Posts Tagged ‘Joe Kelly’

More Manufactured Home Loans Means More Homes Sold in 2016

December 7th, 2015 No comments

We’ve been talking about getting some relief from the Dodd–Frank law. We have an opportunity to get that done this year. The situation is that we getting very close to final decisions being made about what policy material will be included in the very large omnibus appropriations bill. It’s literally all the appropriations bills rolled into one bill. There will be winners and losers in this process. Not every policy matter that interest groups want will be included in the bill.

The winners will be those who want it the most. Do you really want some reform this year? Do you want more lending for 2016?  If so, please contact your House member and two Senators.

We can’t presume they will help us. Even if they have indicated support, we have to keep reminding them. It’s a mad house there as Congress tries to close out business for the year.

Take a couple of minutes today – not tomorrow, or some day soon – to click on the link below.

This link is MHI’s system to contact your two Senators and your House members. It’s really easy and quick.

Let’s do it now!



P.S. We really need to win this year….conditions are always changing in Congress. We never know what the situation will be like in 2016. It’s an election year and bills will be harder to pass next year!

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-1Joe Kelly

Iowa Manufactured Housing Association


(Editor’s note, please see Ross Kinzler’s OpEd on this same topic at this link.)

Back To The Future: An Eerie Episode in Iowa

August 6th, 2015 1 comment

It was a thrill to be inducted on August 3rd into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.  At the banquet, during my remarks, I noted that I wanted to tell a story, but three minutes were not enough to do the story justice.  It’s a story that is historically accurate, ironic, and ends with a “what if.”

The story is about a particular day in history, Friday, December 5, 1947.  The story relates to the founding of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association, or the Iowa Trailer Coach Association, as it was known then.  Finally, the story is also about another event which happened on the same day in Des Moines, Iowa.

I’ve always imagined that a few of the industry leaders in Des Moines left their attorney’s office on December 5th, 1947 and headed to the Secretary of State’s office to file the articles of incorporation for the founding of the association. I’m thinking that because it seems people were a bit more formal in those days.  If you look at some of the photos of early association meetings, all the men wore suits.  The women wore their best outfits, and all wore hats, as did many of the men.  I don’t see these guys and gals just mailing in the articles of incorporation.  Founding an association is a big deal. It’s a serious commitment. You personally take those papers to the filing site. At least you would have in 1947.

What would our industry leaders have been talking about as they made their journey and waited around for the articles to be filed?  The big event that Friday night was the heavy weight boxing championship between Champion Joe Lewis and challenger Jersey Joe Walcott. How do I know it was a big event? Reading the Des Moines Register of December 6th, 1947, the story was on page one of the paper, not the sports section, but the main section of the paper, above the fold, in large type, the size you see when a war is declared.  Of course, there was additional coverage in the sports section as well.  As it turned out, Lewis retained his title in a 15 round split decision, even though Walcott put Lewis on the canvas in two different rounds.  The crowd in New York booed the decision. Sportswriter Grantland Rice called it the weirdest decision he’d seen in 40 years of covering boxing.

The Lewis-Walcott fight is the perfect metaphor for our industry.  We’ve always been the underdog!

What was going on in Des Moines, Iowa on December 5, 1947? Many things, but here’s the beginning of the irony.  A meeting of building officials and inspectors from around the state was occurring in Des Moines on that December 5th. The keynote speaker was Bernard A. Savage, a former building code director for New York City.  Savage had left to take a job with Celotex, a building materials company. But Savage had not lost interest in public policy. He was also serving as Executive Director of the Building Officials Foundation.

His speech was highly critical of building codes.  Savage called most codes obsolete and too costly. He said most local codes were too padded in favor of materials dealers and labor unions.

And here’s where the story gets really interesting, and the irony comes into clear focus.  Savage revealed that his Building Officials Foundation had drafted a basic building code: “It is based on performance qualifications for materials.  Most codes today are of a specification type.  The codes are outdated by new materials almost as soon as they are written.”  Savage went on to say that “prefab houses and new materials are outlawed because they do not meet specifications in the codes.”

Savage concluded his speech by recommending that performance codes be adopted all across America…drafted by a non-political body.

