Terrorists, Politics and Manufactured Housing

November 14th, 2015 No comments

The apparent Muslim terrorists who struck Paris are the visible consequence of a variety of festering factors.  Pre-attack anti-immigration sentiment has been rising in Europe and here in the U.S.. Don’t be surprised if that sentiment spikes in France and elsewhere after this terror event. Any who thinks the mass killings in the French capitol won’t effect politics here in the U.S. are missing elements of the big picture.

We naturally mourn those who suffered and died. In the midst of that, one must not become paralyzed. Like you, I recall the eerie lack of air traffic in the hours after our 9/11.  The economy took a hit then…and now?

Islamic extremists are not bound by the PC (politically correct) conventions of the West. Significant numbers of Muslims believe they’re called upon to subvert, conquer, convert or kill those who don’t follow their understanding of the ‘prophet Mohamed.’ 

For those who want to kill or rape, there is an attraction to their jihad on those levels, along side of any ‘religiously’ motivated thinking.

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Original image credit, WIkiCommons. Poster credit – MHProNews © 2015, all rights reserved.

History’s lessons are clear. Aggressors must be stopped. One doesn’t appease aggression, that only fosters the bully’s or a rouge regime’s attacks. If the Western response is to sit back and wait, the militant Islamists will keep coming. Beyond military/law enforcement type actions, we better become more committed to converting them as they are to conquer, kill and convert us.

Talk, pin pricks and drone strikes alone won’t stop the zealots. 

We’re an industry trade publication, not a world affairs corner. So let’s segue with a parallel from the tragic lessons of current events and past history and apply them to our industry and profession. 

MH’s 9/11

There are areas of life we can compromise in, and not suffer. You might like more salt and pepper, your spouse or other loved one likes less. No problem, acceptance or compromise are easily done among reasonable people.

By contrast, there are arenas that are literal life and death (eg: health, crime, terror); still others that are economically or politically limiting, crippling or that can become professional life and death. Just ask a coal miner if government mandates have impacted his work in the last few years. Ask those who wanted Keystone what they think about Big Brother’s stopping they’re plan, in favor of riskier rail transit of that same heavy oil.

So MH is not alone in being harmed by the policies of the federal government.  

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Dr. Lesli Gooch, MHI.

The Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Dr. Lesli Gooch recently reminded an audience that the Duty to Serve (DTS) was passed as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA 2008). 7 years later, we now ‘hope’ that the reluctant GSEs will be prodded into supporting chattel lending, to fulfill their Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.

For the next few moments, we’ll keep the following a generalization; this is not about DTS per se. This can easily include fire sprinklers, energy or other desired-by-others mandates.

In struggling for the rights of MH home owners, home buyers and professionals, we must not fail to see that you can compromise yourself into a corner. You don’t negotiate with jihadis, and some MH Pros say there is only so much negotiating you can do with public officials before you harm your own industry’s interests.

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The video interview with Marty Lavin, an important video to share with policy advocates, public officials, local media and of course MH Pros.

When the economic collapse of 2008 took place, Manufactured Housing took it on the chin for the 3rd time in a decade. The first bust that began after the peak of 1998, that one was on the industry’s own. But as Marty Lavin and others have said, the industry cleaned up that act. We didn’t need to wait for regulators to do it for us. The market punished, the industry responded. That’s how its supposed to work in the U.S.A..

The other two big hits on MH? A case can be made that federal policies harmed our industry in a variety of fashions.

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There are those who agree with the Masthead position that MH ought to be doing half-a-million a year in annual shipments. Why are we struggling along with sub-100,000 shipments?

But unlike America after 9/11, which galvanized the public in the wake of terror attacks; MHVille failed to truly pull together when we experienced our industry’s ‘9/11’ in 2008.  The result is reflected in facts shown in the chart above.

Without a vision, the people perish (cf: Prvbs 29:18).

The Proper Role of Government?

An essential role of government is defense of a nation. There is also the internal security against crime or threats from incidents such as fire. Water, sewer, trash and roads can be and is done privately, as many MHC owners know. But in a populous area, those utility and infrastructure items are commonly delegated to government. Legal and judicial processes are in the public authority’s domain. 

Talk to a strict Constitutional constructionist, and they’ll tell you that the federal government has long blown past its designated limits. Let’s stop and think!

We freeborn Americans are begging the CFPB – ‘our government’ – to give us a break. We’re asking Congress to force the CFPB’s hand by passing a law – The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which HR 650 passed last spring, and S 682 is currently attached to the appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate. The irony is that the Dodd-Frank Act already allows the CFPB to do on its own what HR 650/S 682 would compel it to do.

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Jess Maxcy, President, CMHI. Quoted in the Hill Blog, see this link for a strong case for passage of HR 650, S 682.

There should be outrage among MH pros and home owners alike on this issue. When enough outrage is vented to Congress and CFPB, then we will see the needed change. Period.

We’re close. Let’s not let it slip away, because this battle will be decided in the next few weeks.

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You can call your Congressmen or Senator via the contact information found on the link here, and ask them to support passage of HR 650 and S 682 as part of the current appropriations bill. Image credit, ContacttheCongress.org

Beyond the Current Issues – Root Causes

Yes, we ought to work for that bill’s passage, which the Masthead supports. But let’s also look beyond that to the root causes, so we don’t keep fighting these multi-year battles forever!

The reason the Founding Fathers divided the powers of the federal government – and left so many matters ‘to the state and to the People’ – was precisely to avoid the kind of government overreach we’re seeing today.

That overreach is done by officials who may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from those they regulate, and fail to understand. That overreach by public officials can be so costly, that it restricts and kills off business.

So as a consequence, we are seeing more businesses of all kinds fail today than start up. Small business is normally the largest driver of employment. MH retailers, communities and even factories are by definition, among those small businesses.

Here we are in an affordable housing crisis, and the CFPB and their allies are making it hard for American’s most affordable form of green, appealing quality ownership to thrive to serve those market needs.

Do you see the domino effect of government getting too big, too powerful, and is often unaccountable for the impact of its actions?

What does it harm Richard Cordray in his palatial new CFPB offices, when his policies harm those MH home owners and businesses through the CFPB’s regulations?

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Richard Cordray, CFPB. American Thinker reported in 2014 that the cost per square foot to update the CFPB’s rented office space was $590 per square foot. How does that spending help consumer protection? Photo credit, Bloomberg News.

So-called liberals in fact are imposing their will on others! War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” What those slogans from George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 reminds us is that we are living in that Topsy-Turvey Big Brother world in America today.

Listening…

Lesli Gooch has said that MHI is there to listen. It’s there to be our national voice.

Okay, let’s take that at face value. The time is now for there to be a serious effort to pull together all the various elements of manufactured housing.

Sure, we want to see HR 650/S 682 pass and get signed into law. Yes, DTS would be nice to have – even if it only adds a similar number of loans annually as FHA Title I currently yields, as some experts are telling us to expect.

But if we are to become truly effective in DC and beyond, we must mobilize far more of the MH Pros and MH homeowners than we currently have been doing.

