Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Richard A. Ashmore Sr.

Richard Arthur Ashmore, Sr. 75, husband of Mary Jane McCuen Ashmore, of 106 Four Meadows Lane, died June 14, 2011.

Born in Greenville County, he was a son of the late Russell C. Ashmore, Sr. and Nelle Blakely Ashmore. He served ten years in the U.S. Army reserves and advanced to rank of Captain in the 391st Combat Engineers Battalion.

Mr. Ashmore graduated from Clemson University, Class of 1958, with a degree in Civil Engineering, and entered the family owned construction business in May 1959. In 1967, he became president of Ashmore Brothers, Inc. and held various positions in construction associations. He served as president of Carolinas Associated General Contractors and served several terms on the National A.G.C. Executive Board and Board of Directors. He was recipient of Greenville Home Builders Associate Member of the Year Award in 1983 and of the Greenville Home Builders Distinguished Service Award in 1992.

He was a member of Taylors First Baptist Church where he taught Sunday School, served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons, and sang tenor in the choir.

In 1989, he was elected to Greenville County Council where he served until 1997. He was recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award by Greenville YMCA for Chair of the Eastside Capital Campaign, and the President's Coin of AGC of America in 2000. He served as Chairman of the Appalachian Council of Governments and Chairman of Donaldson Development Center. In 2002, he was inducted into the South Carolina Home Builders Hall of Fame and in 2004 was elected to the office of National Treasurer for AGC of America. He was also 2011 Director Emeritus of SCTAC (formerly Donaldson Commission).

Surviving, in addition to his wife of fifty-three years, are his daughter and son-in-law, Leigh Ashmore Stephenson and Les Stephenson of Tallahassee, FL; two sons and daughters-in-law, Richard A. "Rick" , Jr. and Linda of Greer, and David and Bonnie Ashmore of Greenville; a sister and brother-in-law, Becky and Mike King of Greer; a brother, Russell C., Jr. and Ruth Ashmore of Taylors; three granddaughters, Marae, Molly Grace and Lucy Ashmore; and two step-grandchildren, Weslie and Trail Stephenson.
  • The family will receive friends at the home Thursday from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. and Friday from 10:30 until Noon at the Church.
  • Services will be Friday at twelve o'clock, noon at Taylors First Baptist Church, with Dr. Jimmie Harley officiating. Burial will follow in Greenville Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Taylors Free Medical Clinic, 400 W. Main St., Taylors, SC 29687, Open Arms Hospice, 1836 W. Georgia Road, Simpsonville, SC 29680, or the American Cancer Society , 154 Milestone Way, Greenville, SC 29615.

Monday, June 13, 2011

NAHB Survey Confirms Value of Homeownership to Voters

Results of a major NAHB-commissioned survey clearly show the high priority that Americans continue to place on homeownership and housing choice, even amidst the turmoil in today's housing market.

The survey, which polled 2,000 likely 2012 voters during the week of May 3-9, was conducted by two of the most highly regarded polling firms in the country. Initial findings were officially released in an NAHB media teleconference that was held on June 7, with further details set for release within the next few days — in fact, a special edition of Nation's Building News to be published on Tuesday, June 14, will contain details from the full array of findings.

The bottom line is this: Americans see beyond the immediate housing market to the enduring value of homeownership, with an overwhelming 75% of those surveyed saying that owning a home is worth the risk of the fluctuations in the market and 95% of current home owners saying they are happy with their decision to purchase a home. Meanwhile, almost three-quarters of those who do not currently own a home said that homeownership is one of their goals. And among younger voters who are most likely to be in the market for a home in the next few years, the percentages are even higher.

Among the other survey results:
  • Homeownership and a retirement savings program are considered by voters to be their best investments.
  • 80% of home owners would advise a close friend or family member just starting out to buy a home.
  • Saving for a downpayment and closing costs is the biggest barrier to homeownership.
  • Americans believe that owning their own home is as important as being successful at their job or being able to pay for a family member's education.
These are powerful findings that confirm just how out of touch some policymakers in Washington have become with the American public in their pursuit of measures that would make it much more difficult for the average consumer to purchase a home. And, they are exactly what we need to counter these measures in the halls of Congress, in the Administration and in the media.

Stay tuned for further details in this report, Nation's Building News, and other communications channels. In the meantime, read the NAHB press release, check out the survey results for yourself at, and view favorable coverage of our poll by Charlie Cook in the National Journal and on The Wall Street Journal's blog.

To listen to the presentation of the survey by the pollsters at, click here.

Association Maximization Part 3: "Define Your Objectives"

Let’s start this post by defining your objectives within the HBA. You start by incorporating what you learned in the first two posts about the true purpose of any level of the HBA and that is that the HBA is a watchdog association that speaks with one voice. That one voice is needed for the HBA’s true purpose; advocacy. You may ask yourself the question “why should I care about advocacy?” If your career depends on the home building and remodeling industry for any or all of your income the question I would have for you is “why don’t you care.” This first paragraph is extremely important as you define your objectives and maximizing your HBA investment.

