BOILING POINT founder Jerry Shrair conducts the opening general session. Photo: Jamie Windon As the protracted real estate slump drags on, it's clear that the home building industry is evolving. As such, BIG BUILDER took the opportunity to adapt and become more relevant than ever before. Joining forces with Jerry Shrair, founder and creative director of Boiling Point, we developed a highly focused leadership event designed to bring together executives from all walks of the housing industry to generate new strategies for navigating through the downturn.

Held Nov. 3–5 at the Gaylord National Harbor, outside Washington, D.C., the event brought together builders, architects, consultants, analysts, and vendors for hands-on collaboration and networking.

Big Builder '08 abandoned the standard “talking head” conference format, opting instead to combine first-hand perspectives from the industry's leading minds with original research from RCLCO and Hanley Wood Market Intelligence—all presented in highly engaging workshops where attendees rolled up their sleeves to find innovative approaches to the challenges of an ever-changing business landscape.

Following a general session led by Shrair in which the interactive workshop format was introduced, attendees then split off into one of five breakout groups: Finance, Land and Design, Sales and Marketing, Operations, and Purchasing. Each of the five disciplines identified key areas where the industry could be improved for increased profitability. After filtering the list down to three crucial objectives, attendees then set about generating an actionable initiative to realize each opportunity area and measurably boost profitability in 2009.

Prior to the event, BIG BUILDER tapped trusted industry experts—many of whom serve on the conference's advisory board—to act as program directors in each track. Thanks to their leadership, the enthusiastic participation of all attendees, and a unique and highly tailored approach informed by Boiling Point's methodology, Big Builder '08 succeeded in creating an industry-wide Blueprint for Improved Profitability in 2009.

We've designed this feature as a five-part tear-out package that you can use to help steer your business through the challenging waters ahead.