What is MHI’s and the Manufactured Housing Industry’s Leadership’s Strategy?

October 19th, 2014 No comments

There are leaders of companies of all sizes involved in the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Some are huge in MH, others as small as one person and all sizes in between. We routinely get questions related to MHI’s decisions, communications, actions or the seeming ‘absence of action’ which we’ll explore for the next few minutes.

Paraphrasing some common ones:

  • What is MHI’s game plan for a more robust MH Industry recovery?

  • Are MHI’s main foci “lobbying and regulatory” in nature?

  • As good as the info or networking at MHI meetings are, is there something beyond meetings and lobbying?

  • Does the leadership at MHI see all the opportunities and risks: in the marketplace, with not-for profits, media and from regulators?

  • What happens if MHI’s lobbying efforts and plans come up short? What’s their plan B?

  • Tony, can you get MHI to do X (whatever the caller’s or writer’s “x” happens to be…, and the short answer is mostly, not likely).

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Yes, the above are paraphrases, but if you look closely at some of the articles on Industry Voices over the months or years, or a number of featured articles written by others under their own names,what emerges are exactly these noted concerns and more, only politely said or muted.  So this is NOT new.

Example; when a respected industry pro points out publicly and in writing that half the states in the U.S. are still going backwards on new warning-sign-new_zealand_credit-wikicommons-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-MH shipments, isn’t that a troubling warning sign?

When -

  • affordable quality housing is in high demand in the U.S. and world-wide,

  • billions in investments could be coming into MH (some potentially via MHI to members…),

  • and MH and MHI are routinely not considered for projects, aren’t those warning signs too?

Disclosure

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Disclosure being made at a Congressional hearing,
credit WikiCommons.

Before proceeding, as a disclosure:

  • that I’m an MHI member,

  • was elected to the board of the MHI Suppliers Division, 

  • and pay dues like hundreds of other professionals or businesses do. Furthermore,

  • our firm’s parent operation has done contracted services for MHI,

  • The fact that key people connected with MHI thank us privately and publicly (see footnote 1), suggests they like want we’ve done for them and/or for the industry in our publishing and other services.

That said, let’s proceed.

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The Other Networks…

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is one of over 50 national, state or regional communities focused associations in MH or modular homes. While many walk hand-in-hand publicly with MHI, that doesn’t mean that off the record (or sometimes, rather publicly, on the record), they agree with all that MHI does.

In fact, a MHARR member reminded me recently they exist precisely because decades ago, their members didn’t feel properly represented by MHI, and so they formed their own group that exists to this day.

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What is the MHI End Game?

Do you play chess? If not, ask a good chess player you know to explain “the opening, middle and end game,” or read up on it on a source such as Wikipedia.  MHPros, would be and current investors, media, and outside but interested parties often ask your Masthead  scribe,

  • What is MHI’s end game?

Others may ask similar, but differently,

  • what are the short, mid and long term goals for MHI?

To maintain balance, let it be known that MHI does put out a few statements every month. They do put out an annual or periodic “score card” on their lobbying efforts and results. Whenever we publish a guest column, like Jason Boehlert‘s on behalf of MHI, or other articles on/by MHI that are featured, they are routinely well read.

But that is the flip side of another common comment (complaint?). “MHI fails to communicate often or clearly on key things in a fashion that keeps the industry-at-large informed.” I’ve had MHI members – who aren’t dual MHARR members – say that MHARR out-communicates MHI.

I frankly hear concerns from those within MHI’s ranks to exactly these and other points raised in this column. So these aren’t whines from the side-lines by the disgruntled, rather they are water-cooler, email, phone, dinner and bar talk by MHI members and beyond.

Concerns on some topics related to MHI are so hot that I think it prudent not to mention them specifically at this time. The goal today isn’t to pen a post that looks like a nuclear attack – remember, we’re about solutions, not problems here – so let’s focus on the concerns in general and see where those lead us, okay?

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“Inexplicable!”

“Tony, some of what MHI does or fails to do is maddeningly inexplicable.”

None of this is to throw rocks, because I’m on an MHI board too. It’s shared because pros in our industry – or those keenly interested in MH and our future – often shake their heads in wonder.  

My private response is there are certainly good efforts like HR 1779/S 1828; MHI and the leadership deserve credit for getting more traction on these than any other legislation to date I’m aware of to “reform the reform” of Dodd-Frank. That’s not to be taken lightly! So let’s be fair. There are successes.

But there are state associations that – objectively speaking – are arguably doing a better job with often more limited resources than the national.

To be more specific would be unfair, but to say those associations are routinely engaged with MHI makes the point I also make in private. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Whatever is missing or is wrong, let’s work together to fix and improve it.

We have to improve what is good, and fix what is lacking.

I’m not going to offer a specific set of suggestions or conclusions; that’s up the leadership and industry members like yourself.

We as industry pros will make it through this rebirthing period, regardless if MHI makes changes or doesn’t. Our MH industry will grow, period and exclamation point!

Individual companies will continue to thrive (or not), based upon their corporate efforts and those of other associations.

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Hari kari – image credit, silverdoctors.

So unless we collectively commit dishonorable ‘hari kari,’ Manufactured and Modular Homes are going to play a key role in the future of American Housing.

But if MHI listen to and adapts, as these voices suggest, many more will prosper and benefit and will do so more rapidly.