Further, there needs to be sensitivity to the interests of independents, such as the manufacturers represented by MHARR. The only times MH has truly advanced in DC is when MHI and MHARR have worked together.

M Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.

M Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.

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Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, a 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.

Shouldn’t that be a historic lesson we should heed?

It is in that context that the wildly popular Another Cup of Coffee with… Don Glisson Jr. should be read. Don understands the vital need for bringing independents into the broader discussion. We and others applaud Don for speaking out on such important topics.  At the recent MHI/NCC event, we heard lots of positive feedback on that topic and others in our current November issue of MHProNews featured articles.

Root Causes and End Games

At the root of our industry’s problems are a few basics. Among them, these 3…

  • Government over-reach at all levels, that keep Americans from doing what we were once freely allowed to do. That suggests we should align ourselves with others who want to see government be leaner and less inclined to the crony capitalism that plays favorites and thus picks winners and losers in the marketplace.
  • MHEducation. I will point back to James McGee and Chet Murphree’s fine point (near the end of the video, linked here), that can be
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    Ron Thomas Sr., MMHF Chairman, RV MH Hall of Fame.

    summed up as education. MHPros and the public at large need different types of education, but that education is necessary. Ron Thomas Sr. said there is a hunger to know, especially among MH independents. That too is a call for MH Education. The government won’t do it, people like you and me must. We’re doing our part. Are you doing yours?

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A recent educational video by MHLivingNews, is linked here.

  • Working for the common good. I’m not talking a Utopian, Pollyanna dream-world where we all get along perfectly. That’s not in the cards for a fallen humanity. But we are able to work with each other in respectful, common-sense and productive ways, and thus advance all segments of the MH Industry – naturally including the interests of some 8.8 million MH homes, and the 20+ million living in them.

There is talk of new structures at MHI, perhaps signaled in part by an effort to get more retailers and communities into the mix. Frankly, there is more change than that needed, and that too is being quietly discussed.

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See the position proposal, Reinventing HUDs Role…, linked here.

One of the strongest takeaways from the recent MHI National Communities Council (NCC) event in Chicago was made in the hallway by a seasoned industry veteran, who (paraphrasing) said, The interests of MH homeowners and businesses are naturally aligned. Those alignment needs to become ever more a reality.

When the phenomenal value proposition that MH represents is better understood and appreciated, our industry’s challenges will slowly melt away. Unlike the war on terror, our conflict can be bloodless. Ours is an effort to win minds and hearts over, to get people to act, instead of griping and moaning or being apathetic…

…on second thought, maybe our war isn’t completely different than the war in terror after all? We must win the military battles to stop aggressors, but we must also win over minds and hearts of those terrorists and other foes, or we’ll be fighting that war far beyond Paris for generations to come.

Let Freedom Ring! ##

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“Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” Inscribed on the U.S. Liberty Bell, from Leviticus 25:10. Image credit, SodaHead.

(Editor’s note to regular readers: our plan to cover a Sam Zell related topic has been postponed, to do the timely article above.)

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC.

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
 


The Latest Unraveled MH Deal, GSE’s Bucking Too

November 11th, 2015 No comments

It’s axiomatic that you and anyone else will see various things differently. Of course you will. Even twins have differences.

So when there is a string of attempted deals for a group of MHCs, and one after another unravels, one must ask, why?

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Frank Rolfe, right, Dave Reynolds, left.

Frank Rolfe and his associates’ alleged efforts to do a big deal covering dozens of MHCs were covered by an NDA, so he is not free to talk about this now reportedly ‘off’ deal. Is it a negotiating tactic? Something else?

Regardless, our source tells us that the MHC deal that could have involved dozens of properties is not going to happen now.

We’ve heard another interested party for that group of MHCs is waiting in the wings. Again, one must ask, tactic? Real?

Whatever the intent of the parties, the reality is that for some years, one suitor after another is said to have danced up to the seller’s line, looked around, and then danced away…

We’ll keep our eyes and ears open, please do be same.

A ‘deal’ that’s No Secret

We’ve said before there is not much enthusiasm by the GSEs to do their legally mandated Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing. They want to have loans on MHCs count towards their DTS goals. We’ll do a story that confirms the point that the GSE’s are cool on doing DTS the way the industry wants to see it done.  As a side-note, without comment, we’ll merely not a recent column by MHARR suggesting that effort is potentially being undercut by parties within the MH Industry.

The reality is that the current MH personal property or ‘chattel loan’ lenders are successful at what they do. That’s in spite of the negative impacts of CFPB regulations we’ve shared numerous reports on (for example, see link below). It makes one wonder, of the GSEs see that other MH lenders are successful, why don’t they come into our space?

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MH lending expert, Marty Lavin, JD –  is featured in an important video to share with policy advocates, public officials, l0cal media and of course MH Pros.

Then ask yourself; is Marty Lavin correct? Is there still an overhang from the late 90s impacting MH and more potential lenders? Keep in mind, Marty was tight with Fannie for years. Would it be a huge surprise if he has a keen insight on their historic take on this matter?

Education!

James McGee and Chet Murphree at Dee Valley Homebuilders have said that the key to MH advancement is education (see them among others in the video on the page, linked here.. The more I’ve pondered Chet and James’ phrasing, the more I like it. “Education” covers more than “image campaign” does.

Look carefully. Peel back almost any issue that you see MH is getting the short end of the stick on. Look at DTS. Look at installations/ placement or zoning. Look at…any regulatory matter. Each involves education, or a lack of proper education, about the modern MH realities!

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We’ll keep it brief today, because the plan for this weekend is likely to be anything but brief.

Hint. The plan is to look at Sam Zell, and more.

Until then, let me leave you with an 11 letter summary of the key need identified, today’s takeaway from here on the Masthead.”MH Education.” ##

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon-

L. A. “Tony” Kovach questioning NY SAA team during New York Housing Association meeting. Photo Credit, Mark Simon, Dirty Jerz Images.

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
 


Chinese MODs to U.S., Europe? Threat or Opportunity for MH Builders?

November 8th, 2015 No comments

Once again, we’ve been contacted by a Chinese firm, exploring the U.S. and North American market.

Published reports and input from other sources both suggest that China’s industrialized builders ship their idea of modular units to some 80 different nations. Most every continent, save Antarctica, has seen Chinese housing plays; many include ‘industrialized housing,’ as we’ve reported previously in our Daily Business News department of MHProNews.

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This is just one of many styles of modular housing that China is shipping to some 80 nations globally. Container and other kinds of pre-fab housing are pouring from Chinese housing factories, its a market worth tens of billions and is growing.  This is both a threat to domestic U.S. housing, but also is a wake-up call to American factory home builders and savvy investors who want to make this work for U.S. and North American companies.

Muslim Refugee ‘Invasion’ of Europe fuels interest in factory-built homes

Areas of Europe impacted by the surge in refugees from Islamic nations rocked by war and violence are creating a growing interest in factory-built homes overseas. This is reflected in our site statistics, which senses (detects) the nation of origin.

