Posts Tagged ‘Manufactured Housing Institute’

Louisville Manufactured Housing Show’s Rebirth & more!

October 3rd, 2010 7 comments

I. Return of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show in 2011

Hats off to Dennis Hill at Showways Unlimited, as well as to the bold, forward looking manufacturers, exhibitors and others who are lining up rapidly behind the return of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, coming up quickly in 2011! My understanding from recent conversations with Dennis suggests most of the region’s manufacturers have already bought in, literally and figuratively. The few remaining ones are considering what model(s) would make the most sense for them to display. Exhibitor space is also filling up nicely, with more vendors coming on board, calling for details or already in the pipeline.

Plans are also underway to promote the returning show in positive, new ways so as to attract more manufactured housing industry members to attend this big event. These signals bode well for the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show’s success in 2011.

Let’s take a quick look at some additional background details.

For 50 of the 51 years of its history, word has it that this has been a profitable show. The concerns caused by the MH Industry’s long slide – which contributed to the show’s suspension – have diminished, for multiple reasons. First, the decline of recent years has flattened out; perhaps even a bit of a rise may occur in 2010 vs. 2009.

Despite clear Industry challenges still to be navigated, near future projections are reason to believe that the future for our MH Industry is bright. Those who step out now are those who will benefit from the market share growth the factory built housing Industry can capitalize upon.

Let’s take a snapshot of two recent studies that tell me that this is a great time for savvy, forward looking Industry players to line up behind Dennis Hill and the Louisville Show.

  1. At this year’s International Networking Roundtable, Cornell University’s Dr. David Funk provided an in depth look at what he projects will be the next housing boom. This boom will begin in about 3 years, is based on growing population, aging housing stock, as well as other factors. Dr. Funk’s objective study and research concludes that various economic and demographic factors can position the manufactured housing industry for serious growth for decades to come. This research is so compelling, that Dr. Funk will be presenting this same information to the Urban Land Institute at an upcoming meeting. Let me note that Dr. Funk has indicated he will share his research with our readers here at Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management ( in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned for that important article.
  2. Charles Shinn made an equally compelling public case last week for what should be a future boom for manufactured housing. Shinn, a respected consultant who has deep ties with the conventional housing industry and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), presented very similar statistics to Dr Funk’s at the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) annual meeting last week in Denver, CO. Shinn has been referred to as “the profit doctor” in the housing world. So when Shinn speaks, smart people in the housing industry listen. As noted with Dr. Funk, we plan to reach out to Charles Shinn asking him to share his research with our readers here at

The point is that here are two respected professionals with no axe to grind. Both of these experts are saying that the manufactured housing Industry’s best days can and should lie ahead! Frankly, they cited similar thinking to what we presented in our recently released book, The Manufactured Housing Revolution. These are three of many powerful reasons for forward looking manufacturers, suppliers and vendors to attend and get behind the Louisville Show. They are also the same reasons for community operators, retailers and other Industry professionals to attend.

We plan to share more reports on the good news of the return of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show in the days ahead. Kudos to Dennis Hill and all who are making the return of this great event happen!

II. George Allen to sell INR?

During a committee meeting of the Manufactured Housing Educational Institute, chaired by Joe Adams, an interesting personal and professional revelation was shared with those in attendance. George F. Allen revealed that he has been approached to sell some of his current operations, including, but not necessarily limited to, the respected and acclaimed International Networking Roundtable (INR) and other aspects of his consulting practice to the land lease community business and manufactured housing industry in general.

This was mentioned in the context of MHEI’s possible interest in George F. Allen’s work. Given the informative nature of the INR, and the mission of MHEI –

The MHEI® Mission:
To support the educational purpose of the Manufactured Housing Institute by creating and delivering professional programs and resources for the manufactured housing industry

– it is certainly an understandable concept to consider. Allen also referred to his client mailing list and other aspects of his profitable operations as part of his phased retirement planning.