If they fail to address the growing chorus of quietly voiced concerns, nature abhors a vacuum. ##

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latonykovach-us-supreme-court-building-washington-dc-masthead-mhpronews-com-_light-Footnote 1)

We could point to a number of comments in writing or via video that underscore the fact that MHI thinks we are “fair and balanced” here at MHProNews  in our coverage and are pro-industry in all of our work.

Examples are the closing comments on videos with prior MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer, or MHI President Dick Jennison; or in writing by others – many are MHI members at this link – that make that point.

Many interviews with industry leaders, who often sounded off on such issues (but may not mention MHI by name), are linked here.

Footnote 2)

Along the lines of industry education and events, ironically, MHI has brought in fine speakers like Chris Fisher of Drucker Worldwide, or author Ken Segall of Apple marketing fame. Watch and listen to their interviews, and then ask the question. “6 months later, which of these suggestions has MHI publicly taken up?”

Footnote 3)

Let me partially answer that last question by saying that the MHI Supplier’s Division has taken up the issue of image in a proposed video project, as is reflected in MHI’s own annual meeting report, linked here.

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

(Image credits: WikiCommons, MHProNews and silverdoctors)

Editor’s Note:

Your Invitation to Sound Off!

We are routinely asked to ‘push’ MHI on this or that topic, and routinely refrain from doing so  for a variety of reasons.

With this column, we’ll see if:

  • others who’ve asked me to sound off for them will now come forward more clearly and directly in their own public statements on what they think MHI needs to do,

  • or if MHI will come forward and answer some of these questions and concerns publicly to the industry, or

  • if MHI leaders will privately meet and resolve these and others festering concerns.

The point is, nature abhors a vacuum.  Timely solutions are needed, or multi-billion-dollar opportunities will be missed.

Change will come, the question is how, when and with what results?

In fairness and closing, we know from our sources that MHI is and has been exploring options (some I’d agree with, others…?) but they’ve opted as of this point-in-time to hold those discussions very close to the vest.

Comments on this or other topics of industry interest – or or off the record – may be sent to this linkAs always, comments are those of the writer, not necessarily reflective of sponsors or our parent firm.

If you opt to sound-off via email, please make it clear from your subject line if the comment is On the Record or Off the Record; thank you in advance as always for your tips, thoughts and insights. ##

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


The Messy Manufactured Housing Industry Re-birthing Process

October 15th, 2014 No comments

Financing. Affordable housing demand. Regulations. Tiny Houses. Consolidation (wanted and otherwise). RV Industry seeking definition clarifications on “Manufactured Housing.” Opportunities mixed with Challenges.

us-navy_nurse_prepares_mom_c-section-wikicommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-These are just some of the fluid dynamics facing manufactured housing today.

Any birth is ‘messy,’ and a breach birth needing a c-section perhaps more so. This comes to mind as industry pros and observers sound off publicly and privately about the industry’s painfully slow-but-steady roughly 5 year uptick.

The pace of new home sales growth can and MUST be accelerated, so say certain pros to the Masthead, or else we’ll see more businesses die a painful and potentially avoidable death.

ELS’ Sam Zell spoke of the confidence they have in MH and MHCs, and we have had similar confidence in MH too which began before our launch of MHProNews, or more recently, MHLivingNews.com. Duh, of course! We knew there was a struggle ahead, we launched to be part of the solution.

But the times have been and are messy.

There are those who say that the industry is being held back as much by the industry itself than by outside forces. They’d say, we’ve met the enemy and he is us.

Others have a list of reasons why MH has progressed, but why it isn’t doing better. Sorry, some of those reads like CYA excuses.

Look at Champion, which is growing, or Adventure Homes - growing, or Deer Valley, which attracted new capital.

Creativity? It’s not coming, it’s here!

1) We hope to have a column for you soon from a forward thinking industry pro that anticipated a mainstream story out today about using vacant parking lots for manufactured or modular mini-homes, to address municipal affordable housing demand.

2) Outdated MHCs (aka, older “mobile home parks”) are getting attention they haven’t had in years; not from developers looking to place big box stores or multi-family housing (that’s still happening too), but rather from the encouraging sign of investors buying them to fix them up and turn them into more desirable properties.

Opportunities abound, but closures and consolidations of various kinds are coming. We hear whispers about programs and firms that could vanish or be absorbed, even as the industry is regaining market share and total sales, with more growth to come.

15-minutes-daily-mhpronews(2) (2)

The point is there is a high cost to low volume sales. We have the ability to rapidly – and sustainably – double or more our new home sales, but it will require changes of approach. It’s about time more firms start seriously investing in growth!

Programing note

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Starting last Thursday, we began testing a new style on the Daily Business News, which has long been popular. Readership has already taken a noticeable jump! Please take a look and let us know your thoughts, thank you.

The new birth – rebirth – of manufactured housing is coming. Together, we advance. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


Removing the Blinders – The Profitable Power of more Knowledge

October 11th, 2014 No comments

It is self evident that:

  • customer satisfaction,

  • input from the market,

  • knowledge from experts and veterans from inside and outside the industry passed onto industry professionals,

are all necessary elements for the growth and advancement of manufactured housing.

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Would Apple be as huge as they are today if they lacked happy customers, insights into the markets’ current and future desires, needs and budgets?