As we all know, the site built industry and local building code officials did not listen to Bernard A. Savage in 1947.  I’m sure he made the same speech many times across the country.

The ultimate irony is that Savage’s vision came to fruition 27 years later when Congress passed the law creating the HUD building code in 1974, and the code became effective in 1976.  The code was largely lifted from the American National Standards Institute Code (ANSI), a voluntary building code, which industry leaders, with the assistance of ANSI, had crafted earlier.

Richard A. Mendlen, who became the first government official to be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame on August 3rd, verified the importance of the ANSI code, estimating that the ANSI code and the National Fire Protection Association Code accounted for 75% of what became the initial HUD code.  The last 25% of the code didn’t come easily, taking almost two years to finish. Mendlen knows.  He was the HUD Deputy Secretary in charge of getting the HUD code written.  And, to complete the story, the manufactured housing code is the performance code that Savage so wanted the site built industry and all builders to use.  It would be interesting to know how the industry arrived at using a performance code when working with ANSI.

Finally, the “what if” to this story is what would have happened if the site built code had become the first performance code?  Would our industry have adopted the same code?  If so, would our homes have been accepted more readily by government officials?

The answer to this question cannot be known for sure.

What is certain is that this industry has been blessed by many innovative and visionary leaders who have been quick to meet most challenges. Savage’s vision is still to be realized for the full building industry. ##

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-1Joe Kelly was recently inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame, read more about that event, here.




An Important Contribution to Understanding Manufactured Housing Finance

May 19th, 2015 No comments

This special report is very effective in explaining the complex topic of chattel financing and the negative impacts of Dodd-Frank.  Using a real life story, and the final, more costly financial option that the consumer had to turn to shows the devastating irony of Dodd-Frank’s causing more harm than good to the goal of affordable housing.

Congratulations on this important contribution to the understanding of the MH financial world.


Dodd-Frank and Manufactured Home Financing: The Place Where Good Intentions and Unintended Consequences Collide

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-1Joe Kelly

Iowa Manufactured Housing Association

(Editor’s Note: a number of MH Pros have praised award winning journalist Jan Hollingsworth work in the story above. Associations and corporate leaders are among those who have sent or called kudos for her story).

Kudos on Rapidly Approaching 5th Anniversary

September 4th, 2014 No comments

Congratulations to Tony and his staff for five years of excellent work with MHProNews and other MH specific publications!  I’m one of those people who have been around long enough to remember at least a significant part of the old days.  I am also one who enjoys rummaging the stack of industry publications at the MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart.  Therefore, it’s obvious that I was tied in to the traditional way of imparting industry information.

I suppose I’m also one who would not have thought that an online publication could be delivered so well.  After all, we’re not talking about a monthly publication anymore.  Tony’s world is one of constant deadlines.  His publication is one that you check daily.  MHProNews is like a well-supplied buffet line.  There’s probably no way to eat and to digest it all.  But, after quickly looking at the array of food, there’s always something of interest to digest.  Tony’s MHLivingNews publication is the same.  More information to read than you have time for. 

In checking them out, you’ll always find an article or an opinion piece of interest: something you need to know to become a more informed professional.

Another interesting trait of Tony is that he is always seeking opinions and guest essays from industry members. It’s a great business model.  Gather all the factual information you can that is relevant to a profession.  Spice that up with opinions, even those which may be controversial.  Finish that off with an unabashed love for the industry.

Tony, may there be many more years of your publications.  And I have a question for you:  when do you sleep?

joe-kelley-iowa-manufactured-housing-association-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-Joe Kelly

Executive Vice President

Iowa Manufactured Housing Association


(Editor's Note: MHProNews and the new ManufacturedHomeLivingNews both rely on healthy doses of columns, photos, graphics, videos and comments from experts, professionals and readers like you – and of course – on our growing number of sponsors.

October 2014 marks our 5th anniversary for MHProNews comments, we have others in hand but we'd value more comments on 5th anniversary topic of what this publication means to you.

Other topics of industry interest are routinely encouraged and welcome.

