As mentioned in last week’s blog, our Association is experiencing a generational shift in leadership and participation. While we are not big on labels here, this is a nationwide phenomenon, and from our vantage point, we can say if the members we have are generally representative of the generation, our nation will be in great shape. We prefer to refer to these young builder-businessmen as the next generation of leadership, but whatever you want to call them, our observation indicates that “it’s all good.” Collectively, they possess a strong work ethic, a commitment to family, commitment to delivering a quality product, a realization of the importance of education in keeping up with evolving building science, and a spirit of generosity in giving back to the community.
So, for those of you who are faithful attendees of our annual Parade of Homes, you have probably already noticed over the past five years, entries not only from the solid mainstays in the building community, but those from fresh new faces with fresh new ideas. These young men have already made an impact in leadership and participation in the Association, ensuring that both the industry and the Association will continue onward as the seasoned veterans head for retirement.
Our Association is very proud of these young men, especially those who have also stepped from participation in our events and projects, to service on our Board of Directors. This all started with a 2014 return to the Board of Directors by Jake Overton (Overton Corporation), now immediate Past President. During his two successful terms, then the youngest-ever OBHBA President, he worked to initiate change that will better serve the Association in the coming years. When you make your stop at Home #10, be sure to shake his hand. You will see that Jake, a third-generation builder, learned from his predecessors the importance of quality construction and a commitment to excellence and service.
Similarly, Matt Neal of Neal Contracting, son of David Neal, also a licensed builder, started in construction from the ground up, and formed his own contracting company in 2006. Matt is serving his first of two terms as the current OBHBA President and manages to balance a family with two young children, his duties as president and a burgeoning residential construction business. It would not be right to omit mentioning that wife Rachel also plays a broad role in co-operating the business. Matt did manage to supplant Jake as now the youngest-ever OBHBA President. Check out their unique Parade home in Southern Shores – Home #9.
Blair Meads of Reliant Construction, also on the leadership ladder as Second Vice President, has more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, and like Jake and Matt, works hard in building homes and building his solid reputation in the business, but still manages to balance the demands of a young family and giving back to the OBHBA and the community. Meet him in Home #21.
Parade of Homes newcomers Matt Conway, Conway Construction (Home #1), Austin Kelly, Croatan Custom Homes (Homes #3 and 11), Jaden Jennings, Jennings Construction (Home #14) and Matt Koplen, M K Contractors (Home #18) have over 60 years combined experience.
The OBHBA has come a long way since our first Parade of Homes, and a longer way since we received our charter from the National Association of Homebuilders in 1979. And with this type of succession plan, we are on the move down a sold path for the future.