Or could Apple dominate if they lacked the information from experts – in and out of their firm’s ranks – needed to anticipate and respond to the ebb and flow of the market and regulations? Two letter answer, no!

We need to learn and mimic those who earn more.

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The smartphone market in the U.S. is some $41 billion a year. Look at this growth curve, courtesy of Statista.

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Our industry needs to rub the sleep out of its eyes! Today, ours may be a ‘small,’ or “boutique industry as MHI Chairman Nathan Smith has referred to it. But the needs of a nation demanding quality affordable living. In the U.S. alone, we have a 1 trillion dollar a year housing market.  U.S. Housing is 41 times the size of the smart phone market in 2014!

1million-`billion-1trillion-credit=blahdyblahblahblahg.blogspot-posted-masthead-mhpronews-com-

Credit: blahdyblahblahblahg blogspot.

What do we need to grow factory built housing to its true potential?

1) First, happy customers, which for the most part, studies like this suggests we already have. That said, we need the reality of happy home owners to be more widely known. We also need to create more of them!

2) Along side that, we need to feed the front line, middle and upper management alike with timely information, inspiration and innovation that creates confidence and insights leading to growth. 

Hoarding knowledge starves minds which have a natural desire to know!  By contrast, sharing experience and information is the proven path for career satisfaction and progress.

mh-growth-requires-an-increasing-number-of-informed-and-inspired-professionals-masthead-mhpronews-

It should go without saying that the more you understand a career or subject and it’s relationship to others, the greater the Opportunities.

Manufactured-home

We believe in the future potential of our industry. So do legendary investors like Warren Buffett and Sam Zell. That’s why we launched this platform, and why 5 years ago we made the “Two Words Case for Why Manufactured Housing Would Survive and Thrive!”

These are among the reasons why we at MHProNews  are taking another evolutionary step in MH trade publishing – to offer enhanced insight to pros like you – and your peers.  That in turn fuels the ability for you and others to earn more. Please check these examples below out!

manufactured-housing-is-not-alone-seeking-cfpb-reforms-masthead-mhpronews-

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/mbas-lobbying-seeks-to-ease-cfpbs-mortgage-regulations/

Friends of ours in the Association world will look at the above link and see critical facts they’ll get or are already passionate about.

But more need to understand, all for the purpose of fueling business growth!

why-the-rv-mh-definition-issue-matters-masthead-mhpronews-

This next news article is a mix of threat and opportunity for MH. Understanding the issue better, could lead to informed decisions that grow our industry.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/congressmen-stutzman-and-walorski-back-in-bill-distancing-rvs-from-manufactured-housing-definitions/

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Please read Steve Lefler’s related commentary:

What’s Happened to the HUD Code Manufactured Housing Industry?

Then look at this news article and video below. Are MH firms and associations missing a huge chance to leverage these trends and developments into tens of thousands of more manufactured and modular home sales?

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/canadians-mini-dwellings-video-report-on-north-of-the-border-tiny-house-movement/

We Provide. You Decide.” 

 

 

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If you’re in the largest, smallest or in-between size business or organization in MH, you should want your firm to succeed. In an industry our size, that means you want to see others like yours behave and do well.

You can’t forge that outcome solo.

But in concert with others – networking and learning at live association events – like the FMHA’s fine annual gathering in Orlando this past week! – plus a healthy dose of good pro-industry trade journalism, you can.

15-minutes-daily-mhpronews(2)

Thousands like you are already logging on 15 minutes a day here on this site. We thank all those – and those still writing in – for the 5th anniversary congratulatory messages – samples of which are linked here. We can only do this in concert with others, so we walk the talk being shared!

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7 minutes a day at MHLivingNews.com is critical for you and your team too. Business is being closed by pros learning to link or show stories on this pro-industry, public focused website. But your team can’t do that if you and they don’t know the content personally.

More firms are supporting these efforts with content and advertising that makes these 24/7 resources possible. Together, we advance the cause of factory built housing in America.

Alone, anyone is more likely to stumble, fall and then who will help us up?

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Open your eyes…Credit 123RF

Together, we can tap more of a 1 trillion dollar a year U.S. housing market. Would you rather feast, or settle for the scraps that fall off the table?

Synergistic Collaboration is a key to a brighter future. That takes knowledge shared, which you will find here in abundance.

We are calling you and all others to join the effort, by sharing knowledge, commentary and yes, advertising support that allow us to continue to deliver and grow MH’s runaway #1 Industry News Tips and Views Pros can Use.

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This finale may sound ambitious to some, but no more so than what the RV-MH Hall of Fame is also accomplishing via zest, gusto and leadership! A million dollars a year invested here for 2 years by the industry pros and organizations would exponentially grow the factory-built housing’s image, education and results. That’s a modest $1,000 a month for 24 months by 100 firms or organizations.

By the way, that’s a tiny fraction of what the GoRVing campaign invests right now, and a reason why more expensive RVs outsell MH by 5 to 1. They are recreational, we in MH are a necessity! Do you see more of the true MH potential?

Together, yes we can grow this industry and YOUR career and business performance!

