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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Rolfe’

The Long, Long Trailer, Keith Olbermann’s ‘Trailer Park Trash’ – Frank Rolfe, Mobile Home University, Response

April 24th, 2017 No comments

It is amazing to me that any media person can stereotype millions of Americans without being worried about their career being at stake.

In today’s politically correct world, why is it acceptable to use such a derogatory term as trailer park trash?

Newscasters and journalists are losing their careers over the use of every other insulting slang term  — however minor — simply from special interest groups threatening to boycott the advertisers. So why is “trailer trash” the one insulting term in the U.S. that you can use without any fear of reprisal? Is it because the average American feels it’s true, thanks to the consistent negative portrayal of the industry in the media?

Not too long ago, the reverse was true. “The Long, Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball was a big film in 1953. Elvis lived in a “trailer park” in the films “It Happened at the World’s Fair” in 1963 and “Speedway” in 1968. Back then, the media portrayed “trailer park trash” as wearing tuxedos and driving sports cars — a 180 degree difference.

So why did they change their tune?

I think that education is the solution. Those in the industry know that there are some terrible properties out there, but they are a tiny fringe group of the 44,000 communities in the U.S. The average manufactured home community resembles a traditional subdivision — sometimes nicer than the surrounding subdivisions. We can only change the “trailer park trash” stereotype by convincing the general public that the term is unfair and offensive and not a statement of fact. That would generate a grassroots movement to protest the term aggressively and that, in turn, would scare the media away from ever using it again. If any journalist who uttered the phrase “trailer park trash” immediately lost their job, then it would disappear overnight.

So how do you educate the public about what our residents are really like? One method would be to fire off a barrage of articles — backed up by facts — on why the term has no place in a modern America; tied, via Google, to every article in which the negative terms are used.

Another would be to talk openly and honestly to the media and let them walk properties and talk to residents and break down their perceptions.

Finally — and this would be very expensive — to do a proactive public relations campaign that is clever and effective.

Am I offended by the term “trailer park trash” in the media recently? Certainly. I’m also disappointed and amazed. But I think it also serves as a wake-up call that our industry has a huge amount of work to do. When these negative terms disappear forever, then we will have done our job and elevated the industry to the next level.  ##

FrankRolfeRVHorizonsMobileHomeUnivtKeithOlbermannTrailerParkTrashRemarkIndustryVoicesManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

The headline and this graphic are produced and provided by MHProNews, a common practice among many in media to illustrate opinion or letters to the editor columns.

FrankRolfeRVHorizonsMHUnivPostedINdustryVoicesManufacturedHomeIndustryCommentaryMHProNewsFrank Rolfe
RV Horizons and Mobile Home University

(Editor’s Note 1: Rolfe’s comments are made with respect to a tweet by Keith Olbermann, published in an article on Washington, D.C.’s ‘The Hill,” see link here, or at the top, above.

Note 2: MHProNews contacted several top people at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), as well as their media contact, to give them an opportunity to share a comment or respond. As of this time, more than 48 hours later, they have not done so.)

Dare’s 3 Point Plan for Manufactured Housing Industry Recovery

June 29th, 2016 No comments

TitusDareSVPEagleOneFinancial-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-With apologies to MH Industry legend Randy Rowe and his 5 Point Plan for Industry Recovery – which is insightful and important reading – let me

suggest that what the Industry needs is a foundation that’s built upon a simple three point plan – which is really a 1 point plan – and everything else is a subset to that basic necessity.

Ready?

Education, Education, Education

James McGee and Chet Murphree said it very well on a video, its all about education. That’s sounds so simple, but they were correct, and its so true.

What keeps more lenders from entering the manufactured housing market? Education.

What does and has Triad Financial done so successfully for years to bring more lenders into the manufactured housing space? In a phrase, they’ve educated bankers and credit unions to the realities of modern manufactured homes.

The Three Forms of Education needed for MH Industry Recovery are these:

1) Public Education

Consumers must be exposed – educated – about the product.

This can happen at events, online, at a retail center, community, factory, visiting a friend’s manufactured home, etc. The more the public is educated, the better they understand our product and the more they will buy it.

The secret sauce for manufactured housing success is to attract and sell more credit worthy buyers, which in turn will cause the stigma to subside. As more millionaires and the mid-to-upper middle class buyers purchase a new manufactured or modular home, the more success the industry will enjoy in selling the entry level market that no one but manufactured housing can successfully serve without serious public subsidies.

