The Oklahoma Housing Hall of Fame is introduced at the 2017 OSHBA Installation Banquet. From left, are Phil Rhees, Charlie Gilmore, Reese Wilmoth, Bob Thompson and Ken Klein.
The Oklahoma Housing Hall of Fame is introduced at the 2017 OSHBA Installation Banquet. From left, are Phil Rhees, Charlie Gilmore, Reese Wilmoth, Bob Thompson and Ken Klein.
The 2017 OSHBA Installation Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony featured moments of humor, tears of joy and special surprises for unexpected award recipients.

Most of all, it was a night to honor legends of Oklahoma’s home building industry and emerging leaders of the OSHBA’s future.

The OSHBA inducted five pioneers who helped build both the organization and the state’s home building industry into the respected profession it is today.

Inducted into the Oklahoma Housing Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017 were Bob Thompson of Norman, Ken Klein, Charlie Gilmore and the late Bill Rhees, all of Tulsa, and Reese Wilmoth of Oklahoma City, the first OSHBA Associates Council member inducted. 

This second class of Hall of Fame inductees was introduced to an audience of about 250 by former OSHBA President Phil Rhees, who led the initiative to create an Oklahoma Housing Hall of Fame in 2016. 
“It’s been a great honor for me to watch the guys come up and receive their awards, and to be recognized, because it means so much,” Rhees said. “For quite a long time I felt like a big segment of our leadership was not receiving the due recognition that they deserved.”

Rhees was the son of Hall of Famer Bill Rhees, who died in 2014 and was known for his work in developing wind-resistant construction techniques and safe rooms.

“Back in 1999, he worked with Project Impact, the city of Tulsa, Texas Tech University and State Farm Insurance to develop safe rooms that FEMA uses today,” Rhees said. “He did a lot of work putting those things together. I’m proud of the legacy he left of making homes safer for people, and I’m so glad he was recognized for that.”

The first class of two inducted in 2016 included the late Mark Dale of Edmond and Joe Robson of Tulsa. 
The banquet was highlighted by three special awards presented. 

Jeff Click, Oklahoma City, owner of Jeff Click Homes, was named Oklahoma Builder of the Year, while Steve Taylor, immediate past Chair of the State Associates Council, was honored as State Associate of the Year. In addition, Phil Rhees was honored with the President’s Award by outgoing President Kurt Dinnes.

In recognition for the work that he did in leading the organization in 2016, Dinnes was presented with a special gift – a Glock pistol and laser sight – by Mike Means, executive vice president. Dinnes transitions to a continued role with the NAHB as National Area Chairman for Area 11, which includes the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. 

Guest speaker at the banquet was Randy Noel of Louisiana, first vice chairman of the board of the NAHB. Noel is in line to become chairman of the national organization in 2018.

Installed as 2017 OSHBA officers were Dan Reeves of Norman, President; David Blackburn, Tulsa, vice president/treasurer; and Steve Allen of Oklahoma City, vice president/secretary.
 
Reeves is founder and CEO of Norman’s Landmark Fine Homes. He said his agenda for the year includes implementing a philosophy of “shepherding” leadership to connect with more home builders throughout the state with the ultimate goal of influencing legislation that impacts the housing industry. 

“Our goal is government advocacy, and you have all this activity going on at the Capitol,” Reeves said. “We want more people out there. Our voice is being heard, because we’ve been into the politics side of it. But we need the people to show up at our Legislative Day at the Capitol to see that they are in it.”

Also installed were new officers of the State Associates Council, including Chris Evans of Oklahoma City as chair; David Sanders of Tulsa, vice chair; and Connie Stokes of Stillwater, secretary. Vanessa Shadix of Oklahoma City remains as treasurer.

Evans said his goal for 2017 will be to increase membership statewide and to ensure that local members know they are part of the state organization.

“I don’t think they understand that,” Evans said. “They think that I’m part of this little culture but we don’t understand that we are part of this bigger group. To make them see that is one of the things that I intend to do.”

At the conclusion of the banquet, Means described it as a ‘historic night’ with recognition of five legends of the industry and installation of new officers for 2017.

”We are excited about the year ahead and the impact these new officers will have not only on our organization, but the housing industry across Oklahoma,” he said.