More, soon. Until then, think – All for One and One for All.  That mantra applied daily to MH would take us to record heights. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By LATonyKovach.com

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


Dodd-Frank Fatigue, Rebellion and Organized Resistance

October 8th, 2014 No comments

Before launching this commentary on fatigue, rebellion and resistance to Dodd-Frank, SAFE and their regulators, let’s state the obvious for the record. No where in manufactured housing trade journalism do you find more compliance-focused columns: be it Fair Housing, finance or other legal topics. We don’t have to agree with a law – like Dodd-Frank, which some understandably see as grossly unConstitutional – to say that the path of prudence suggests compliance while working to change the law.

dont_tread_on_me_rally-to-restore-sanity-wikicommons-posted-masthead-mhpronews-com-That said, let’s look at comments from the rebellious…

1) …some frankly scoff at the idea that Dodd-Frank is being complied with.

2) There has also been quiet talk that includes the concept of setting up ‘test cases’ that would directly challenge the constitutionality of Dodd-Frank, SAFE and the regulators thereof.

3) Some want to fly under the radar, not because they may have this or that political agenda, but because they were allowed to do this legally before, why not now?

4) Others point to the fact that the very survival of their business model – from their perspective – is at risk. In life or death, some will opt for life even if they violate some new regulation in the process.

Born free in the U.S.A., these matters tends to tug at my heart strings, how about yours?

How much is too Much?

For some, the question of non-compliance is “practical.” How much interest is too much? How many or large a rate hike by MH Communities (aka mobile home park) on their site fees are too much?

Remember, don’t shoot the messenger! This isn’t taking sides, the commentary reflects real talk in various places and with significant numbers of pros like yourself.

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Associations and Resistance

Associations naturally tend toward legal action, to work within the system, to resist, modify or change laws.

On the Masthead, we have and will advocate that Industry pros avail themselves of the benefits and wisdom found in associations. Fresh from the Florida Manufactured Housing Association’s annual meeting, I can tell you that they are a fine example of top shelf efforts to Protect and Promote MH. More of a recap on that event soon.

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For those who say associations are dominated by the big boys, well then work within the system (…if you feel that call…) to organize the voices to re-balance the scales. We haven’t just said people should do stuff, we are walking the walk and believe that is how all progress takes place – identify an issue, give it appropriate thought then real action!

My own sense has been that any firm – be it small, medium or large – who “get it” on associations benefit from being actively engage with them far more than the cost of their dues.

All that said…

The popularity of our coverage Industry in Focus special on the CFPB report and resulting controversies suggests that many are keen to be engaged in this struggle against a regulator whose power and rep pockets are unprecedented in American history. Congress can hold hearings, they can make calls and write letters to Cordray, but as the CFPB is currently organized, they can’t cut off funding without changing the law.

more-hot-october-reads--the-masthead-blog-mhpronews-

15-minutes-daily-mhpronews(2)

Overnight, this became the top read on MHProNews:

http://www.mhpronews.com/home/industry-news/industry-in-focus/8460-cfpb-report-alleges-manufactured-housing-lending-is-expensive-sparks-controversial-comments-from-cfed-mhi-and-other-mh-industry-professionals

While it is too soon to tell, media polling suggests that if the midterms where held today, the U.S. Senate would tilt 52R and 48D. If that’s so, expect more pressure on the CFPB once the new Congress is seated.

The legal resistance to Dodd-Frank is ongoing, not only from MH but from other industries as well. In less than 4 weeks, we may know how the new House and Senate will break down. One hunch we hear is that we could see a pivot by the CFPB if it break Republican in both chambers. We may soon see! ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By LATonyKovach.com

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


CFPB, GAO, HUD, CFED and Manufactured Housing Industry Professionals

October 5th, 2014 No comments

Among the “great calls” was a respected CEO who told me that many issues in MH are so complex, it makes the eyes of lots of industry professionals glaze over. The caller asked me to keep things as simple as possible, so more ‘get it,’ and based upon improved understating, they can act properly.

To make things more visual and easy-to-use, let’s use graphics below to compliment the written commentary and make big issues more manageable.

You can find the articles relating to each of the headlined items linked below. We know MH pros, investors, public officials, not-for-profits and others follow such stories by the thousands daily.

As important as these issues are, let’s step beyond them briefly to pull some threads together with graphics. These images and facts will tell a powerful tale that – once understood and acted upon – could raise our economy and industry to new record levels.

production-wikicommons-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-

Chart: Wikipedia

USA Facts in Graphics

America became the number #1 nation on earth in production, finance and business; due in part to very modest regulations and simple taxes.

economic-impact-per-state-house-sale-nar-keeping-current-matters-posted-masthead-daily-business-news-

Bill Clinton as president famously said “the era of big government is over,” and later authored a book which advocated a more “partnership” approach between government and business. During a radio interview I heard about his book, former President Clinton suggested modeling what was working between business and government in Korea.

Whatever one thinks about President Obama and his administration, what is indisputable is that during his term, the U.S. federal government’s grown bigger than ever.

We also see routine headlines of often spectacular debacles in recent years. Examples:

  • The billion dollar flawed roll out of the ACA (aka ObamaCare)

  • Veterans Administration (VA) scandals

  • The Secret Service in turmoil

  • GAO’s lavish private parties

  • Choking off lending with CFPB regulations, not only of MH, but also of conventional housing, business and other lending

  • IRS targeting conservative groups

  • Solyndra or other green energy scandals and failed programs

  • The highest percentage of Americans outside of the workforce

  • More on disability and various aid programs

  • High unemployment, under-employment, more low wage jobs and most Americans are worse off now than 6 years ago

  • Vast government debt and groggy deficits that add to the debt

  • A foreign policy we keep hearing the president say is “surprised” by events (Benghazi, ISIS, Russia/Ukraine/Crimea, US Mexican Border, etc)

  • …and White House statements that President Obama reads or hears about such issues in the media instead of federal reports, his classified daily briefs, etc..