George has certainly floated in his own blog hints of his looking ahead to retirement, so this is certainly no secret. But this statement in front of 30 or so of his peers at the MHEI meeting in Denver last week might cause a ripple among Industry pros. As one committee member later came to me and asked me, “You aren’t going to report on George’s statement are you?” I felt it wise to confirm with George his thinking on the subject. Here is part of his reply:

“As I told you, I have no ‘prob’ with you mentioning my informal intention to begin planning for personal and corporate retirement, expressing sincere concern about how to perpetuate the dozen or so ‘work products’ the MHindustry and LLCommunity asset class have come to count on month by month and year by year.” – from George F. Allen via email

III. Thayer Long joins as a contributor. More to follow.

Thayer Long from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) will be joining us this week on a periodic basis in our Industry Voices Guest Blog. As regular readers of know, we already showcase news from both MHI and MHARR, as part of our effort to provide fair and balanced information and perspectives from a variety of manufactured housing industry leaders.

In our current issue, as in previous ones, we have presented interviews with various manufactured housing industry leaders, including our periodic – and well read – A Cup of Coffee with interviews. In the current issue, we have two A Cup of Coffee interviews with the Iowa and Arkansas respective State Association Executives, Joe Kelly and JD Harper.

In conversations with Industry pros at Denver and Phoenix, we expect to see more interviews and articles by respected business and association leaders in the future.

So let me personally welcome Thayer Long to our growing online Industry news and views forum!

Let me also take a moment and invite professionals like you to join in the Industry conversation here at

This media platform is for and about supporting the efforts of professionals like you. Even a brief look at the incredible feature articles content generated by our writers every issue, or the business daily podcasts of Factory Built Housing News at Noon with our Erin Patla, or the reports our exclusive Industry In Focus reporter Eric Miller delivers to readers with a free sign up – all of these are excellent reasons for you and your team members to log on 15 minutes a day at This is where you can learn the latest tips, and read the most news from our varied sources.

That is why these and other Industry leaders say what can be found at:

This is your invitation to:

  • Send in news, articles and topics for discussions. Please see the about us page.
  • Provide documents and research of Industry interest.
  • Read and share the insights of our team of top industry pros, writers and thinkers.

Thank you for allowing our team to serve you and the factory built housing industry here at # #

Manufactured Housing Industry Growth Potential

August 11th, 2010 No comments

We are seeing signs of an uptick in Industry home shipments, as reported by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in recent months. What is the potential of the Manufactured Housing Industry today? What are the factors holding back the sales of manufactured homes? Let us take a brief survey of this timely and important topic.

In the upper Midwest area of Chicago where I am based, new manufactured housing costs tends to be about 40% or so below the price of new conventional construction that is similar in size. While the percentage of savings may vary from region to region, perhaps with lower savings in the South, higher savings in the North, we know that generally factory building can produce quality while saving money. Let’s imagine we had a cell phone called the xPhone that looked like and performed like an Apple iPhone, but was 40% lower in cost. One might imagine that the market potential for that product would be huge.

So applying that analogy to the manufactured housing industry, what are the elements or factors that support our growth, and what are the items that hinder our growth?

Industry Growth Factors include, but are not limited to:

  • aging housing stock in much of the U.S.
  • ever growing U.S. population
  • high cost of conventional housing construction
  • declining incomes
  • growing population of retirees, limited fixed incomes
  • the perception that Earth’s resources are limited or dwindling, and that greener more sustainable designs and building processes make good economic and public policy sense.

Hindering the manufactured housing Industry’s growth factors include, but are not limited to:

  • remarketing, resale of homes; the lack of a strong resale mechanism that mirrors the real estate market hurts hampers every aspect of our Industry; starting with financing
  • the appreciation vs depreciation issue
  • the image issue (some of this is due to older ‘mobile home parks’ with old pre-HUD Code mobile homes, but other factors contribute, such as the media, lack of PR/remarketing, etc.)
  • lack of a broad based marketing, educational, image building outreach to Americans and public officials; while a national GO RVing style campaign that worked so well for the recreational vehicle industry has been spoken about many times, it has never gone beyond the discussion stage in the manufactured housing industry as a whole
  • financing and regulatory challenges
  • a wide variety of skill sets among industry professionals, from companies who do a solid job of personnel development, motivation and training, to firms where the lack of same is dismal and apparent.