So while some 95% (+/-) of our traffic is and has been domestic, the fluctuations of where that international website traffic comes from is interesting to monitor.

Before the shakeup earlier this year of Chinese markets, traffic from that nation was often a larger slice of that international traffic pie.

Other lands where investment dollars were plentiful also tended to be higher in our international readers.

With oil prices down, and China rattled some by its stock market slide, traffic from lands that benefit from oil or the Asian giant have slid.

However, now there is more traffic from counties hungry for affordable housing.

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Does this Chinese prefab make you think U.S. single section manufactured housing? Which looks better, – theirs or domestic U.S. HUD Code product?  Let’s not let American opportunities – as well as those overseas – slip through U.S. factory builder’s fingers.

It seems the U.S. ought to be a player internationally. But all too often, America is not as active in the business of solving the global hunger for factory-built homes.

Which brings us back to the domestic U.S. housing scene.

Hawaii and other higher priced housing markets

Facts are facts, so let’s not oversimplify. We’re seeing higher readership on articles relating to Hawaiian manufactured or modular home news reports. Ditto some other markets in the mainland 48 states.

Affordable housing is a big issue in every state of the land. Bloomberg recently cited the fact that first time home buyers have hit a 28 year low here in the U.S.. that our Matthew Silver reported on in the Daily Business News. This at a time when rents are rising, and incomes for most Americans are flat or falling.

Tim Williams – MHI’s new Chair – said it, the historic conditions for an even stronger rise in MH shipments are ripe.  See the graphics he provided us, below.

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The two panels above and below are courtesty of MHI’s new Chairman, Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage CEO.

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Arrows and commentary in red from the Masthead blog, MHProNews.com.

The next chart below tells a different part of the painful tale of the big bite taken out of the budgets of so many Americans for housing.

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The ligther colored states reflect 70 hours or less needed at mimum wage to afford to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in that market. While tragic, this represents an opportunity in disguise for MH. ELS’ Chairman Sam Zell said as much 2 years ago. Graphic Credit – National Low Income Housing Initiative.

These are some of the reasons why Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling invitation for plans to reform HUD and address the causes of poverty are so important.

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NanoTech picked this story up as “technology news,” meaning for them, how the ‘technology’ of factory built housing could help solve the affordable housing and poverty crisis in America. Over 1100+ news, media, RSS, specialty websites and social media posts have appeared online within 48 hours of our press release. There is a hunger and interest on this topic!  Will more in MH catch the wave? Screen capture from NanoTechNews, original photo credit, Sunshine Homes, Red Bay AL.

The CBO study cited in my report to Chairman Hensarling on a concept to reform HUD speaks volumes for the opportunities in the U.S. to move the needle for MH.  Serious researchers should check that report out, linked now from over 1100 sites and is found in the proposal, linked here.

So far, in about 48 hours, over 1,000 sites has picked up our media release on the report shown.

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Screen capture – credit – Google. Text credit, MHProNews.

Analysis and advocacy often can go hand in glove. Please see the Cutting Edge blog report on the traction being found in mainstream media from award winning journalist, Jan Hollingsworth’s report on fires, safety and MH.

Then imagine what it could be like if every week, many times a week, good news stories about MH were hitting the news and social media, from coast to coast.

There are companies in MH, typically publicly traded ones, that routinely do press releases.  Those are often treated as what they are, business news.  While important and valuable, their focus is narrow.

What we’re doing on MHLivingNews.com – reflected in the examples above – is broader, more general industry focused.  Yes, it will benefit individual firms.  But its news, and as a pro-industry trade publisher, designed to educate and raise the image of the MH Industry at large.

Trade publishing is quite rightly treated differently by others in media, researchers and special interest groups than a business report or an association report.  Each has value.  But our efforts are candidly filling a role that no one else in MH trade publishing is filling. 

A positive MH Image and solid, fact-based education supports every other good effort in manufactured housing.

Let’s tie this once more into the headline, and call it a session.

Change most commonly happens for one of two reasons; the carrot or the stick.  We frail mortals change:

(a) because we’re forced to change, because of some threat (Chinese mods in the U.S., you better believe we best secure our market now.  Think about what happened when Japanese and then Korean automakers hit America’s shores in numbers); or

(b) because of some opportunity that is crying to be tapped.

We have both threats and opportunities for MH.  The time for positive, profitable change is NOW.  The time to define ourselves and take our rightful place in the U.S. – and international – housing markets is NOW.

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The time for defining (and redefining) ourselves in the marketplace is now. What we’re doing on MHLivingNews.com is the start.  Its scalable.  It is already getting results. Graphic credit, OpenSourceway and FlickrCreativeCommons

We could be shipping more factory-built homes in the U.S., and overseas too.

Nature abhors a vacuum. If good U.S. Companies don’t do this, you should not be surprised when China, Japan or others step in and fill that vacuum in Europe and the U.S., as they already are in Africa, Asia and Latin America. ##

SoheylaTamasTonyKovachFamily-MastheadMHProNews-com-

Team Kovach – (l-r) Soheyla (prounounced So Hey La), Tamas (pronounced Tah Mash) and L. A. “Tony” Kovach (prounounced Co-Vatch like Watch) – is heading to Chicago, MS and AL among the stops on our next Inside MH Road Show.  Photo above, credit, from 83 Degress Media.

 

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
 


Confronting MH’s Cold, Hard, Brutal Facts

November 5th, 2015 No comments

Facts are always better than dreams. Facts provide accurate perspective of your current reality. A leader absolutely cannot make a series of good decisions without first confronting the brutal facts!”

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(Photo credit, WikiCommons. Poster Credit, MHProNews.com ©  .)

Mark Cundiff – Learning to Lead – provides a synthesis of what Jim Collins and his team of university-level researchers published in the acclaimed business-book, “Good to Great.”

Here’s part of what Cundiff shared:

Leadership does not begin with just a vision. It begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and act on the implications.

The real question is ‘How do you manage in such a way as to not demotivate people. And one of the single most demotivating actions you can do is to hold out false hopes, soon to be swept away by events.

Spending time and energy trying to ‘motivate’ people is a waste of time and effort. The right people will be motivated – the key is not to ‘de-motivate’ them. One of the primary ways to de-motivate people is to ignore the brutal facts of reality.

How do you create an environment where truth is heard?

Four basic practices so people can be heard

  1. Lead with questions not answers. To gain understanding, not as manipulation or as a way to blame or put down others.
  • What’s on your mind?
  • Can you help me understand?
  • What should we be worried about?
  1. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.
  1. Conduct autopsies, without blame.

This should only be to search for understanding and learning.

Not just better information, but better information that cannot be ignored

  1. Build ‘red flag’ mechanisms.

Having unwavering faith while confronting brutal facts!

3 Categories of people who had suffered serious adversity

  • Those who became permanently dispirited by the event.
  • Those who got their life back to normal.
  • Those who used the experience as a defining event to make them stronger.

This is called the hardiness factor.

People act most while on the edge of a precipice.

The Stockdale Paradox

Leaders must never confuse having faith that you will prevail in the end (which you can never lose) with the discipline to conform.