EducationIsAKeyToProfitablyAdvanceManufacturedHousing-TitusDare-imagecredit-MHProNews-com

Editor’s note – All images on this page, save Titus’ photo, are provided by MHProNews.com as illustrations for his message, and were not sent by the author.

2) Outside MH Professional Education

Want More Lenders? Be it the GSEs, or others, education – not a sales job, education is at the heart of what’s needed. Educate them on how the existing industry lenders do it successfully. Do what Don Glisson’s team has done, or what I’ve been a part of doing in MH for many years.

Some 80% of HUD Code MH sales make appraisal, so 20% of potential sales don’t meet appraisal.

Want more appraisers to give better appraisals on manufactured homes? Then, you better help them get their arms around the nuances between the upper end homes and the entry level homes, underscoring the point that they are all built to the HUD Code and are safe, durable and energy efficient. Educate them!

Want more public officials to say yes to manufactured housing? Educating the public, and creating their demand for the product – while also educating local, state and national officials – educating each of those groups are essential. Each must be educated uniquely, but each form of outreach should take place at the same time.

Want more developers, Realtors ® and other housing professionals to embrace manufactured homes? Isn’t that also about education?

Make no mistake about it – the industry has to reach out to a myriad of other groups and professionals if it is to achieve its potential. But the rewards will be worth the effort.

Inside MH Professional Education

To sell more of the upscale buyers, and to convince more public officials, mainstream media etc. – all of those are educational efforts, that requires better motivated, informed and yes – educated industry professionals.

Some in the industry are truly forward looking. Others are hoping for a return to Conseco and Greentree days. The later won’t happen and wouldn’t work for long if it did.

For the Industry to attract new capital, we must prove we are educated enough ourselves to be thinking about ways so that everyone in the mix will benefit and win.

The win-lose days are over.

Further, you don’t usually sell a millionaire the same way you do that customer who can just barely qualify for the least expensive entry level house. You have to approach every prospect based upon their unique needs, wants, world view and expectations.

All of that and more are a matter of training, of education.

What Won’t Work

What’s clear is that manufactured housing endured over a decade of downturn, followed by a modest roughly 6 years of recovery.

We may have the best product ever, but what attracted those new lenders in the past and what attracted developers and other housing professionals to MH before was what appeared to be the opportunity to do volume and to do it in a profitable way.

MH was once one out of every 4 new homes hooked up to electrical service in the U.S. Today, its a fraction of that total.

We can’t tilt at windmills, we can’t cry over split milk, but we can learn our lessons. That learning…is education! So we can begin to educate our way back to success.

4S=SafeSoundSanitarySustainable-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-

In case you missed it, click the link above to see Titus’ original column on MHProNews.

Every step of what it takes to be successful in lending, which is critical for the advancement of this or any other big ticket industry, must be connected to those 4S I mentioned in my first column.

The news is breaking as I’m writing this today that YES! Communities is being pursued on a 2 billion dollar potential buyout. Whatever happens on that deal, we know that several billions in MHC transactions have already taken place in the last year. That tells us what we already know.

Manufactured housing has demand, because affordable housing has demand.

What did Frank Rolfe say on that video? People hate their apartments. Rolfe and his associates are growing because they understand a key aspect of affordable housing. Price and payment sells!

Exaggerating to make the Point

In truth, education, education, education is a key.

But there are subsets to that, where experts in lending, in developing, in production of HUD Code and modular homes, in proper installations, in safe transit, insuring, supplying, associations, legal minds and other experts all play a role. So I’m exaggerating education a bit to make the point.

Over the years, at educational events I was part of to promote manufactured housing lending and manufactured housing as the ideal source for affordable housing for potentially millions of people, I had the opportunity to meet all sorts of Industry pros.

I’ve mentioned Don Glisson Jr. and Rick Rand, but there was also the Claytons, Dan Rolfes, Lad Dawson, Marty Lavin, Dick Ernst, Phil Surles, Joe Stegemeyer and so many others I could fill this page with their names. Each one brought certain qualities to the table.

That’s what must happen again – bring together the best minds, to educate – and education is the best form of promotion that manufactured housing could possible offer for the future.

Is there more to do than educate?

You bet, and with Tony okay to publish it, I’ll gladly share that in a future column too. Let’s note that Tony and his team and sponsors have already started this educational ball rolling on MHLivingNews – educating the public and public officials, and on MHProNews by sharing the insights, interviews, comments, news and opinions that so many have on these pages over the years.

End the Fear, and the Growth Will Follow

One piece of the advancement puzzle is ending fear. Education overcomes the paralysis of fear, or the no that fears cause. State or national associations clearly have many potential roles to play.

