The next 12-to-18 month period in America's enterprise home building business can be summed up in a single, four-letter word, and it's not the one D.R. Horton's Don Tomnitz used so aptly to characterize 2007. It's cash.

John McManus American dreams, location-location-location, and demographic destiny aside, the great sucking sound we're hearing around the globe right now is of cheap and boundless money simply going away for a while. When rates may fall, when lending terms may ease, when the money-complex may start to restore liquidity and confidence rather than erode them is anybody's guess. What's nobody's guess is that cash to pay bills, pay off debt, keep talent, keep stakeholders satisfied, and create programs to chip away at many markets' excess supply is not an option. Theoretical money is now is too expensive, and may, later, be all but unavailable.

In that light, I want to talk with you about your schedule.

I recently framed out our program for the Big Builder '07 conference with my staff, and I want you to open your calendars to the dates Nov. 27?29, and plan right now to be in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay

Hotel. I'm proud of the program. The theme is "Breakthrough," and the focus is 150 percent on providing an environment for you to take real value away from those days. Meritage Homes USA CEO, Steve Hilton, is chairing this year's event, and this just in: for the first time, we're partnering with Big Builder publisher Hanley Wood Business Media's majority owner JPMorgan, which will host its first-ever, home building industry exclusive investor forum concurrent with our event. JPMorgan senior analyst Michael Rehaut will bring some of the brightest strategic lights in public company leadership to Vegas, and at the same time, some of the most important institutional investors and fund managers in the residential construction space will be present.

For you, the value will come from the insider intelligence you share with your peers in the corridors of the conference area. Some of it will be through access to the leaders in market-by-market intelligence; what's working, what's breaking through, what's effective in moving inch-by-inch across today's painfully challenging landscape. We'll have leaders in thought and practice of every dimension of the business for you to spend time with in an intimate setting. We'll be the place where you can meet with partners, lenders, potential allies, and intelligence sources, and discuss 2008 budget plans, with the clearest set of insights on economic and housing trends available. We'll have boot camps, training sessions, management drills, best-practices case examples, all the education and intelligence forums you and your management team need to continue to be on your best game as the correction runs its course toward recovery.

What makes this conference different from any other industry event–is that more often than not–you're hearing more from your peers, and less from consultants and advisors. This year, too, we're emphasizing top-level trainers, advisors, and world-recognized innovators such as Janine Benyus, head of the Biomimicry Institute. From outside the box to what's really going on in the trenches, we'll host the sessions that enable you to go back to your operations and make them stronger immediately.

Our promise is to make Big Builder '07 the best the event it has ever been and as valuable as any two-and-a-half day management training program could be.

So, open your calendars now. Mark down Nov. 27?29, BB07, Las Vegas. If there's something already scheduled for those dates, do what you can to reschedule it so that you can join us. This industry needs its leaders to step up and make the strongest play possible for best practices and a rally in 2008. This is an opportunity for you and your team to do that. This is your event.