from others and industry professionals by attending annual trainings, conferences and seminars, and local and state directors’ meetings. He also loves sharing his experience and knowledge as a teacher of NAHB university courses for the state association, and is able to keep apprised of new technology and techniques by learning from his students. “Education is one of the core values of our business,” shared Melissa Irons, his wife and operations manager for their company, Irons Brothers Construction Inc. “It is the main reason in 2003 that Joseph joined the [Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties], as he wanted to learn from the best in the industry. Now he is one of the teachers helping contractors that were in his young shoes learn from his mistakes and successes.” Do you know a Young Professional who excels in these areas? Nominate him or her for a Young Professionals Award at awards.nahb.org. The deadline for applications is this Friday, Oct. 11.

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