Leaders must retain faith that you will prevail in the end AND at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.

The key elements of greatness are deceptively simple and straightforward. The good to great leaders were able to strip away much of the noise and clutter allowing the organization to just focus on the few key things that would have the greatest impact.”

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(Photo credit, FoxNews. Poster Credit, MHProNews.com ©.)

Reviewing Nettlesome November’s hot Association topic

There are – and always will be – those who fail to understand why truth matters.

Some truths are exhilarating, while others are painful.  When pain exists in the body, it’s a sign something’s wrong. Ignore the pain at your own risk.

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When pain is ignored in an organization or industry, that pain is ignored at the risk or cost of what otherwise could be great accomplishments.

All clients and thousands of regular readers of the Masthead and my other articles know, we are pro-MH in a big way.  MHProNews and MHLivingNews.com are living proof of our team’s strong desire to advance MH. We routinely spotlight Opportunities. We must also candidly share threats and challenges. That’s how you confront the cold, hard, brutal facts.

What the Jim Collins Good to Great principles noted above underscore is that solutions call for reality checks.

Back to Cundiff’s summary, three more thought provokers:

  • “Charismatic leaders can actually impede the confronting of the brutal facts due to the power of their personality casting a large shadow over the organization.
  • Once leaders allows themselves to become the primary reality people worry about rather than the actual reality being the primary reality, you have a recipe for mediocrity, or perhaps even worse.
  • In order to combat this tendency Winston Churchill created a Statistical Office, with the primary function of feeding him continuously and completely unfiltered the most brutal facts of reality.”

Some are upset when we spotlight reality, which we are doing this month by quoting others, real MHPros. The Jim Collins study demonstrates that not confronting reality is an error in thinking.  Or as RV MH Hall of Famer Jim Clayton put it, you have to have data – the cold, hard facts – in order to make good decisions.

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(Photo and poster credit MHProNews.com ©.)

You advance precisely by understanding – and then fixing – what is.

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Please answer this question: who in MH Trade Publishing has done the most in recent years to promote within the industry and to the general public a more positive understanding or vision of MH?  Or who has shared more pro-association articles, including those about MHI or MHARR?

Perspective. Reality Checks. We must tap into positive energy while confronting the negative energy that exists.  That’s how you get real POWER!

It is only be shining the light on the cold, hard facts that we’ll break out of mediocrity and rise to the greatness MH deserves.

You can see the read-hot, quote-laced Masthead blog and 10 linked articles on the association topic, along with the even hotter Don Glisson Jr exclusive interview among the 22 total new Featured Articles, linked here. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##

SunshineHomesRedBayALsingle-sectional--manufactured-home-show-SunshineHome--manufacturedhomelivingnews-com-HUDreport575x334l

(2 Programing Notes – A) There will be a fresh topic in this weekend’s Masthead Blog.  B) Click the image above for a message to Congress about HUD).

l.a.'tony'kovach-us-supreme-court-washington-dc-mhpronews-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
 


Nettlesome November – Egos, Associations, Media and an Overly Sensitive Industry?

November 1st, 2015 No comments

Manufactured housing is awash in documented opportunities. Yet we are advancing at only a snail’s pace. Why?

This Nettlesome November 2015, we’ll explore what some people think is part of the problem, while ironically others see the same thing as a key part of the solution.

Associations – perhaps most notably MHI – draws considerable flack, from within and without. As disclosure, we’re association members ourselves, and believe in associations. As independent trade journalists, we must explore each side of the issues involved. Fair and balanced, “We Provide, You Decide.”  ©

mhpronews-mharr-mhi-associations-graphic-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management

On the Record (OnTR)

Another Cup of Coffee with...Don Glisson Jr., sheds light on this topic from a powerful voice inside MH. Don admits in the interview that some will be upset by his comments. We applaud his candor. That exclusive interview is linked below.

We published a read-hot interview with Frank Rolfe, who has been on the MHI/NCC stage more than once. Yet Frank took dead aim at them, see link here, and isn’t a member. We were widely praised for sharing that interview unedited.

We’ll look at this nettlesome topic broadly, noting that we’re publishing some 10 articles on associations this month, including 3 from MHI, 2 of which we invited from them.  That needs to be emphasized, so there is no misunderstanding about the objective and fair approach we are striving for in this column on this highly controversial issue!

NettlesomeNovember2015IssueMHProNews-com-

Off the Record (OffTR)

While some will speak up, others are smiling while gripping at lunch, dinner, the coffee shop, meeting halls or the bar.

Quoting OffTRs:

  • It’s a big boys club, independents are invited, but have no effective voice.”

 

  • The reason MHARR exists is because MHI tilts towards larger firms and their interests.”

 

  • I was in the (MHI) office, and heard how they handled a telephone inquiry by a researcher. It was shocking when they said, ‘We don’t keep those kinds of statistics, so you may want to try a Google search.'”

 

  • Dealing with (person at MHI) made me think, you arrogant ——-. You’d never know they faced bankruptcy not that many years ago, and would have tanked had a rich member not bailed them out.”

 

  • I’ve served on committees for years, and one day, they just tossed me aside like all that work meant nothing to them.

 

  • Anyone that follows some of the attacks on the industry in the mainstream media last spring noticed that news reported MHI as an arm of the larger players. Until that perception changes, no amount of PR they do will be worth a d—.”

 

  • There are terrific people at MHI, and then there are some that kiss the — of the big guys, while acting like they are God Almighty with other members. Two-faced.”

 

  • It’s a revolving-door culture there.”

 

  • I warned leadership about the SAFE Act in HERA 2008. They were so focused on DTS, they privately and later publicly admitted they did not see the SAFE Act’s impact on MH coming.”

Don’t shoot the messenger.

Does-Truth-Matter-To-the-extent-we-allign-ourselves-with-the-truth, we thrive-to-the-extend-we-deny-it-we-suffer-dr-keith-ablow-photo-fox-poster-credit-MHProNews-com-

Please note that none of these OffTR quotes above are from the open or avowed enemies of MHI.

Those openly or slyly hostile voices in MHVille have their own (smaller) vehicles and tools, which they use for tagging MHI, and Don Glisson’s point in his interview on those enemies using attacks on MHI to recruit for themselves and their own business interests is worthy of a close look.

Strong Examples of The Defense and Advocacy

I think one of the strongest defenses of MHI comes from their honest, fair minded critics. They are members, and they are hanging in there, or are even more active than before. Why? Because they see the importance and value.  MHI is very close on key issues, as articles below by Lesli Gooch clearly state.

FYI, my take on the topic is linked among the featured articles, found below. I’m in the association, and plan to say. As I’m writing this, a message came in about my article linked below on the topic, that OffTR comment read as follows:

Well done, most will understand, the ones who don’t are the problem already.”

You’ll see why as an independent we’re in MHI, go to 8-12 national, state or regional association meetings a year, and plan to stay engaged.

