Our Kalamazoo-area HBA has been a leader in welcoming the next generation of building industry professionals into their ranks. Their group, Home Builders Young Professionals (HBYP), has developed rapidly throughout 2017 with its events now attracting some 50 to 100 participants on a regular basis. How are they doing it? A commitment of budget, staff and a core group of leaders. There’s also no age limit. “Young” is not defined according to this group’s leaders. 30-something? 40? 45? Nope, it’s just a state of mind. They broadly suggest 40-something but they don’t ever
want anyone to hit a landmark birthday and be banished from the group.
The advantage of creating a separate group? According to CEO Keith Crowell, even when senior members are generous and sincere mentors, it’s hard for a newer person to feel the confidence to take initiative in a room full of veterans. HBYP is an opportunity for our younger members to feel comfortable as an HBA member.
A typical quarterly get-together of this group takes place at a local brewpub. Events are designed to work for members who need to get home for family activities. They are a drop-in format that runs from 4:00 –7:00 with little programming. Some people come for 20 minutes, some stay until 7:00. At their last gathering, a former WMU quarterback gave a leadership talk. Not so much a formal speaker, but a conversation. Lose the stuffiness and formalities says the young professional organizing HBYP, Christina Reed, Member Services Coordinator at the HBA of Western Michigan. Contact her for more information at 269-375-4225.
Another bit of advice to those HBAs wanting to facilitate the formation of a similar group, be generous with invitations. According to Christina they encourage members to bring friends and they also encourage older members to send their younger employees. Part of our aim is for these events to be a cool destination and, so far so good. And let them know that coming dusty from a job site is the welcomed look!