Come on in the water is fine” won’t work when trying to get the FHFA, GSEs or anyone else to come to the manufactured housing table on doing long term chattle-style (home only) mortgage lending.

As a career banker and a true believer that MH can, and will, solve our housing crisis in America, I ask each member of this great industry to pull together and refocus the efforts of the industry on education, education, education for the next 3 to 5 years. I believe the results for the MH industry and all those involved will be astounding. ##

(Editor’s note – the headline was written by MHProNews, the contents of this message were sent to us by the author; we note that so that readers don’t get the impression that Titus Dare named himself in the headline! 😉

TitusDareSVPEagleOneFinancial-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-By Titus Dare
Senior Vice-President
EagleOne Financial, Inc.

Appalled by Gary Rivlin’s New York Times Article on “The Cold, Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U”

April 8th, 2014 No comments

As an experienced industry professional, former owner of a manufactured home, and academic scholar completing a dissertation on attitudes and perceptions towards manufactured housing, I am appalled by the seemingly acceptable exploitation of low-income residents and lack of corporate social and ethical responsibility conveyed in this article.

Gary Rivlin’s article portrayed Frank Rolfe’s business model and success as the standard for the affordable housing side of the manufactured home industry.

According to peer-reviewed academic research, the negative social construction of low-income families profoundly influence opinions of affordable housing residents (Nguyen et al., 2012).

Contemporary mass media and popular culture, such as Rivlin’s piece, contribute to the negative stigmatization through the depiction of manufactured housing residents as alcoholics, crack heads, drug dealers, wife beaters, sex offenders, and the mentally ill (Kusenbach, 2009).

While Rolfe’s tales of tenants “weirdness” certainly adds humorous entertainment to his lesson of exploiting the poverty class, the damage inflicted through contributing to negative stigmatization of residents is concerning.

Rivlin’s article is a prime example of media coverage that increases misconceptions through inaccurate and outdated information, as well as the omission of information about advancements and improvements.

I am disappointed that The New York Times would contribute to the unflattering depiction of manufactured housing residents and use of deprecating names (i.e. trailer) that reduce social prestige and contribute to negative social perceptions.

According to research by Mimura et al. (2010), accurate media coverage should use proper terminology instead of dated slang words and report truthful and unbiased aspects of the product.

Perhaps Mr. Rivlin should spend some time with one of the industry manufacturers and gain an accurate perspective of the product and targeted consumer market.##

lisa-tyler-walden-university-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50-(1).pngLisa Tyler
Walden University
lisa.tyler@waldenu.edu

(Editor's Note: A broad, industry based response to the Cold Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U, which includes comments MHI's Chairman Nathan Smith and other industry veterans, is found at this link below.

http://www.ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com/sensationalistic-cold-hard-lessons-of-mobile-home-u-new-york-times-article-by-gary-rivlin-draws-manufactured-home-industry-ire-desire-and-fire/

The story linked above, as the second one below, have both been leading reads on their respective sites.

Reader responses to this topic or others of industry interest are welcomed at latonyk@gmail.com or iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com please indicated your topic in the subject line, thank you.)

Perceptions

June 12th, 2011 No comments

I was getting ready to catch a flight today, and someone shared an article that was in “The Journal” about the 2011 MHI Congress and Expo.  Written by Frank Rolfe, he stated among other things that ”he didn’t see anything remotely resembling optimism at the event.”  He also went on to state that “the plumbing fixtures show – which attracts 40,000 that same week in Vegas – is free;” “change the event to spanning a weekend, not on weekdays.  An event that’s Saturday and Sunday would allow more people from outside to attend” and “I think everyone at the show was carrying an AARP card.”

The title of the article is “Were We All at the Same Show in Vegas?”, and I was wondering the same thing after I read his article.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but what was different about our opinions and experiences is that I spent a lot of time listening – OK, maybe even eavesdropping – and videotaped over three hours of interviews and presentations made during the show.  What I captured on film are people’s perceptions of Expo and the industry.  After viewing and reviewing what I saw, heard and have witnessed since, I’d like to share my perception of Expo and our industry.

1.  Quality not Quantity.  I’ve been attending and speaking at the MHI Congress and Expo since the 90’s.  Is the show as big as it was then, and are as many people attending?  No.  But what is different now is the quality of the participants and the exhibitors.  Where else, in two or three days can you have conversations with the leaders and CEO’s of almost every top 10 manufacturer as well as the smaller but innovative leaders in our industry?  I like the intimate size that Congress is right now, but I know it’s not always going to stay this small and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to get to have conversations with people that I might have never met before.