If you read all the association-focused articles this month, found linked below, you may come to a similar conclusion that I have. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Side note…there is not much negative commentary coming of late about MHARR. Let me rephrase that, the negatives tend to come from those in the other camp. Within MHARR, it has been pretty quiet this year. Note too that MHI’s new chairman has signled and/or started initiatives that could well correct the complaints that are shared above.

We’ll keep an eye on all of this for our readers, of course. If my opinion changes, you’ll know, but my thoughts and reasoning reflected in my own article on this big topics stands, please do read it.

MHEC-logo-ManufacturedHousingExecutivesCouncil-postedMHProNews600x204-com-

State and Community Executives are once more getting the positive attention and credit that their work so richly deserves. While national associations meet with DC based regulators, policy advocates, Congressional staff or members, its the state and community associations and their members who are the “boots on the ground” that makes it all happen. Ideally, each serves a vital role. National and state associations are best when they work in tandem.

Pivoting to State Associations

State associations have their critics too. Let me share some OffTR comments from execs, below, as to what they hear, and what they say. These too are honest, and accurately reflect what we also hear, and are thus a key part of the conversation on this topic.

We asked state association execs to comment, some did via articles you’ll see linked below, others elected to comment OffTR. To one exec, we sent the following questions, and you’ll see the reply.

What are the common objections you’ve heard to association membership? “Selected few don’t see the benefits.”

What are the reasons those in give when they quit, leave? “Cutting back or not in the – (name of the state) – market anymore.”

Another exec sounded off in more detail, here are those comments, with only the ‘tells’ that would give away who the writers is, edited.

Thanks. It is hard to show value to people who won’t give us an opportunity to see the obvious value. I don’t understand how those outside the associations navigate the laws, rules and regulations; and would you want someone else (the association) determining the future of your livelihood without your input? Not me, I can assure you. That last point to me is so obvious I cannot believe everyone is not involved and clamoring to be a board member.

Let me ask anyone who is not in an association or who isn’t active, to carefully consider those words!

They are powerful. So too are the examples of how MHI, MHARR and state associations are leading the way on a variety of issues and are providing opportunities for people to protect and grow their businesses. The examples from every association that shared columns this month is worthy of a good, close read.

Here’s another set of OffTR comments from a state exec. Keep in mind the questions put to executives, shown above.

The one guy who did quit as a retailer was still getting paper and told me I was not sending him enough paper. When he finally did join the electronic era, he never signed up and never gave me a reason.

One other guy said he was so marginal he only sold one or two homes and year and did not find it worth his while.

Maybe a fourth of those licensed as retailers in (name of state edited out), all independents of marginal size (or so I estimate), are impervious to all suggestions and attempts to get them to join and never respond. Let me give you examples.

Our membership is $— for a retailer and $— a floor. I offered each instate independent a free registration to come to the convention ($—), so I offer them a membership for $— and they can come to the convention for nothing. Not one response.

But here is the bigger kicker. Our dues are $— a year for communities (no matter how large) and $— for contractors.

So to try to induce them, I tell them if they will submit a $— membership check to me (no pain, no gain, I think), then I will give them a free registration ($—) to the convention (where everything but their room is covered for two days). So I write and tell them I am going to PAY them $25 to join the association.

Know how many joined or even responded? I can’t get them to join when I’m PAYING them. You have it.

The one fairly good size independent retailer who will not join had problems with the previous management and people who ran the association, so for that reason, he won’t join. No sense in talking with a turnip.

I say the contractors will never join the association, until the manufacturers or retailers pressure them someway, or just say the contractor should bill them whatever the membership fee is on the first invoice and that payment goes to us and we enroll them.

It is really crazy. The lack of feedback from anyone is mind-boggling. I ran a story in my latest newsletter about MHI efforts to get retailers to join directly by cutting the fees as an inducement. I’m going to be curious if anyone responds.”

We could share more such commentary, but they are akin to what you see in the above.  My thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to reply.

  • Do you see why this is an important topic?
  • Do you see why shredding light on this critical issue, while briefly painful to some, is utterly necessary if positive change is to occur?
  • Do you see why we say, some of this revolves around egos?

But other factors are truly a matter of false perception or the wrong attitude about association membership. You’ll see why, in my commentary on associations, linked below.

The Full, Robust November Line Up!

All told, we have a whopping 22 Featured Articles on our home page this month. You’ll see those by category and author, all linked below.

But let me take a few moments to draw your attention to all of the various features on MHProNews, that’s available 24/7/365. It’s amazing to note that our site statistics clearly show we have a 24 hour a day audience. There are plenty of readers in the middle of the night, as well as all hours of the day. Our sheer breadth and depth is why, according to those who read and know.  Thousands flock here to the Masthead many times weekly.  

But far more dive deeply in to MHProNews, which will have more readers in the next one to two days than attends 9 days of the top three MH industry events.  That speaks volumes.  The average visitor reads over 10 pages per visit. Amazing!

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DailyBusinessNewsBriefs-MHProNews-com-

The industry’s first and still only Daily Business News…and market reports.

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Letters to the Editor, OpEd. guest columns from Industry Pros and Aficiandoes.

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Paid, Corporate Press Releases and/or releases from approved non-profit groups, etc..  These are often among our top reads, tens of thousands of hits monthly in this one module.

IndustryInFocusReports-

Industry in Focus are often special, in depth reports on a wide range of topics, these may also be guest columns of particular note.

CuttingEdgeMarketingSaleBlog-MHProNews-com-

The Cutting Edge of MH Marketing and Sales blog. This usually features commentary on marketing, sales, image, public relations and similar topics.

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Classifieds – like our Corporate Press Releases – are among the hottest reads, many have great SEO and thus attract thousands of hits monthly.

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The Manufactured Housing for Regulatory Reform news module. Virtually all MHARR news releases for the past 5 years are found here. This is routinely updated, as MHARR releases news.

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Words of Wisdom are a periodic thought provoking, inspiration and practical advice column.

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Anyone can submit an INspiration blog post! Again, scores of visitors come here to get their battery recharged, or to dig into a thought provoking video, image or column.

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The industry’s TOP NEWS is found every week, twice weekly, emailed out. Some prefer to come to the blog here, and either way, you get the same great updated content. Thousands flock here every week, because it is ‘the one spot I can scan all the headlines, and see what’s new in a few minutes…’

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Learn the facts about advertising on MHProNews, at this link here or the icon above. Support the best content in the history of factory built housing, according to the largest audience in MH Professional Trade Media history.

With no further adieu, let’s dive into Nettlesome November’s strong line up of featured articles, reports, commentary and more.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 7, No. 2, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

 

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• “A peek behind the curtain…”

by Nadeen Green, JD


nadeen-green-mhpronews-comWhen Dorothy and her friends were able to see behind the curtain of the great and powerful Oz, they found he was not so great and powerful after all.

Read more…

 

• You say “tomato” and I say “tomate”…

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-mhpronews-com…you say “potato” and I say “patata.” If you have ever wondered (as I have and as I have been asked many times as a fair housing teacher) what the difference is between “Latino” and “Hispanic”, I have finally figured it out.