These lists could go on. But the point is this; the start of any growth program is candidly identifying the issues, and then just as honestly and aggressively addressing them!

The half a loaf is better than none approach has always made sense to me. Some states or area associations have done videos to promote the manufactured home lifestyle. One effort that has drawn attention and results is linked below:

We need more companies that will do, individually or in tandem with others, their own marketing and educational campaigns. We need more associations and organizations, individually or in unison with others, working to tap the incredible potential of the factory built housing world. We need some action, vs. more talk.

What is our industry’s potential?

On pages 107 – 108 of the new book, The Manufactured Housing Revolution, we see a common sense process that could grow sales to 229,600 HUD Code homes per year, to higher end range of 816,060 homes per year! That top number would represent an industry record year.

What are you willing to do to make those numbers a reality? It is your future. Let us work smarter to make that future brighter and more profitable. # #

L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, MHM
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal at aka

Storm Clouds Gathering over MHCC

May 21st, 2010 12 comments

A letter came to my attention that was circulated via email. The letter which follows my introduction here addresses the growing concern over HUD’s ‘handling’ of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, or MHCC. The MHCC is a critical body from the Industry’s perspective. The MHCC exists to protect the interests of both the Industry and the public, while providing safeguards for all concerned. If you are in the Industry, the MHCC is important to you!

Sadly, too many in the HUD Code Industry fail to recognize the importance role that the MHCC is intended to play. So as you dig into this topic with me, you’ll see that indeed “storm clouds are gathering” over the MHCC and HUD officials’ recent actions regarding the MHCC is an import issue! The Manufactured Home Industry obviously needs Manufactured Homes that are appealing, durable, well designed, safe and affordable. The MHCC was designed to play a key role in that process.

In the memo that follows this introduction below, the concerns are being expressed by officials at MHARR, one of the two national Industry trade organizations. Certainly the concerns are also true among members of the MHCC and others in the HUD Code Home Industry regarding the ‘handling’ of the MHCC by HUD.

To put it bluntly, many believe that some at HUD are trying to neuter the MHCC, and strip it of its legally established status ‘check valve’ status.

The MHCC was established by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000), so it has a legal status. The MHCC exists as a check point to keep HUD, the federal government or other forces from arbitrarily imposing their will upon the Manufactured Housing Industry, notably in the construction of homes and construction-related regulations.

Regarding the MHCC, the MHIA of 2000 says in part:

‘‘(A) PURPOSE.—There is established a committee to be known as the ‘consensus committee’, which shall, in accordance with this title—
‘‘(i) provide periodic recommendations to the (HUD) Secretary to adopt, revise, and interpret the Federal
manufactured housing construction and safety standards in accordance with this subsection;
‘‘(ii) provide periodic recommendations to the Secretary to adopt, revise, and interpret the procedural and enforcement regulations, including regulations specifying the permissible scope and conduct of monitoring in accordance with subsection (b);
‘‘(iii) be organized and carry out its business in a manner that guarantees a fair opportunity for the
expression and consideration of various positions and for public participation; and
‘‘(iv) be deemed to be an advisory committee not composed of Federal employees.”
(Note: the parenthetical addition of the word HUD – short for Dept of Housing and Urban Development – used above was added for clarity).
In fact, this might be an appropriate place to share the purpose of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 or MHIA of 2000, which Congress passed and the president signed into law. Here it is:
‘‘(b) PURPOSES.—The purposes of this title are—

‘‘(1) to protect the quality, durability, safety, and affordability
of manufactured homes;

‘‘(2) to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured
homes and to increase homeownership for all Americans;

