Right now, most builders have confidence that the economic winds are favorable for a strong housing recovery. In fact, NAHB pegs builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes at 67 – a very solid number.

But there are still issues that frustrate builders, from the critical shortage of skilled labor to excessive government regulations that make housing less affordable.

Being a builder in this day and time can sometimes feel like being on a seesaw. One day you’re energized and invigorated and the next day you’re cynical and discouraged.

Personally, I believe there are many reasons to be very excited about where our industry is headed. My confidence comes in large part from speaking with many of you, builders across the state, as your 2017 president. I’ve had the privilege to spend time with you all in many different settings, from a distillery in the mountains, a golf course at North Carolina State University to the halls of the NC Legislative Building. Each time, we’ve strengthened our bond as a membership. And this bond is one of the chief reasons why we should face the future with confidence. 

As the year progresses, I want us to continue to build our relationship. Like a family, we’re stronger individually when we’ve got each other’s backs. So I want to challenge you to get involved and stay connected in the coming months. How can you do this? I have a few ideas. 

First, make sure to attend the 21st Century Building Expo & Conference October 11-13 in Charlotte. I can’t tell you enough what an outstanding opportunity this is to network with other builders, especially those from outside your market. You can get together with other builders in this non-competitive environment and freely share challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned. Moreover, the lineup of speakers this year is fantastic. I’m especially looking forward to hearing from Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson, who applied the lessons he learned in training and combat to help drive his success as an entrepreneur building high-powered teams of employees engaged in their work. 

Second, while you’re at the 21st Century Building Expo & Conference make sure to attend the three-day Education Conference. Classes include NAHB and NC Builder Institute courses as well as general session seminars. If you’ve had the chance to hear testimonies from some of our builder members like Dave Stormont of Storm Coast Homes or Cody Byrd of Vision Design Build Remodel, you know what kind of positive impact these classes, and especially earning a designation through NC Builder Institute, can have on your bottom line. To put it simply, you’ll learn a lot and get healthy returns from attending. That’s a win-win in my book. 

Finally, I hope you’ll take some time to consider how you can help close the skilled labor gap in our industry. We all understand how critical it is to solve this issue, but change won’t happen unless we continue to make our voices heard! I was encouraged when I met Mark Johnson, the new NC Superintendent for Public Instruction, at the Caldwell County Home Builders Association’s Masonry Tournament in May. Mark had some great words to share with our members. “There are many different ways to reach the American Dream,” he said, “and they don’t all require a four-year degree. I am so grateful to the North Carolina Home Builders Association for their work helping students find the path that is right for them.”

What I also remember from that event: the high level of skill, talent, and professionalism the masonry students displayed. Our future is indeed bright.