When one of our builder members was asked why he was a part of the HBA, he answered with this analogy:

“I always liked the story of the father giving his son a stick saying ‘Try to break it,’ and he did. Then he gave him ten sticks with a string around them. The father said, ‘Now try to break them.’ The son tried but he could not, and this is the way our association works. As one we are not very strong, but as many we hold together, even in tough times.”

How true this is, and each of us can be grateful that we are a part of a bigger group that exists to represent our needs and fight for our work and industry. Builders, remodelers, flooring providers, electrical contractors, insurance agencies – we all benefit from the stronger voice that our association brings to the table, whether it be with greater buying power to give us valuable discounts or greater political power to give us favorable regulations. But do you realize that most of our association is made up of associate members, not builders?

Our associates – vendors, subcontractors, and supporting businesses – comprise 2/3 of our association membership. The HBA would not be nearly as strong without the membership and support of these companies. Many of them join because they hope that by being members and getting involved, they can earn the respect, relationship, and ideally business partnership with our builders and other members. I am writing now to remind all of us of the importance of honoring their commitment to our industry and association by doing business with a member when possible.

I know that competition is fierce right now, and we make our business decisions based on what’s best for our customers and our bottom line. Many of us are loyal to trade partners that we’ve been with for years, and that is commendable. But where do you look when you’re ready to consider selecting a new subcontractor or vendor? I hope that you – like many of our builders – choose to peruse our HBA Member Directory first. After all, that is the list of companies who have made a significant investment in your industry, in their professional development, and in your business.

HBA members provide each of our companies with part of the string that ties us all together, making us unbreakable when by ourselves we could be snapped much more easily. That is why I’m grateful for every one of our members who have made or will make that investment in the HBA this year. Their dues, if even in a small way, help to all of us to stand with strength against whatever forces may strike.

Builders, it is vital for the survival and sake of our association that we give our fellow members the chance to earn our business by taking the time to occasionally come out to events, meet with them and your peers, and use the Directory as your buying guide. I have enjoyed building many new relationships with associate members over my years as a volunteer leader in the HBA, and my business is more enriched because of it.

Associates, a word to the wise about making the most of your opportunities: come out to events, get to know your fellow members and builders, but remember that, especially around here, it’s all about the relationship. Please, don’t try to sell every builder you meet on your product or service at each function; instead, build a professional friendship with them, and show your support by making yourself a regular presence in their industry circle. Not only will you gain new allies, but you will likely be at the top of their minds when they’re looking for someone who provides your services.

And for all of us, let’s just remember that what we get out of our membership is what we put into it. Being a HBA member doesn’t obligate you to come to every event and be involved in committees and councils, but you may likely find it to be much more rewarding – professionally and personally – if you do use your membership to forge new connections at our events and committee activities. Because those connections make for a stronger membership base, a stronger membership base makes for a stronger association, and a stronger association makes for a stronger industry!

Michael Dey, Executive Vice President