Homebuilder Mark Dale tells of a young man years ago who often spoke up during meetings, raising his hand to ask a question or offer a comment.
“Often after those meetings I'd get a little tap on the shoulder, and he'd want to ask me something,” Dale recalled. “I pretty quickly learned that it was a good tap on the shoulder to acknowledge, because I was going to learn something.”
Dale, owner of Carriage Homes in Oklahoma City, shared those memories in December during a ceremony installing that young man, Jeff Click, as 2013 president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association. Their relationship has grown into one of mutual respect and admiration despite their differences: “He shaves his head, and I comb mine,” Dale quipped during the ceremony.
For Click, 37, this year at the helm of the state association will fall in sharp contrast to his tenure as president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association in 2009. Then, the housing industry was flailing in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Oklahoma weathered the crisis better than many states, he said, but that didn't mean it wasn't a bumpy ride.
“Serving as COHBA president that year was certainly interesting and eye-opening,” Click said.
Oklahoma isn't back to its boom-era numbers, but 2012 statewide permits were up about 50 percent over 2011, Click said. Oklahoma City and Tulsa led the state in growth, but many areas across the state are seeing increased building activity.
“I can tell you that Oklahoma is definitely among the enviable states in the nation as it relates to our housing market, and we're very blessed to be able to say that,” he said.
Help for businesses, consumers
Click already is getting down to business. One big to-do item on his 2013 list is to reach out to professionals who could benefit from the state association's work. “I'm continually surprised at the number of builders, specialized contractors, suppliers and trades who aren't aware of what our association does,” he said.
That effort is just now getting under way, he said, and videos are among the tools he plans to deploy.
Meanwhile, Click said association officials are keeping a close eye on workers' compensation this year as the Legislature gears up to go back into session.