Read more…

 

• How did the Retailing of new HUD Code Manufactured homes diminish? 

by Steven Lefler

steve-lefler-vp-modular-lifestyles-newport-pacific-manufactured-homes-mhpronews-com-50x50= (1)The Retail Dealer network (Manufactured home sales arm of the HUD Code MH Factories) has been reduced in numbers since 2008 due to market conditions, image and the perception of the Mobile home, the MH Communities and its public appeal.

Read more…

 

• How Low Can You Go?

BlairRugh-ChiefComplianceOfficer-Temenos-postedMHProNews-com-50x50-by Blair Rugh
The purpose of HMDA (Regulation C) is twofold.

Read more…

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• A State and National Perspective on the Value Proposition of Association Membership

by Mark Bowersox
mark-bowersox-indiana-manufactured-housing-association-rvic-posted-mhpronews-com50x50-Tony – Thanks for the chance to comment on your upcoming articles about association membership.

Read more…

 

• HUD issues On-Site Manufactured home Completion Rule, Effective 3-7-2016
by Mark Brunner
MarkBrunner-MN-ManufacturedModularHomeAssociation-postedMHProNews-com-50x50HUD recently issued its final home rule establishing a procedure whereby construction of a new manufactured home that is substantially completed in the factory can now be completed at the installation site, rather than in the plant.

Read more…

 

• Court of Appeals Overturns DLI Fire Sprinkler Mandate
by Mark Brunner

MarkBrunner-MN-ManufacturedModularHomeAssociation-postedMHProNews-com-50x50On October 13, 2015, the Minnesota Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the MN Department of Labor and Industry’s MN Chapter 1309, residential fire sprinkler mandate; in part, asserting that DLI failed to meet statutory rulemaking requirements by not presenting the requisite evidence to justify mandating that all new homes greater than 4,500 sf, must include residential fire sprinklers.

Read more…

 

• What Do Manufactured and Modular Housing Associations Do?

by Tyler Craddock
tyler-craddock-executive-director-virginia-manufactured-and-modular-housing-association55x55Factory-built housing associations are sometimes misunderstood and under-appreciated.

Read more…

 

• Another Cup of Coffee with…Don Glisson, Jr.

  1. a-cup-mhmsm-comWho, What and Where: (Your name and your role/job title at Triad Financial Services).

Don Glisson, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Triad Financial Services, Inc.

Read more…

 

• Congressional Budget Deal Paves the Way for Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations Process 

by Lesli Gooch, PhD

LesliGooch-PhD-MHIvicePresident-GovernmentRelations-postedMHProNews50x50-This week Congress and the White House reached a deal on the federal budget, which provides a framework for federal spending legislation for the next two years.

Read more…

 

• MHI Calls for Changes to Federal Manufactured Housing Lending Programs and Regulations to Help Combat Poverty and Promote Housing Affordability

by Lesli Gooch, Ph.D.


LesliGooch-PhD-MHIvicePresident-GovernmentRelations-postedMHProNews50x50-This week, MHI submitted a series of recommendations to the House Financial Services Committee, offering constructive suggestions on how to improve programs and regulations affecting manufactured http://mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/homes. 

Read more…

 

• Top Reasons against and for MH Associations

by Ross Kinzler

ross-kinzler-wisconsin-housing-alliance-executive-director-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50Top 2 reason for not joining or quitting:

Read more…

 

• Deer Valley homebuilders Featured in New Video

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachDeer Valley homebuilders (DVLY) is featured in a popular new video on MHLivingNews.

Read more…

 

• Objection, Your Honor! Sunshine homes and ROC USA jointly Refute the Depreciation Myth 

tony- kovachby L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
There are those who claim that manufactured homes depreciate as soon as they are pulled off the sales center lot.

Read more…

 

• How to Share the story of Today’s Manufactured Housing

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachIf a picture is worth a thousand words, a graphic that captures statistics should speak volumes too.

Read more…

 

• Industry Solutions, Manufactured Housing Associations, MHI and You 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachWe’ll begin by drawing attention to something that in perfect times needs no added spotlight.

Read more…

 

• Manufactured Housing Resource Group (MHRE) – Manufactured home Community (aka ‘mobile http://mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/home park’ Listing! 

by Christopher Nortley


ChristopherNortley-mhreInc-Manangingdirector75x75Property Overview – 
Payne Creek contains 70 sites, which was built in 2000, on 19.74+ acres with a density of 3.54 units per acre.

Read more…

 

 

• The Image Problem, State 2 of Three Stages

by Bob Vahsholtz

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-50x50-All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Attributed to Arthur Schopenhaur.

Read more…

 

• On HUD’S 50th Anniversary MHARR Urges New Efforts To Advance The Purposes And Objectives Of The 2000 Reform Law

by M. Mark Weiss, JD


M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-Washington, D.C., October 27, 2015 – 
In response to an invitation by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to “bring new ideas to the table on how best to fight the problems of poverty and housing affordability” on the 50th anniversary of the legislation that established the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), MHARR has submitted a white paper to Congress

Read more…

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

 

• 3 Wisdom Tips – Emotions, Self-Improvement, Uncertainty 

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comWe’ll look today at Emotions, Self-Improvement and Uncertainty. We’ll define Wisdom is the blending of – information, knowledge, experience, truth, reality, maturity – to achieve dreams, goals, life purpose, inner peace and happiness.

Read more…

 

• ZigOn Drinking Alcohol

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarToday many people are looking for excuses to justify drinking.

Read more…

SALES

 

 

• What does each Vacant Site or Missed MH Sale Cost You?
tony- kovachby L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

MH Companies large, medium and small are all suffering from a similar problem.

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
 


Carlyle Scores plus Mad as Hell – America and MHVille

October 28th, 2015 No comments

Before we dive into our main theme, a note that the Carlyle Group has just announced a $150 million dollar deal. You’ll see this covered in the read-hot Daily Business News blog. So the MHC consolidation trend moves on, and Carlyle increases their footprint in MH.

That said, let’s move onto our main mid-week Masthead blog topic.

Mad as Hell

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In the classic 70s movie, Network, character Howard Beal announces on air that he’s madder than hell, and won’t take it any more. Millions today feel the same. Graphic credits, Soshable and MGM.  Its worth noting that the fictional UBS network in this movie presaged the rise of CNN, Fox News and a host of news and other broadcast and cable networks.

Yahoo Answers has a post which explains that the phase Mad as Hell is “often used to mean the MOST EXTREME ANGER POSSIBLE, as in the movie “Network” where Howard Beal says over and over: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”

In the U.S. and MHVille today, there exists a full spectrum of emotions.  We’ll glance at them all, but Mad as Hell is among them.

home-sales-rising-housing-wire-com-credit-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com- (2)

MH shipments have risen 5 straight years, but we are still but a shadow of production from the early 00s. Growing sales graphic, credit housingwire.

Some in our MH Industry, even during the depth of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, we’re saying how profitable they were. One MHC pro told me then, “TonyI’m working harder than ever before, but I’m also making more money than ever before.”