Before proceeding, as an independent speaking only for myself, let me be clear: during President George W. Bush’s term, the surplus budget created by the Gingrich/Clinton reforms of welfare and entitlements in the 1990s was lost. President Bush’s so-called “Compassionate Conservatism” created new, unpaid for entitlements and programs. We entered a war in Iraq on what we were later told was “incorrect intelligence” reports. There’s debate on the question of problems which lead to the financial collapse of 2008; could the Great Recession of 2008 have been avoided?

Certainly there are examples in every presidency of serious mistakes made, so this isn’t about partisan finger pointing.

What all this does is make a simple point! Against that backdrop of such clear facts and evidence, why do so many have such great faith in government? Why?

efficient-government-sells-more-homes-cartoon-(c)2014-masthead-mhpronews-com-

forbes-6.1billion-man-hours-doing-taxes-business-council-ny-2trillion-regulatory-cost2014-(c)masthead-mhpronews-com-

Stop and think! Streamlining the federal tax and regulatory system -
as any number of economic and political leaders suggest -
could create a huge economic boom.

MHProNews cartoon.

Solidarity and Subsidiarity, not anarchy or oligarchy

There is a case to be made that the bigger government gets, the more abuse, waste and foul play there is.

In November 2014 elections, IMHO we have little choice but to look at the policies and outcomes of the last 5 years, and vote “no confidence” in those who passed those policies, administer and (sometimes…) enforce them.

But beyond November’s mid-term elections?

“Crony capitalism” works hand-in-hand with big government “socialistic” policies. The irony is that the crony capitalists are robbing from their own future, as well as that of the rest of us too.

Democratic and Republican political camps

The chart doesn’t necessarily imply cronyism, but
note these individuals are in both
Democratic and Republican political camps.
Chart source: ValueWalk.

Henry Ford made it possible for more people to have good jobs that improved their lives. Ford prospered, because many others did!

For all their bluster about “the top 1%,” this Administration goes to the billionaires and millionaires for their political fundraising. The top 1%, 3% and 10% got richer, while the rest of the nation got poorer.

Who is fooling whom?

What these charts also imply is there is no need to artificially hike minimum wages, which some claim would cost 500,000 jobs. What we need instead is to restore the robust demand for workers, which economic growth routinely produces! More demand for workers leads to higher pay. More working means fewer on public programs. Everyone in the mix benefits.

market-share-us-banks-infographic-credit-facethefacts-gw-university-

Federal policies are choking off small lenders, arguably harming
small business and job creation. Chart source: Face the Facts – George Washington University

Former SBA chief in the Obama Administration, Karen Mills’ report for Harvard says Credit is
still tight for
Small Businesses.

Fortune Magazine points to MA and other states creating
Public Private economic partnerships.

Energy and Construction Jobs pay more than most jobs

Energy and Construction Jobs pay more than most jobs.
Domestic energy would reduce foreign oil dependence,
and low cost energy is good for business,
the working poor, everyone.

Infographic found on the Huffington Post website.

impact-revenue-chart-national-association-of-home-builders-posted-masthead-mhpronews-

Housing is another major engine that drives economic growth and ‘good jobs’ creation.

In an era were incomes are down, rental rates are rising and there exists affordable housing shorterages in many markets, manufactured housing and modular home building must be key elements supported – or at least not impeded – by public policies! The case can be made that subsidizing rents is far more costly for federal, state and local budgets than supporting the ownership of quality, appealing, safe, energy saving and durable manufactured homes.

economic-impact-of-housing-us=bi-partisan-policy-center=-infographic-5_6-posted-masthead-mhpronews-com

energy-independence-economic-impact=cline-shale-central-posted-masthead-mhpronews-com-

Energy independence would fuel more domestic manufacturing, creating
more direct and indirect higher paying jobs. This would reduce social welfare
program spending. It also reduces dependance on oil from foreign nations.

FTFin-ten-means-tested-programs-cost1of6federal-dollars-george-washington-univ-posted-masthead-mhpronews-com-

We may never eliminate the need for some entitlements, but by creating more
high pay jobs, while reducing energy costs which harm the poor disproportionally,
the U.S. could rapidly move back to the kinds of surplus budgets enjoyed during the
bi-partisan efforts created by Gingrich-Clinton and others in the booming 1990s.

regulatory-compliance-costs-for-manufacturers-source-national-assoc-manufacturers-posted-masthead-mhpronews0-com-_001

regulatory-costs-by-business-size-manufactrurers-association-posted-mhpronews-

where-would-you-spend-funds-saved-from-regulatory-compliance-national-association-manufacturers-graphic-posted-masthead-mhpronews-com-

Source National Association of Manufacturers study
on economic impact and costs of regulations.

Let’s point to some commentary from Ron D’Ambra, who has said in an earlier column, that HUD regulations can and do benefit the industry, and then emphasize that what our goals should be in fair, common sense regulations

  • that protects the consumer,

  • does not needless drive up costs,

  • does not fall too heavily on independent producers,

  • and gives the consumer more confidence in our homes, knowing these quality standards exist!