‘‘(3) to provide for the establishment of practical, uniform,
and, to the extent possible, performance-based Federal construction
standards for manufactured homes;

‘‘(4) to encourage innovative and cost-effective construction
techniques for manufactured homes;

‘‘(5) to protect residents of manufactured homes with
respect to personal injuries and the amount of insurance costs
and property damages in manufactured housing, consistent
with the other purposes of this section;

‘‘(6) to establish a balanced consensus process for the
development, revision, and interpretation of Federal construction
and safety standards for manufactured homes and related
regulations for the enforcement of such standards;

‘‘(7) to ensure uniform and effective enforcement of Federal
construction and safety standards for manufactured homes;

‘‘(8) to ensure that the public interest in, and need for,
affordable manufactured housing is duly considered in all determinations
relating to the Federal standards and their enforcement.’’
(Note: bold lettering above added for emphasis).
For those of you who are ready to read the entire MHIA of 2000, we have posted the entire Act at this link,

with the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 found starting on page 55.

We are a pro-Industry publication. We are here to provide news and views you can use. We’ve often stated – and will restate again – the fact that as an Industry Trade publication is neutral and doesn’t ‘parse’ or attempt to analyze who says what among trade organizations, etc.. does from time to time, point out the well known fact that there are differences in the reporting between national associations or others in the industry, a point made in my article in the May issue on the MHCC’s April 2010 meeting in Tulsa, OK.

In researching the memo below and asking HUD, industry leaders and others to share their perspectives on this, it should be noted that no one stepped forward to speak ‘on the record.’ Yet virtually everyone I contacted had something to say off the record! Now that fact is in itself is telling, because here in America, we should feel comfortable and safe sharing our candid views that are stated intelligently, respectfully and without histrionics or hyperbole.  We call that ‘freedom of speech!’

One of the comments that came in to me off the record while researching this article below is quoted extensively here:
“I want to begin by thanking Danny Ghorbani for sharing the information on the recent MHCC meeting in Tulsa with the public. Shortly before the meeting, MHCC members were informed that certain governmental bodies had found that the MHCC is a Federal Advisory Committee and, as such, must follow the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Due to this ruling, HUD:

  • Re-wrote the MHCC Bylaws. In the past, the MHCC re-wrote the Bylaws and voted to accept, reject or amend them with HUD’s final approval. Under FACA, HUD writes and approves the MHCC Bylaws.
  • Decided during the Tulsa MHCC meeting that certain non-committee members were allowed to speak, while others were not, an action which shocked many of us, but HUD is now in charge of the meetings.
  • Dissolved the MHCC Planning & Prioritization Subcommittee, which is a very critical action. This subcommittee received all proposed changes to the manufactured housing standards of construction, and assigned each a priority and to a specific subcommittee to develop a recommendation for the full MHCC’s action.
  • Totally took over the function of developing an agenda for the meeting, down to which specific items would be discussed by each subcommittee during their meetings. In the past, the chair would ask subcommittee chairs how much time they wanted scheduled for their meetings and try to accommodate them. We would also try not to schedule the subcommittee meetings concurrently so a person could be an active member of more than one subcommittee. The Chair of the Subcommittee then set the agenda according to the priorities and other actions subcommittee members wanted to discuss.
  • Personally, I also disagree with the decision by HUD and/or the current administration in Washington, DC regarding lobbyists serving on federal committees. According to HUD, if a person is a registered lobbyist (and many of the employees of national and state organizations are lobbyists), they cannot serve on the MHCC. I believe that in many cases, these employees of state and national organizations are excellent candidates for the MHCC. Often they represent various segments of the industry and speak with a variety of industry members over time. In most cases, they would certainly be better candidates for MHCC positions than someone who has never been in a manufactured home before (and this has happened).

I believe this change in how the MHCC is controlled by HUD is something which must be brought before Congress. I do not believe it can be repaired at any lower level.”