One of my favorite experiences this year was getting to chat with Jim Clayton about his book.  I got the copy when he was a keynote speaker at Congress last year, and it made me love him and Clayton Homes even more.  For me, that was a priceless, very special experience.

2.  Optimism. I not only saw and heard optimism, I saw enthusiasm about our future.  And this wasn’t just “talk.”  Look at how Cavco has grown, and they are profitable while doing it!  I’ve visited the Champion Homes of Texas and SE of Texas plants recently, and the proof that things are getting better is that the plants are open, busy, and there are homes consistently coming down the lines.  I’ve also heard that we are running out of existing inventory homes – a great problem to have.

3.  Age of Life, Stage of Life.  I’ve always preached it’s not how old you are, but how old you feel.  One of my favorite experiences was getting to reach in and draw the winner of the iPad drawing sponsored by iCafe.  The winner may have had an AARP card, but I have a feeling he could dance me under the table any night.  He understood technology, Skyped with his grandkids, and was attending with his son who is also in the business.  I noticed that during the NCC seminars, almost everyone in my row had an iPhone, Smart Phone and/ or an iPad.  I thought (and the photos back me up) that this year’s Congress had a much younger crowd, something I’m really excited about.  We have some really exciting changes coming, and some great talent coming up through the ranks.

 

 

A company that I’m really excited about is Basic Components (BCI Inc).  They just celebrated their 25th anniversary.  Russ Chappell is sharing the reins of the company with his two sons, and I am blown away with the direction they are heading in and the products they are offering.  You need to ask them if you want to know anything more 🙂  Another great example is Thayer Long – Executive Vice President of MHI.  I’d never ask his age, but to me he’s a “youngster” that has really turned MHI around, and is changing people’s perceptions of MHI and the Factory Built Housing industry.  A great example is that after attending and exhibiting at Congress, Champion has re-joined MHI.  I doubt they’d be a part of an organization they didn’t believe in and see value in.

 

 

4.  Other Conventions.  I attend a lot of conventions and conferences, and had the opportunity to attend the plumbing fixtures show (actually KBIS – Kitchen Bath Industry Show) that Mr. Rolfe referenced in his article.  It was a ghost town, and what usually takes me at least two days to go thru, took me only three hours.  Kitchen & Bath Design News stated in a Feb. 2011 article that at that time, they had 5,867 registered attendees and 457 exhibitors as opposed to 44,154 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors in 2007 – the last year the show was held in Vegas.  I was the Lifestylist® for the New American Home – the official show home for the International Builders Show (IBS) in Orlando this year, and their attendance was around 1/2 of what it had been in the past.  Mr. Rolfe also stated that admission to KBIS is free – not necessarily true.  You can visit the exhibits for free, but full registration including the seminars is comparable to Congress.  The same is true at IBS: visiting the exhibit floor is free, but the rest costs about the same (except for the $5.00 coffee and $4.00 water at IBS).  Making it free to visit the exhibits is fine, but will it bring customers or just lookers?  With all that Congress offers, you really can’t compare it to the other shows because including the awards and luncheon, keynote, seminars, and all of the wonderful meals they feed us truly sets it apart.

I am on the Design Council for Thermador Appliances, and they have stopped exhibiting at KBIS and IBS because they have chosen to focus on their customers and potential customers in a more intimate setting, where they can give them their undivided attention.  To me, this is exactly what Congress offers – instead of 1,000’s of people looking for free pens and bottle openers, you get the decision makers who are truly interested in what you do, and you are afforded the time to have a real discussion with them.  Plus, one of the things that Congress offers that I think is brilliant is offering food and drinks in the exhibit area.   Food is expensive in Vegas, and having the opportunity to enjoy some great food while spending time with others in my industry is a great service.  I discovered some great products and services I wasn’t aware of at this year’s Expo, and I plan on doing business with them.

 

 

Lastly, I think Thayer Long, Ann Parman and the other tireless members of the MHI team should be congratulated for putting on a first class event.  It’s an event I won’t miss, and some of my favorite times and stories have happened in Vegas.  But you know what they say – What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas…  unless you ask.  I would love to share my experiences – you can view some of my interviews at: www.lifestylist.tv and on my YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/lifestylist.  Because business has been so good, I’ve been too busy to get all of them up – there will be more to come.  If you have a positive story about the industry, please share it with me at: answers@lifestylist.com – let’s share why “Now’s The Time To Buy” a new factory built home!

Photos by Lisa Stewart – Lisa Stewart Photography # #

Suzanne Felber, Lifestylist®, 214-941-8341, or email answers@lifestylist.com