Will HUD’s program under Pam Danner’s leadership advance – or at least, not harm – the cause of manufactured housing?

The CFPB may have the power to choke off potentially tens of thousands of MH loans, but only while harming millions of MH home owner values, especially those under $25,000. But do they understand that by troubling our industry and home owners, they are creating negative ripples that will cost federal, state and local budgets far more?

Wack-a-mole?!

Why are we playing federal wack-a-mole? We hit one problem, another pops up! Instead of repeating the same mistakes, lets look at how the game is played!

Let’s get to the root causes, and correct them. That’s what the charts above point to, that our economy could be roaring ahead, and we could be reducing debts and heading back to budget surpluses if we had smarter government. That requires elected and appointed leaders willing to make these a priority, knowing it rapidly benefits everyone mid to long term.

SRfedspendingnumbers2012p4chart4_600-heritage-org-posted-mhmsm-com-

Applying the right principles is more important than party labels. Not only in MH, but other industries and professions, are essentially begging bureaucrats we pay with taxes and borrowed dollars to allow us to legally do today what was legal before! Hello?

Solidarity means to stand with others, and in unity to achieve good goals.

Subsidiarity means to make government and decision making as local as possible.

Anarchy is the opposite of big government – both are extremes!!

When we restore the private/public balance in the middle and follow smart policies, we’ll see a robust economy return. That will help manufactured housing, our customers and the nation as a whole.

Against that backdrop, here are the links to articles and commentary referenced in the headline above. We do have to keep working on these linked issues and others, but let’s not lose sight of the root causes of our problems! As these charts and graphics demonstrated, we can regrow our economy, benefiting virtually all Americans and businesses in the process. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By LATonyKovach.com

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


Outstanding October, Trending Turbulence and Re-energizing Manufactured Housing!

October 1st, 2014 No comments

Years ago, a speaker said that without positive and negative polarity, you have no (…electric…) power. The truth is what it is. Some is good, some not good, or even ‘negative.’ When a commercial airline encounters turbulence, there are a few choices –

  • change course,
  • go higher or
  • descend until it eases up.

Here on the Masthead, based upon feedback from key pros, we think the turbulence we face is due in part to the need to go higher and make some course corrections.

Starting with “Trending Turbulence,” we’ll move on to other manufactured housing (MH) professional news commentary.

airplane-turbulance-wikicommons-posted-masthead-mhpronews-com-

  1. Breaking is the CFPB’s published comments on MH lending and interest rates – linked here – which we’ve asked experts to sound off on.  Interesting to note that among the CFPB’s sources (see footnote 15) was an article from MHProNews….hmmm. We’ve been saying for some time, the feds are all over our sites. So are investors, more media, not-for-profits and – based up our ever growing numbers – so are more of MHPros and MH Enthusiasts (aficionados) like you.
  1. The Cavco – Skyline dance is all over the business/market news. Some of this was quite predictable, and expect more such events with suitors for MH firms within the industry seeking to consolidate, even as players from outside the industry eye and calculate their best paths to move in.
  1. TheThink Google” report on housing trends – including MH! – in conjunction with others like – the Senior Tsunami! - is but the most recent one that ought to reminds us  why manufactured housing pros can and should be bolder and opportunity oriented. Hitting turbulence? Escape up!
  1. The multi-millions-to-billions buying spree we expect to accelerate should clearly say, ‘Manufactured Housing is Quality Affordable Living – and thus the Land of Opportunity for Forward Looking Investors and Professionals.’

The reason pros like you should think ‘bigger and more’ is because the players in and outside of our industry are planning big moves. They are putting or seeking to place their money in MH. So shouldn’t you be thinking and planning for growth too?

More on all of these in the days ahead; my thanks to those who’ve given us tips, thoughts and talking points for the items shared.

Pressing on now to the ‘welcome’ message’ for our 5th anniversary celebration edition!

mhpronews-5th-anniversary-

1-mhpronews-logo-manufactured-housing-professional-news1-mhpronews-logo-manufactured-housing-professional-news

The Fifth Anniversary of MHProNews.com!

The MH world is trending up for over 4 years! We’ve been part of the efforts, reporting, plans and action in support of moving UP from our launch 5 years ago. Keep in mind part of what “makes us different” is that your Masthead scribe has been in the trenches with you in MH, starting in 1981: selling, managing – owning a retail center before selling it at a profit – managing MHCs, working with lenders on remarketing repos, etc.

More recently consulting/web/marketing and sales training besides publishing.

We are as much MH veterans as thousands of you are! Maybe that’s why thousands like you vote with your browsers, smartphones, laptops, tablets and desktop browsers daily by joining us here? Thank you!

Lots of great articles below. Don’t forget to keep up with our news Daily Business News, Industry in Focus Reports, MHARR, MHI news modules too! In fact, if you haven’t toured the site in a while, please go to the home page and click those menus! Remember, another MHProNews face lift – version 3.0 – is coming!

15-minutes-daily-mhpronews(2) (1)

Kindly see for yourself why thousands of articles are accessed here every month. Most of our experts have shared timeless tips, which is why researchers are doing deep dives daily in our ever-growing online archive.

knowledge-shared-is-knowledge-multiplied-manufactured-housing-pro-news-masthead-blog-latonykovach-mhpronews-com-a

Thank you!

