Don’t Lower the Bar!
Blog Posting #617 @ 18 December 2020; Copyright 2020: EducateMHC
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’
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INTRODUCTION: Talk about a disparate collection of topics in one blog; this one ‘takes the cake’, so to speak. Part I voices my concern the RV/MH Hall of Fame continues to enforce its’ high standards of selection for induction into that august body. Part II. Begins to make the case for needing an economist who studies, researches, and knowledgeably talks of the manufactured housing industry and land lease community asset class. And Part III is a mix of personal reflection and industry challenge, as to where helpful resources for land lease community owners/operators will come from in the not too distant future.
Don’t Lower the Bar!
Induction Into the RV/MH Hall of Fame Should Never be
a Routine ‘End of Career’ Award.
More than 400 deserving RV & MH businessmen and women have been inducted into the prestigious RV/MH Hall of Fame since 1972. The inductees have been notable pioneers and leaders within their respective industries and segments thereof; founders and nurturers of companies; inventors and industry trend setters; and on occasion, charismatic leaders of industry advocacy groups, some of whom created venues advancing the interests of manufactured housing and recreational vehicles.
Website guidelines for nomination of individuals for induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame:
• “Nominee must be, or have been, an active participant in any segment of the recreation vehicle or manufactured housing industries for a minimum of 25 years.”
• “Consideration will be given to nominee’s overall contributions to the good of the industry, to include both his or her positions, accomplishments, and innovations on the job as well as volunteer work both inside and outside the industry, with special emphasis on volunteer work done on behalf of state and national associations and owner groups, the Hall of Fame itself, and other industry-related organizations and causes.”
• And answer these two pithy questions: 1) “Is the nominee a respected, accomplished, honorable person who has done right by his/her business partners, and 2) Has the nominee contributed to the good of the industry beyond doing his job well?”
So, those are the high standards, pretty much in play since 1972.
During the past decade of four that I’ve been associated with the RV/MH Hall of Fame as a $ donor, meetings host, and 2011 inductee, I’ve noticed, in my opinion, slips in enforcing high standards of selection, during screening of candidates being considered for induction into this exclusive and honorable coterie of deserving individuals. Some examples of lowering the bar:
• Individuals inducted who’ve enjoyed decade’s long careers, with one or more firms or trade associations, but possess no worthy distinctions, like being a corporate founder, in receipt of significant industry honors, or having served as an elected national leader.
• Trade association executives nominating individuals who’ve been helpful to them, and said organization, but have no outstanding credentials nor received industry accolades.
• Courting of high wealth individuals for significant donations to the RV/MH Hall of Fame; who once inducted, disappear from the business scene via retirement and otherwise.
• End of tour awards. Here, individuals ‘everyone likes’ are recommended, but do not otherwise stand out among their peers, relative to implementing industry advances, filling key leadership roles, and or earning career distinctions and awards.
I am concerned about this matter since I’ve not seen or heard anyone else express concern, let alone awareness of such slippage. But given the number of applications and nominations now received at the RV/MH Foundation each year, it behooves the board of directors’ selection committee, to ensure continued selection of high quality inductees.
As two industries, MH & RV, we’re fortunate to have the RV/MH Hall of Fame as a high profile and seasoned means of annually honoring deserving individuals. Let’s not diminish this prestigious vehicle by compromising the high standards of selection for induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame!
Manufactured Housing Needs Its Own Economist!
Did you sit in on the MHI-sponsored webinar, 15 December, titled: ‘The State of the Housing Market & Implications for Manufactured Housing’? If you did, you learned Freddie Mac’s VP & chief economist, Sam Kahter’s Four Talking Points relative to the national economy at large (macro view), but very little about relevance to HUD-Code manufactured housing (micro view), even less so about land lease communities.
Four Points – as I recall them, due to too short time allowed for viewing the Power Point slide.
• National economy is still in the hole, and with latest resurgence of the coronavirus, pushing us deeper into that hole; e.g. 33 percent national economic decline last spring, but back halfway since then – now slowed.
• Some cyclical bright spots, including housing (but not manufactured housing, as it was not mentioned until later in the hour long presentation)
• Growth in labor market stopped for a while, started back strongly, but now slowed; e.g. 20 million jobs lost, but with 10 million reclaimed to date.
• Low inventory. Retail sales (e.g. home repairs and remodeling) recovered faster than industrial productions ability to keep up, due to supply and labor shortages.
Sam Khater is the first economist, I’ve heard or read to date, to attach the ‘2020 Coronavirus Recession’ label to what we’ve all endured from March 2020 to date.
This brings me back to the title of Part II of this blog posting: Manufactured Housing Needs Its Own Economist! Wonder how many of you remember we once had a Dr. degreed individual on MHI’s staff as ‘manufactured housing economist’? He didn’t last very long – due as I recall, to our industry ‘tanking’ once again. And though he did try to ‘survive & succeed’ as a freelance economist for the manufactured housing industry, in DC. that didn’t work out either.
So, why do we need our own economist? That should be obvious. When was the last time you sat and listened to an economist hold forth on the manufactured housing economy, relative to ‘supply & demand’, as well as researched benchmark statistics relative to housing production and sales, and land lease community operating parameters? And this information shortfall will not improve unless and until we do it ourselves as an industry and realty asset class!
‘I’ve Accomplished My Goal Over & Over & Over Again!’
Some of this tale has been told before, in the pages of the semi-autobiography, history of land lease communities, and Official Record of MH Shipments, titled: SWAN SONG.*1 Specifically, I was a reluctant property manager when arriving on the ‘mobile home park’ scene in 1978. Initially perplexed with the four under-performing properties challenge ahead of me, I was soon motivated, when I committed to the Career Goal of creating and providing practical resources to a unique, income-property type that was primitive, unsophisticated, and under-appreciated at the time!
The rest of this tale will be told in the January 2021 issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter. In it I identify 18 products and services we enjoy today, as land lease community owners/operators, that did not exist in 1978. In fact, three of those 18 resources will be embodied in said newsletter (i.e. #1 resource), with 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT as an addendum (i.e. #2 resource); and, the ‘MHShipment Volume for November 2020, & Stock Market Report for early December 2020’ (i.e. #3 resource).*2
I encourage you to read the January issue of the newsletter, not only for the ‘first time’ information shared therein, but to ponder this question: ‘Who will continue the resource sourcing Career Goal, beyond year 2020?’ Oh, I’m not going anywhere, beyond semi-retirement, anytime soon (I hope), but the question bears thought and discussion. Otherwise, ‘someday’ no one will be looking after your business interests as we have (i.e. EducateMHC), since 1978. Think about it…
1. Available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com or via phoning Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.
George Allen, CPM, MHM