NAHB Professional Women in Building Council Honors Three Outstanding Members

January 12, 2017

The Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has recognized three outstanding council members and home builders association staff for their contributions to the organization and to the home building industry.

PWB members work in all aspects of the building industry—as owners, builders, remodelers, architects, suppliers, marketing experts, designers and in finance and real estate.

Jan Johnson of Garrett E. and Herschel E. Johnson Real Estate and Development in Belleville, Ill., was given the NAHB PWB Insinkerator Woman of the Year Award for her dedication to promoting the efforts of women in building-related fields as they contribute to and advocate for the industry.

Tracy Butler, Executive Officer of the HBA of Greater Southwest Illinois, was honored as NAHB PWB Executive Officer of the Year.

Butler and Johnson worked hand in hand to launch the local PWB council. Butler, recognizing Johnson’s leadership qualities, nominated her to be its first chair in 2014. Together, they have recruited 24 members to the council, which has quickly made its mark.

One of the first initiatives that Johnson and Butler established was a $500 annual scholarship for young women pursuing a career in the building industry. Fundraisers, including lunches with local mayors, were so successful that the council has given two scholarships in each of the past two years.

“Jan and Tracy’s combined vision and direction helped launch a strong and effective local PWB, the crucial basis for our national efforts,” said Cindy Cepko, CGP, CMP, MIRM, Master CSP, co-owner of Granite Homes Inc. in Paupack, Pa., and chair of the NAHB PWB Council. “We especially applaud their efforts to encourage the next generation of women in building.”

Johnson chaired the NAHB PWB Legislative Committee in 2016 and serves on the NAHB board of directors. She is also a director of the state HBA, and works to keep the industry’s issues in front of legislators by regularly attending the annual state lobby day.

Butler has served as an area trustee for the national PWB and has attended many national PWB meetings and events, where she has lent her support and guidance to other locals.

Sherry Schwab, president of HSC Construction Services in Bellevue, Wash., was given the NAHB PWB Wells Fargo Member of the Year Award. She was instrumental in the formation of her local PWB council and continues to sustain and recruit new members.

Schwab has long been active with her state HBA’s legislative policy committee. In the coming year, as chair, she will continue her work facilitating meetings with state and national elected officials to advocate for the industry.

Schwab is the first woman to serve as NAHB Chairman for Area 15. She has served on the NAHB executive committee for almost 20 years and chaired its membership committee. She has shared her knowledge in adaptive renovation practices as a subject matter expert in developing NAHB Certified-Aging-in-Place designation courses.

“Sherry elevates everything she does with a can-do and will-do attitude,” said Cepko. “Her passion for the PWB and desire to see others in the industry succeed inspire those around her.”