Many thanks for the call, messages and encouraging comments for our 5th anniversary, which we hereby share and point to the those writers and team members who make this possible! Before sharing the October line up, lets dally for a moment about our initial vision and how it has evolved.

From the start, part of our desire was to create a place where the widest possible numbers of experts, MH Pros and thoughtful writers would have an opportunity to sound off. You and I don’t have to agree on everything to have you published here. Different perspectives are healthy for understanding and growth.

As to my own commentary, let me be the first to say what some gently said privately. Paraphrasing: Some of your early commentary is okay, some better, but other parts are frankly an embarrassment. I confess, there some things I wrote that I wish we didn’t publish! My thanks for your mercy to me on those…

Thanks to wiser Industry souls who pulled me aside and counseled me, we continue to grow and evolve.

We now get routine tips from the trenches to the C-Suites and owners from large players – mid size, “mom and pop” independents to the leasing manager, suppliers or sales people!

Thank you all:

      • who followed from our launch in mid-October 2009,
      • those who have shared their talents here by writing,
      • or doing an interview,
      • plus of course to our team members, then and now, naturally!

My thanks as well as those thousands who’ve found us more recently. The input of all are valued and appreciated. If you like what we say (for example, here on the Masthead) more than those early days, look in the mirror! Pat your own back! Input from you, your colleagues, peers and our team here makes that possible.

iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

If you don’t like what we say or publish, look in the mirror then too, because industry commentary – on or off the record input – from you and your associates is welcomed!

And Now A Word…

Naturally, we thank our sponsors and more are welcome! For those of you looking to advertise to the largest professional MH audience, a brief plug for the fact that among those who’ve praised our work are those who’ve enjoyed good results in promoting on our sites.

We’ll talk about our plans soon to help you and others grow the industry even more as we move toward 2015.

With no further adieu, here is the line up for the Featured Articles for an Outstanding October, 2014!

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 1, 2014

Alphabetically by Category


COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

• Why the “ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE” Wasn’t ‘Trademarked’

by David Baker, JD

david-baker-hart-king-manufactured-housing-law-mhpronews-com-50x50

Have you taken the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge”? If not, you may be one of the few Americans left who wasn’t caught up in the remarkably successful fundraising campaign made popular by YouTube videos of prominent celebrities, politicians, philanthropists, everyday folks, and even hand puppets, having a bucket of ice water dumped on their head.

Read more…

 

• “Hello, this call is a …”

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-50

What? A sales pitch? A political robo-call? Somebody calling to ask you to donate money (again!)? A TDD call?

Say what? A TDD call? What is that?

Read more…

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

• Manufactured Housing Industry – Phoenix Rising!

by Dennis Hill

dennis-hill-showways-unlimited-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-50x50-

You don’t have to look far for signs that manufactured housing (MH) is continuing the recovery since hitting bottom in 2009. I recall Ron Thomas, Sr. saying that we had to adjust our thinking about the new MH Industry baseline. When you do that, you see plenty of reasons to plan NOW for the best possible start for 2015!

Read more…

 

• Quotes from Manufactured Housing Industry Leaders and A Cup of Coffee with… 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50

Some of the most popular articles we have every month are from our periodic interview with manufactured housing industry leaders. “A Cup of Coffee with…” appeals to some of the biggest names in our industry, but also connects professionals from any sized operation with keen insights that can spell SUCCESS.

Read more…

 

• Manufactured Housing Professionals News – MHProNews – 5th Anniversary Celebration, Kudos and Quotable Quotes! 

by Manufactured Housing Industry Leaders

5th-anniversary-fireworks-wikicommons-posted-mhpronews-com-quotable-quotes-industry-leaders-50x50-.jpgThousands of manufactured and modular home professionals recall the days of the MH Merchandiser and other now defunct trade magazines; but thousands more have never known any serious industry trade journal other than MHProNews.

 Read more…

 

• Marty Lavin’s Comparison – The Merchandiser Magazine vs. MHProNews

by Marty Lavin, JD

marty-lavin-50Editor’s Note: For those who know Marty Lavin, you know the man has a long, storied and successful career in manufactured housing retail, finance and communities. Marty’s commentary has for years often shaken things up, including the way he does things.

Read more…

 

 • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Holds their 78th Annual Meeting 

by MHI Staff

mhi-logo-manufactured-housing-institute-posted-mhpronews-com-MHI held its 78th Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona with 143 members and guests in attendance.  The event was on September 14-16th, at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, and MHI thanks their sponsors for their support that made the event possible.

Read more…

 

 • A Doctoral Dissertation on Manufactured Housing and why it matters to the Industry 

by Lisa Tyler

lisa-tyler-walden-university-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50-The doctorate journey is a cycle of processes that is often misunderstood. The designation of “doctoral candidate” signifies the completion of post-graduate coursework and focus on completing the dissertation process.

Read more…

 

• News of the New

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-50x50-by Bob Vahsholtz

New fangled news media can befuddle old timers like me, but fresh, crisp and honest? Wow, what’s not to like! I’m spending more time on Tony’s sites than my retirement schedule calls for … the stuff is hard to resist.

Read more…

 

MANAGEMENT

 • Remember – It all started with a Mouse!

