2021 – A Year of Successful Reengagement and Recommitment to our Association

Aimee Bertrand Featured

CEO’s FINAL THOUGHT

As I close out my first year with the Greater Houston Builders Association, I am full of gratitude for the last several months with you. Thank you for welcoming me to the association family, during an especially strange time. Thank you especially to President Keith Luechtefeld, our volunteer leaders who serve as members of the GHBA board, as committee chairs and council leaders, as TAB directors, as NAHB delegates, as PAC members and HomeAid supporters; you have shown me time and again what servant leadership looks like in this industry. Thank you for your example and please trust that GHBA will continue to strive to be of even greater support to you and our industry as we move forward.

GHBA has had an amazingly successful year despite the fact that we were unable to return to more “normal” in person events until late April. Here are just a few events and projects that have helped our association to grow and thrive in 2021. (There are many, many more that I could list here, but I’ve been told I can’t take up the entire magazine with just my column).

January


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  • GHBA kicked off the year with a virtual version of our annual Forecast Luncheon. We welcomed more than 300 attendees online for this important look ahead at our industry and region.
  • Of the Year Award and Presidential Citation Award winners were announced virtually through a new semi-weekly video feature in our e-newsletter, “The GHBA Punchlist.”

February

  • Dozens of our members were kind enough to allow me to pick their brains in Zoom and in-person meetings and tours of their facilities.
  • Our community experienced Winter Storm Uri, kicking GHBA into action with outreach messages and media interviews about how to recover from water damage and how to choose quality professionals for repair work.
  • GHBA joined Operation Finally Home and partners from Perry Homes, the Howard Hughes Corporation, the Houston Texans and others for a groundbreaking for the mortgage-free home that would be built for SSG Stephen Netzley and his daughter Mrazy.

March/April

  • GHBA’s government affairs team and concerned members negotiated with the City of Houston to lessen the negative and unwarranted impact of proposed detention requirements on homeowners.
  • We returned to in-person meetings for the Montgomery County Builders and Developers Division. More than 80 people gathered for an informative panel discussion on post-Covid homebuilding.
  • We also had an exceptional mini-membership drive catered by the inimitable cooking team led by Greg Tomlinson and Chris Hawkins.

May

  • Many of our members participated in in-person and virtual meetings with our congressional leaders, in conjunction with NAHB, to urge federal action on skyrocketing lumber prices.
  • Thanks to Land Tejas and Chesmar Homes, we had the opportunity to celebrate our Benefit Homes donors at an outdoor luncheon and recognition ceremony at El Lago Mar.

June

  • An out-of-this-world installation gala was held in honor of GHBA President Keith Luechtefeld and the 2021 board of directors. The delayed celebration also gave us the opportunity to thank Past President Rob Hellyer for his service during the wildly unexpected ride that was 2020.
  • Our first-ever Tex Mex Fiesta was a big hit, thanks to our many cooking teams who wowed attendees with their fajitas, queso and margaritas.
  • At our Mid-Year Forecast Luncheon, we presented a record eight deserving students with $4,000 scholarships each for their pursuit of higher education.

July

  • GHBA TAB directors and many others traveled to Dallas for the Sunbelt Builders Show and celebrated McCalle Fryar as one of only three recipients of the 2021 Excellence under 45 Award.
  • GHBA’s newly established Workforce Working Group partnered with several educational and employment partners to host a Construction Careers Hiring Event at WorkTexas.

August

  • The Young Professionals hosted a networking event at the Thorntree showroom in the Houston Design Center, and GHBA joined with the American Society of Interior Designers and National Kitchen and Bath Association for a combined networking happy hour about maximizing membership in multiple associations.
  • The Remodelers Council participated in AIA Houston’s Sandcastle competition with a Texas-themed sand creation.

September

  • The GHBA board of directors voted to lay the groundwork for a Professional Women in Building Council to launch in 2022. (Join us for signing day at 10 a.m. on December 16 at the GHBA office).
  • Our Membership Drive netted dozens of new members!
  • We celebrated the 80th anniversary of the GHBA and the unveiling of a new and improved downstairs kitchen thanks to Builders Choice, SteveShannonDesign.com, and Thorntree Slate and Marble.
  • Our BABA Fishing Tournament rode the waves of success as more than 60 teams enjoyed a beautiful day on the water.

October

  • We hosted an extremely successful Product Expo and contract seminars at the Sam Houston Raceway Park. Following the event, we launched a new advice column called “Ask Ian” featuring our general counsel, Ian Faria of Bradley Arant.
  • The PRISM Awards were held in person with Johnny Bravo as our emcee.
  • For the first time in more than two decades, Houston was the host city for NAHB’s fall meetings.

November

  • TAB honored GHBA with the Association Achievement of the Year Award for its commitment and efforts to improve workforce education and employment.
  • Our Custom Builders Council and Remodelers Council went out to HomeAid Houston partner, Krause Children’s Center, to demolish an old deck that had outlived its use, and clear the way for a new project in 2022.

As the holiday season gets underway, I look forward to participating in the Associate Council’s Frank Aranza Adopt-a-Family Project and holiday celebrations with the Custom Builders Council, Remodelers Council and others!

Between masking, social distancing, liability waivers and other new approaches due to COVID, our association looked a bit different this year, but continued to serve as the front door for residential construction in our 11-county service area.

This year has been one of renewal and reengagement for our association and I look forward to seeing what next year holds for us under the presidency of Jennifer Keller.

About the Author
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Aimee Bertrand

Executive Vice President & CEO of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA)