By Gary Garczynski. Although it seems like only a few weeks ago that I was sworn in as the NAHB's president, almost a year has passed since that proud day. And what an extraordinary year it's been!
I was privileged to be at the NAHB's helm during one of the industry's best years. Despite economic malaise, housing production and sales were excellent in 2002. What's more, 2003 is shaping up to be almost as good.
This past year was also one of great accomplishment for the NAHB, and I'm proud to say that we stood up for housing and achieved many of the goals related to the "four corners" of my presidency--advocacy, education, communications, and recommitment to the association's revised long-term strategic plan.
In the advocacy arena, the NAHB's efforts led to a major housing bill that will help builders meet the rising demand for affordable homes and apartments nationwide (see "2002 Advocacy Report Card").
Last year also marked the introduction of the NAHB's University of Housing, which consolidates all of the NAHB's educational offerings in one central location--from courses to conferences, networking opportunities, and professional designation programs.
The NAHB's other major educational initiative in 2002 was "Homes of Our Own," a CD-ROM video game developed by the NAHB and targeted at middle school students. Not only does this extraordinary program instruct children in traditional classroom subjects, but it also provides the home buyers of tomorrow with insight into the home building process and hopefully will encourage some youngsters to pursue careers in home building.
Response to the program has been overwhelming. What's more, "Homes of Our Own" recently won the prestigious international EMMA (Electronic Multi Media Award) for the Learning 3-18 category!
In the communications arena, the Internet took center stage. The NAHB launched the first phase of a redesigned and greatly enhanced Web site, www.nahb.org.
The NAHB is also in the process of migrating many of its newsletters to the Internet. Not only is this much more cost-effective, it provides members with more timely information. To coordinate this process--and better manage all member communications within the association--the NAHB established a central communications hub.
NAHB presidents come and go with the turn of the calendar, but our association's collective vision endures in the form of our long-term strategic plan. I vowed a renewed emphasis on that plan during my presidency, and I'm proud to report that the NAHB's efforts throughout the year were closely focused on following the strategic plan's guidance.
No discussion of my year as NAHB president would be complete without a word of thanks to the other senior officers and NAHB members and staff who made it all possible. And I'd especially like to thank my family for their unwavering support. I was privileged to "stand up for housing" as the NAHB's president in 2002; it was the honor of a lifetime.
2002 Advocacy Report Card
Critical habitat designations were removed for the pygmy owl in Arizona and 19 species of salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.
The fish and wildlife service must now disclose endangered species locations.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers has no jurisdiction in the isolated wetlands permit process.
Builders will save more than $1,500 per home due to NAHB wins at the International Code Council.
EPA storm water--management controls that would have cost as much as $3.6 billion nationwide were replaced with equally effective but much less expensive guidelines.
Builders have an important new tool. The builder's guide to the APA's Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook, to deal with the provisions of a document that will shape growth and development for decades to come.
Ongoing smart growth effort continues to make great progress, and the NAHB has successfully positioned itself as the nation's leading authority on the issue.