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” - Walt Disney. Disney’s legendary creativity and vision lead him to do things successfully that few before or since could have dreamed possible.

Read more…

 

MARKETING

• What does it take to Change Minds?

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50

The headline is a question every manufactured housing (MH) professional worth her or his salt should ask regularly! How does one change a mind? Why is this important?

Read more…

 

• Get Business Exposure With Facebook Ads for Cheap

by Joe Karns

joe-karns-web-tech-social-media-mobile-web-design-email-marketing-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-latonykovach-com-50x50-facebook adsIf you are like most business owners, you’re constantly on the lookout for effective, low-cost ways to get maximum exposure for your business. Whether you are look for more leads, brand recognition, or possibly just more social media followers/fans, this strategy to get business exposure with Facebook should work for you.

Read more…

 

• An analysis of Norm Schultz – We need the horsepower of the RV industry 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50One of our industry friends sent in the article that follows below, with this single line message above their signature/contact info: Everyone thinks an image campaign like the GoRVing is a great idea.

Read more…

 

• Green Home Marketing is a Challenge

by Steven Lefler

steve-lefler-vp-modular-lifestyles-newport-pacific-manufactured-homes-mhpronews-com-50x50=I do not know about you, but I find marketing green homes to be a challenge. The public reads or watches TV shows about these unique homes and would like to see one.

Read more…

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION


• The best day of your life

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-50Too often we get stuck in the negatives in life and fail to remember those special days, events or weeks and even years that bring a smile to our face and a warm glow to our heart.

Read more…

 

• ZigOn Cheating

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglar-50With schools welcoming children back from the summer break, the following message is particularly timely. The good news is that whatever we have learned we can also unlearn . . . . That’s important because, unfortunately, many people have learned some things that desperately need unlearning.

Read more…

 

 SALES


• An Alternate Approach to The High Cost Of Low Volume Sales, or Why Doing Manufactured Housing Correctly Pays 

by Ron D’Ambra

ron-d-ambra-professional-warranty-service-corp-posted-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-50x50_1After reading Tony’s article on this subject, I was prompted to recall my retail experience, which would forever change my attitude towards a “retailer,” and his or her responsibility to maintain the integrity of our industry.

Read more…

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


Literally Historic Changes are In Process In Manufactured Housing

September 27th, 2014 No comments

Sources tell MHProNews there are visible and not-yet-visible changes in process that relate to activities in Arlington, DC and manufactured housing in general.

1) Potentially billions from capital investors continues to pursue manufactured housing communities (MHCs), that’s not new. But what may become public knowledge in the next few months – that would signal a tidal shift among factory builders – are deep pocket investors who can tilt the landscape as dramatically as Berkshire-Hathaway did roughly a decade ago.

Structured agreements and/or

  • outright purchases,

  • significant orders,

  • marketing,

  • enhanced professionalism on the front lines and

more are elements described in the mix.

2) Changes known and not yet revealed in Arlington, DC and beyond by or around the new year could – in relation to the above – see a shift in how power is perceived in the MH association world.

3) Another kind of revolution is also underway…

u-s-dime-10c-coin-front-back-wikicommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhmsm-com-

…and it started in part because of events allegedly triggered by so-called ‘disloyal opposition’ forces (revolt? – note, of course, they don’t see themselves that way) within an industry association.

4) Take note! Non-profits are going to make themselves increasingly felt in MH. For those who may not yet appreciate all that these organizations bring to the table, think: billions and millions. Millions in their audience reach – including the politicos of DC, states, etc. – and billions that the foundations and others who love them are capable of applying to MH related causes.

On all of the above, “Stay tuned.” Those living will see.

What can all this mean to you?

5) Public and private firms will likely be impacted by what we are being told – and common sense suggests – would follow the weather forecast above.

6) As we have a number of good sources on these matters, we think it prudent to now signal the attentive ones in MH.

This is the time for smart players to advance their own cause, individually or in concert with others. Be prepared! Because should these sources proves true (and since much of this is already known, the only question is the visibility date), the value of your business  and career  for those forward thinkers planning advancement should be expected to rise in the foreseeable term.

Hint. Remember those MH buy outs in the late 1990s?

deep-pocket-residence-wc-semi-visible-from-trees-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

A “deep pockets” residence.

When approached, smile and be reasonable, but don’t get greedy. These deep pocket players won’t overpay as happened in the past.  They can always turn to others. Some are even exploring new ground-ups!

bee-attracted-to-flower-wikicommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhmsm-com-

7) Aggregation has been taking place. New kinds of consolidation and synergistic efforts, resulting in power shifts, are allegedly close at hand.

Factory-built housing is the future. Smart money is increasingly aware of that; they aren’t just thinking “low end” (entry level) either!  Sadly, in some cases, they may better understand MH’s opportunities than those now in the MH ranks.  

Those stuck in status-quo-thinking or backward-looking behavior will wake up oneday with surprises.

Programming note

The 5th Anniversary of MHProNews issue is going live on the home page next week (Oct 1-2). Thanks for the many kind calls, messages and quotable comments.

We treasure the opportunity to serve manufactured housing through publishing and our client work. Our sincere thanks to all who – in word and deed – make this resource and our sister site possible. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By LATonyKovach.com

(Image credits: WikiCommons or MHProNews)

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com
tony@mhmsm.com
863-213-4090
 


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