That’s not unique in the MHC sector, where REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts – eg: ELS, SUN, UMH), mid-to larger companies and savvy independents are doing quite well. But that doesn’t mean that all in the MHC sector are soaring. Many have struggles.

We could say the same about other sectors in the Industry.

For example. With MH Retailers, transporters and installers, it depends on who you talk to and where in the U.S. they are as to whether they are smiling, stressing, successful, struggling, etc..

Ditto associations.  Some associations are on life support, others are okay or are rebounding.  Some managed quite well, even during the depths of the downturn.

AngerbyMalcolmBrownPhotoShopCreative-co-uk-posted-mastheadBlog-MHProNews-

Anger credit by Malcolm Brown, PhotoShopCreative-co-uk-.

MHVille and American Anger

In a narrow sense, professionals in MH  could be said to mirror the greater population. Why are record numbers tuning into these early Republican and Democratic presidential debates? Part of the answer is suggested by polling, which shows that 2 out of 3 (some are as high as 70%) believe the nation is on the wrong course.

So millions are:

  • Feeling the Bern of self-proclaimed socialist, Bernie Sanders, or

  • are rooting for The Donald to Make America Great Again,

  • or are for the surging retired brain surgeon, Dr. Ben Carson;

and so on down the list.

The reason that Speaker of the House John Boehner is exiting is because enough of his fellow Republicans were mad as hell at how he caves into the POTUS Obama Agenda.

There and millions of voters are mad as hell, and like Howard Beal in the movie Network, are not going to take it any more.

Pundits in the spring of 2015 thought insider Jeb Bush was ‘inevitable.’ Now, they’re talking about the very real possibility that Jeb could be toast by the time the South Carolina primary hits next spring.  There are talking heads who think Bush could find a reason to drop out before the primaries start, if his poll numbers don’t rise rapidly.

America isn’t just angry on the right. There is anger on the left too.

While Democrats might be seen as more cohesive than Republicans in recent years, that doesn’t mean there isn’t frustration in their camp. Isn’t it ironic that the Black Lives Matter movement is taking off during the time when the U.S. has its first black president? Isn’t it odd that under this president, we’re seeing more minority unemployment, more on food stamps, more on welfare, more violence in the cities, etc.?

For all the hoopla over the ACA (ObamaCare):

  • premiums are rising,

  • state exchanges are imploding after hundreds of millions in losses,

  • millions are still uninsured.

None of the grand ObamaCare expectations of money saved, promises of keeping your doctor or coverage are being met.  The ACA/ObamaCare has never been popular with the majority of Americans.  Yet we still have it.  How is that democratic?

So of course there is anger, when so many politicos are not even talking about issues like ObamaCare that much.

30-ironwood-justice-il-staircase-up-to-second-level-manufactured-home-living-news-

Affordability is relative! All demographic and income groups are discovering modern manufactured housing. But regulators are often a barrier to more MH sales and greater acceptance.

We won’t tick through all the foreign and domestic policy issues, charges of corruption or mismanagement, that are the cause of the angst and anger on both sides of the political aisle.

Sufficient to say that when most Americans are seeing their incomes fall since 2007, those who are better off are in the minority. There is risk in that reality.  But there are also opportunities…

Ignore the Anger at your Peril or Tap into it for Your Benefit

As an association member and supporter, we hear from those who are not in an association or those who are in, but are not happy.

Some see MH associations in almost political party terms. Establishment members, and the silent majority. Those in associations are seen by many as:

  1. the insiders, who are running the show,
  2. while the independents are marginalized or feel they are shut out.
tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-daily-business-news-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-

Tim Williams, heads up 21st Mortgage and MHI’s newly elected Chairman.

The new MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, has said he wants to see changes to address those concerns. Certainly Don Glisson Jr, during his chairmanship wanted to see changes too.

don-glisson-jr-triad-financial-new-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-

Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, an award winning, 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.

The Next Move?

The correct moves might tap that energy that currently lies beyond any given association’s membership.

But it will take a real effort to bring professionals into associations who either don’t see the value of feel they are voiceless.

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

m_mark_weiss_manufacturedhousingassociationforregulatoryreform-mharr_pesident__mhpronews__credit

M. Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR, which represents independent HUD Code MH builders.

On the MHARR side of the association aisle, MHARR CEO M. Mark Weiss, JD, has issued a white paper on how HUD has handled the MH program. We’ll share that in its entirety in the new November 2015 issue, which should be live by Sunday night. Note that a source at MHI tells the Masthead they’ll have a published position on this topic by Friday.

America, MH Associations and the MH Rank and File

On the Masthead, we often tee up an issue and then propose the solution. Today, let’s have the issue merely be. Lets speak what is, what others feel (as noted above), and then let you ponder or comment.

There is Anger in America, and Frustration by many in MHVille.  

There is also apathy, which is a helpless cousin of anger. There is some affluence too, which the big deals that are cooking or the Carlyle deal noted above exemplify. But those big deals can actually fuel the apathy and anger. Thousands in MH, and tens of millions of Americans are mad as hell.

There is certainly opportunity in our economic and political malaise. But there is also risk.

…And you say…? ##

MarkSimon-NewYorkHousing2015PhotoCredits-PostedMHProNews-com-

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach at the recent New York Housing Association annual meeting. Tony is one of the most recognized and popular speakers and personalities in all of the MH Industry.

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
 


Chris Steinbert’s Farewell – Manufactured Home Industry – Then and Now

October 23rd, 2015 No comments

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of our thousands of faithful readers sent me the attached scanned copy of prior Manufactured Housing Institute President, Chris Steinbert’s ‘farewell’ or parting message. It is shared to continue a dialogue within and for the MH Industry. Many point to Chris’ era as an important one for MHI, and some who recall the attached lament that MH has not made more progress towards some of his goals.

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In sharing Chris’ 8 points below, it doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with any or all of his ‘if I had a magic wand, what would I wish for MH’ bullet points.

But they’re as worthy of serious discussion and reflection today as they were when the Journal published it 9 years ago. In bold below are his 8 bullets. In regular type face, some comments or food for thought that are not Chris’.