It should be noted that industry voices tell me that it is doubtful at least that Congress intended the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) to apply to the MHCC, nor was the interpretation used from the outset of the functioning of the MHCC.

To rephrase that, applying the FACA to the MHCC is a recent and novel approach by HUD towards this Industry and public representative body.

What I’d like to urge Industry readers is to get into the meat of this issue, and then communicate your perspective to MHI, MHARR and directly to HUD on how you see the handling of the MHCC.

I’d point out that Danny Ghorbani and MHARR themselves are suggesting that this issue can and should be addressed by the Industry – and he mentions both MHI and MHARR as representing Industry interests – with HUD first.

Most of my sources tell me that this is an issue that won’t go away; in fact it will continue to heat up in the days ahead. So the storm clouds gather, because the MHCC plays a vital and often misunderstood or under appreciated role in our Industry.

MHARR often sends us news items, as does MHI. We post both organizations’ news routinely, and both get widely read on our Ezine. This particular item below came to me from a third party, and NOT from MHARR directly.

Against this backdrop, let me share the unedited letter below which sparked this research, as it relates to this topic of the MHCC and HUD’s recent actions.

============= start of MHARR letter ============

Ms. Susan Brenton, MHCC Chair
Mr. Bill Lagano, MHCC Vice Chair

Dear Susan and Bill:

I am writing to follow-up on the significant response that we have received regarding the April 2010 MHCC meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As you both know first-hand and, unfortunately, had to endure, what occurred at this meeting was outrageous and should be unacceptable to all federal program stakeholders. Nor should it be tolerated, either by the leadership of the Committee or by Committee members who should be committed to the role, authority, functionality and independence of the MHCC.

We understand, for example, that as the MHCC Chair, you were barred from even recognizing MHARR’s representative for a question or comment, while Department employees, consultants, contractors and other special interests were allowed to speak based on the formality of a “request” by a Committee. This is censorship that undermines the Committee’s access to the collective experience, knowledge, expertise and institutional memory of the regulated party that has been painstakingly accumulated in the nation’s capital over the course of four decades, and that is simply not available from any other source. In addition, it deprives Committee members of essential information relevant to their deliberations and votes on issues that are crucial to the industry and consumers.

Because this is discriminatory and arbitrary, and because it leaves important facts and perspectives off the table, we are surprised that Committee members did not openly oppose — and challenge — these rulings. We recognize, however, that the format of the meetings does not lend itself to such challenges. We also understand the frustration that has been conveyed to us by various Committee members.

Indeed, many program stakeholders are now beginning to recognize the importance of having the collective representation of the program’s regulated parties (i.e., the industry and particularly manufacturers) on the Committee as voting members, given their institutional memory, knowledge and expertise regarding the complex issues that the MHCC must regularly face. Unfortunately, the quick acquiescence of our sister association (MHI) in this exclusion of collective industry representatives, provided a ready excuse for the prior program management to eliminate MHARR from the Committee as well, under the guise of compliance with a White House “preference” to bar registered lobbyists from service on federal advisory committees. A recent MHARR analysis of this “guidance” however, reveals that it was overstated by the prior program management and that collective industry representation on the MHCC should be restored in order to balance input to the Committee from regulators, contractors, consultants and special interests, as was on display at the Tulsa meeting.

As it is, we trust that the MHCC’s Tulsa meeting was planned and conducted under the auspices of the previous program management, as it was clearly influenced by the policies and decisions of that management over the past several years. Hopefully, the new program leadership at HUD will take major steps to fully comply with section 602(b)(6) of the law — maintaining and advancing this centerpiece reform of the 2000 law going forward — as restoration of the role, authority, functionality and independence of the MHCC should be and remain a top priority for the industry, consumers and all program stakeholders.

MHARR continues to thank both of you for your hard work on the Committee and your patience under difficult circumstances.


cc: Ms. Teresa Payne
HUD Code Manufacturers
MHCC Members
Danny D. Ghorbani
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075