Getting involved will help you with getting connected. This should absolutely be your first objective. Your first time to an HBA event will most likely be a general membership (GM) meeting. GM meetings are networking events. People come together to listen to a speaker or panel. There generally is a stated purpose to each GM meeting but the unspoken, but “make no mistake about it,” reason is for members to network with members. Your objective at any of these GM meetings is to market, NOT SELL. Yes, you are in sales and if you understand sales you know that cold calling is no fun. That’s how you will be perceived if you try to “push product;” as that sales guy or women. You will most certainly alienate yourself from those at the meeting and your chance to have opportunities to sell later will be harder or non existent. The only time it’s acceptable to sell at a GM meeting is if it’s a “Meet the Builder Night” type of event or an Associate Expo. I would advise your objective at these two types of events to be professional, know your audience and be prepared to gain the builders attention in 60 seconds or less.

Regardless of the GM’s purpose your next objective is to market yourself and your company and that’s starts with dressing professionally (or for the stated dress for the event), limit the alcohol consumption and be respectful of others engaged in conversation and never monopolize others’ time.

Let’s discuss more of the structure of the HBA. We have explained that there is a board of directors and officers at all three levels of the HBA. Other structured groups would include committees and councils which are designed for three areas of HBA need:
  1. Fund raising
  2. Legal and legislative
  3. Planning
Fundraising could include, but not limited to, golf outings, fishing tournaments, boxing nights or any other event that is fun, brings out members and guests and is designed to foster networking and camaraderie. Special events committee, such as trade shows, are also considered fundraising. When you look closely at the real need for these types of events the reason becomes clearer from an HBA perspective. The net profit generated from these events goes towards the operating expense of the HBA. Factor in the reason for the HBA you can now see that these events are needed to help protect the industry while offering more ways to engage your fellow members.

A great way to be involved, for the right reasons, is to join a committee designed for fundraising. Be actively engaged as a volunteer give you three things you wouldn’t get otherwise;
  1. a chance to develop friendships that can help you with introductions
  2. be highlighted as a volunteer for the HBA
  3. have builders notice you for your dedication
Another objective; join a committee to start your HBA involvement.

Legislative and legal committees are fantastic schools for industry education. Think about it for a moment……… you are in committee meetings that are discussing situations that could impact the building industry. There is no better place to find out how your career could be affected and if you’re a business owner it can only help you with your own company’s business planning. Political action committees (PACs) are the lifeblood, if you believe that advocacy is the true purpose of the HBA, of any level of HBA. These PACs, along with the one voice of the passionate HBA, go along way in deciding the building industry’s future based on what is happening legislatively. Another objective would be to get involved legislatively. In places you in the heart of the HBA’s purpose and its engaged members.

At this point your objectives should be a bit clearer as you navigate the HBA. This may be all you want from your HBA investment and believe me when I say this, the information in this chapter, if utilized properly, will bring you an amazing return on your investment. If you’d like to go further, having leadership as an objective, then you have to incorporate the information here into your HBA plan.

Planning committees that are designed for leaders within the association to deal with strategic plans or any other type of planning designed for long term growth of the HBA. Leaders in the association come from, in most cases, committee chairs, board members and/or officers. It is here, at these levels within the HBA, that the course of the HBA is charted. Being involved here brings you different perspectives, from different members, that can/should help you with your own long term planning.

All three levels of the HBA have committees and depending at which level you'll notice the emphasis will change. Broad stroke overview of the state and NAHB you will find a higher concentration of legal, land use, environmental and public relations just to name a few. The state's focus is on the over all membership of that particular state's issues while national will take the country as a whole.

When all is said and done, the member who has utilized the HBA, not used, has had many returns on the yearly investment. Your overall objective should be “association first, my business second.” If you follow that one objective, the other objectives will fall in to place.

The next blog article will focus on practical strategies in developing relationships with builders AND associates.

Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chair
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gallivan White & Boyd Opens Office in Columbia

Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A., has established a Columbia law office which opened this week in the Capitol Center, staffed by a team of skilled litigators. John T. Lay Jr., Johnston Cox, John Hudson and Shelley Montague have joined the law firm as partners in the Columbia office. James Brogdon, Childs Thrasher and Breon Walker, have joined the firm as associates.

The Columbia team has 77 years of combined legal experience and is led by Lay. They will continue to serve clients with whom they have established relationships over the years while also assisting current GWB clients and working to grow the firm as a whole.

GWB also recently announced the opening of an office in Charlotte led by Chris Kelly. GWB now serves the Southeast with three offices in two states.

Addison Homes Named ‘America’s Best Builder’ Finalist

Addison Homes competed amongst the nation’s top companies for the title of “America’s Best Builder.”

The Greenville-based homebuilder was a finalist in the annual contest conducted by BUILDER, a leading media brand focused on the residential construction industry. The America's Best Builder program recognizes winners—and top finalists—for excellence in finance/operations, design/construction, customer service/quality, community/industry service and marketing.

“Though we didn’t earn the overall title, Addison Homes is proud to be recognized as a finalist in this very competitive selection process,” says Todd Usher, president of Addison Homes. “We’re honored to be among the country’s best new home builders.”

Usher says that Addison Homes—the only company in the Upstate that builds 100% of its homes to ENERGY STAR® and EarthCraft House™ standards—intends to participate in the America’s Best Builder contest again next year.

“We are confident our quality and innovation in home building set us apart,” he says.