  1. Manufacturers would step up and take control of the marketplace. It is worth noting that in Danny Ghorbani’s farewell to the industry, he said the time has come for MH to do an image campaign. See also Chris’ bullet number 3 below.
  1. Manufacturers should assume the responsibility for customer satisfaction. MHIA 2000 has helped, no doubt. Quality is up, no doubt, as the report from MHARR linked here demonstrates. See his last bullet for an added thought on this one.
  2. The Industry needs to launch a national advertising offensive spotlighting the tremendous benefits of owning and living in a factory built home. While your Masthead scribes agrees with – and is already part of an effort to promote the benefits of MHLiving, the who, how and why are questions worthy of discussion. I won’t go into details today, but as a marketer let’s note that MH is unique in needing three things, not one. Branding, unbranding and rebranding. We also need local, market-based campaigns that drive business to specific “partners in progress,” which when shared on a single national platform, yields national coverage that has local market value for those who participate.  The rising tide will lift the water-worthy boats.i-continue-to-be-today-a-staunch-supporter-of-a-mhindustry-generic-advertising-campaign-leigh-abrams-drew-industries-(c)2014-lifestylefactoryhomesllc-
  3. Its also time for the industry to finally start sharing the risks and rewards. This or other points Chris raised are not new. A number of MH and MHC operations could honestly say, they were doing exactly this, until the CFPB derailed their successful efforts by creating too much regulatory risk.  Some lenders have created programs that essentially do just what Chris advocated.
  1. Manufacturers and retailers should be more open about making pricing information available to potential customers. More retailers today are doing what Chris suggested. MHVillage is clearly doing just that on a large scale. We happen to advocate the same, and our clients who show pricing the proper way find its very beneficial. After all, what real estate agent hides the price of the house he or she are trying to sell?if-leader-doesnt-convey-passion-intensity-then-there-will-be-no-passion-intensity-within-organization-theyll--fall-depressed-colin-powell-wikicommons-mhpronews600x450a-
  1. Focus on the issues of real importance and stop looking to Washington to solve all of your problems. “HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did not cause your world to collapse” (said Chris, speaking of the fall out of the post 1998 slump) “and they are not going to be your salvation either.” Now, let’s admit that Chris wrote this before HERA 2008, and before Dodd-Frank, the CFPB, etc., etc. While we certainly don’t want to wait and see what ‘DC will do for us,’ nor depend solely on Washington for solutions, neither should we sit back and do nothing in Washington, as Chris himself suggested.
  1. Stop tilting after windmills…go after those things that can realistically be achieved. Some say that this point is where Chris anticipated some of what an MH friend and wise industry mogul said was my Don Quixote side; reaching for impossible dreams and the unreachable stars. But realism is no less important than idealism. The opening quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the start of this column reminds us that some struggles are necessary and worthy of effort! It is often those who are willing to tilt at windmills that help real change to come to pass. That occurs when enough commit to a good, just cause. Do see Bob Vahsholtz’s article on the image issue and the three stages of progress.
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    Editor’s Note: posters and graphics are from editor, not from Chris Steinbert.

  1. The entire industry must focus on one goal – increasing the value proposition to the homeowner. We could hardly disagree with Chris on something that we preach privately to clients and publicly on our MHProNews pages. Here is a point that MHARR and MHI agree, that the quality of today’s MH is better than ever. We might rephrase Chris’ words, but the point is the same. We must make sure that our customers are happy to be MH owners and MHC residents. The more often that happens, the more your MH sales will rise as a result.
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    Quote from A Cup of Coffee withSam Landy. UMH has doubled its footprint in 5 years.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I’ve seen some say that the windshield has maybe 10% rear view mirror. While that’s true, that overlooks the fact that there are side view mirrors in autos that look back too. Looking back is important for safety and for lessons that guide advancement! History is a teacher only for those who sit, study and are willing to learn the lessons!

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It is good at this point to review our tag lines and the vision for this site.

When we launched 6 years ago, we sought to establish a professional forum that advances sound concepts from each segment of the industry. A professional trade publication where anyone with the discipline to share their thoughts in writing (or via video…) could present their best-practices vision or services for advancing MH professionalism. Respectful debates and opposing views have been and are welcome.

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Indeed, if you look at what hundeds have said via over 1000 LinkedIn endorsements and comments (with some 99.9% unsolicited), we have started and nurtured that MH Industry challenges, best practices, expert advice, solutions and goals conversations.  FYI, we take those kudos from folks like you as thanks to our writers, team members, volunteers and supporters.  My thanks to all, while noting that this is far from being a one person operation.

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Photo credit on left, Politico. Right, MHProNews.

Bill Matchneer, former director of the HUD Code MH program, formerly with CFPB and now on the MHI Financial Services Board of Governors, having been nominated to that role by Tim Williams/21st Mortgage (and new MHI Chair), thoughtfully provided me with a letter addressed to a third party that will end up in print; but I’m only sharing a snipet of it for now. “Obviously his (Tony’s) devotion to MH is best displayed by his highly comprehensive MHProNews and MHLivingNews websites, which have become such necessary reads that its hard to imagine the current MH Industry without them.”

Again, my sincere thanks to Bill and all who send in kind words, call or message or do LinkedIn kudos, which comes in many times weekly. But the reality is that these online places (MHProNews and MHLivingNews) are only possible via a team effort – they are YOUR and the MH Industry’s e-trade publications, in so many ways!

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Together with others, we’ve made strides in a variety of areas, thanks in large part to the contributions of volunteer writers, supporters, associations, team members, experts and others. The task now is to build on that solid history. Trade Media is a way for the MH indutry to engage other media, as media. Trade media is a way to influence public policy discussions, inform and educate, inspire industry members and others.  Whatever success we enjoy, as Mary McBrady, Bob Thieman and others observed, is good for the industry’s network of professionals and enthusiasts.

There is no single person in MH that will make the industry achieve its potential. What we do here is TEAM Work; Together, Everyone Achieves More = TEAM! It is precisely by drawing hundreds and then thousands of pros to bring their best and brightest skills to the playing field that MH advances. You have skills and experiences others lack, and vice versa.  Its good content that gets and keep thousands coming here to MHProNews daily.

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MHProNews and MHLivingNews are about team work. You, We, Agents for Positive, Profitable Change. Image credit – Lumaxart by Scott Maxwell

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I enjoy MHEC meetings, and always take away a lot of useful information (thank you). Associations are another vital part of the solution for the industry. What good trade media does is give industry pros, including association leaders, the opportunity to share their experiences and thus their insights and solutions to problems. Examples shared on MHProNews.com include – DJ Pendleton, Ross Kinzler, Tim WilliamsJen Hall, Andy Gallagher, Joe Kelly Sheila Dey and Jess Maxcy among many others who recently or in the past have contributed content and news to fuel industry growth. Image Credit – MHEC Logo, courtesy of Mary Gaiski.

Together with other forward thinkers of good will, we advance.

The more we MH pros set aside the petty differences, ego, past wounds or turf struggles, the more we advance.

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Mutual understanding and respect, doing for others what we’d want for ourselves, – justice, fairness, forgiveness – these are how we move past the turf struggles of the past to the lofty potential of the future.

Bringing committed MH pros together is important. Candid, respectful discussion can lead us to viable solutions.  

The warm-and-fuzzy expressed herein doesn’t take away from the reality that there will be some eggs cracked along the way to making omlets. We plan to continue to serve as a needed spotlight for issues within and without the MH Industry.  When a balloon needs popping, let’s get out that needle together, shall we?

Borrowing from Dr. King and Chris Steinbert, we must find the ways to advance the goals of justice for MH owners, businesses and potential owners and investors too.

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The more we do that – advance justice and value for home owners and businesses – the more the good that Chris or Danny or anyone else that has cared about MH and has a positive vision for MH, will help that new birth for our industry to come to pass. ##

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L. A. “Tony” Kovach at NY Housing annual meeting. Tony will be presenting at the Tunica Manufactured Home Show in 2016, besides other planned events.

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