And Joe…one of my favorite lines from the insightful interview we did with you a few years ago…

Our future will be determined by how well we work together.

Thank You for all that you do at the IMHA!)

Cedar Rapids II: 24 Hours Well Spent

November 18th, 2012 No comments

While thankfully not as wild and dramatic as the movie Cedar Rapids, Iowa MHA Executive Director Joe Kelly and President Troy Hames, III, put on an educational and entertaining meeting this past week.

Mr. Chad Carr of Rainmaker Software gave an excellent presentation on business management and practices. Employee management, finance, and marketing were all covered in this concise presentation targeted to the small business manager audience.

In addition, the classic radio-voiced Mr. Kelly persuaded & executive L. A. “Tony” Kovach to present on marketing as well as sales, and also use to Tony's extensive industry network of friends and bring in Mr. Quentin Fogan from Merrill Lynch/ Bank of America and Mr. Mike Polencheck from Towles Financial to give all an excellent update on financing options for community owners/buyers. They discussed typical loan terms and qualifying for different types of communities, as well as options available based on loan sizes. How park owned homes affect financing options was one of many areas addressed in detail.

Iowa’s own Joanne Stevens, one of the industry’s most well-known community specialist real estate brokers, educated all with the best presentation on the community price premium associated with public vs. private utility systems that I’ve ever heard.

The entire membership was hospitable enough to laugh at the series of “entertaining” pictures associated with crazy events that have happened in communities over the years that I’ve collected.

These active and hospitable Iowans were a pleasure to be around. The 24 hours spent at the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association's 65th Annual Event were a great investment of time. I sincerely thank Joe, Troy and the entire membership for the invitation to participate. ##

Post by
Kurt Kelly
Mobile Agency

Going to the 2011 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

December 5th, 2010 1 comment

It’s great news that the Louisville Show is returning in 2011. It demonstrates that producers of factory built homes and services are positive about the future of our industry. It would be so easy not to be positive. We seem to find new impediments affecting our business every day. However, leaders are able to see further down the road. The bad laws will either be amended somewhat, or the industry will adapt. For those of you around in 1974, that was supposed to be the end of the industry because the federal government was taking over the supervision of the industry’s building code. We’ve had many such declarations of doom since the beginning of our industry. Some people just don’t believe it and figure out a way to proceed. When the Louisville Show didn’t go forward earlier this year, most people didn’t figure it would ever return. They were wrong. Thanks to forward thinking, it is back!

Let’s think about how remarkable this quick comeback really is. Many producers have found it easier and less costly just to have a show for their own retailers at company-owned factories. In that fashion, you don’t have your retailers looking over other homes at a larger setting like the Louisville MH Show. Business is difficult now. If you have a strong retailer, it might be easier to use this method, hoping the retailer won’t go to anyone else’s show.

But, on the other hand, if you’re part of a large show, then you might attract other retailers. As a company, you need to have confidence in your product. What better way to find out if your new model works than to show it off to as many retailers as possible.

In addition to the industry confidence displayed by this decision of bringing the show back, there are other benefits in having the show. For retailers and community owners, having a show of this magnitude is an excellent opportunity to visit with a large number of industry personnel and experts. Studies have shown that much of our learning experience comes from incidental learning. Going to a show, like the Louisville MH Show, gives one plenty of exposure to having informal conversations with other attendees and with experts on a wide array of topics. Formal learning is also important. The 2011 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show will have seminars on topics important to all segments of the industry.

Finally, there is just something special in being part of a large scene like the Louisville Show. When you get that many people together, there is an energy created that can’t be replicated at your office or factory. That’s why most executive directors enjoy our annual meetings. Sure, we find plenty of things to worry about: will that speaker I hired really do a good job… will the food be o.k., etc.?

What we enjoy is seeing our members come together, get excited about things, and create an energy that can propel some advancements.

That’s what the Louisville Show is all about. Even though Iowa is not a cosponsoring state, many Iowa retailers buy homes from producers who will be showing homes, products and services in Louisville. I know that Iowa retailers, as well as retailers and community owners and all industry personnel from throughout the trade area of the show, will be looking forward to attending the show in January.

Congratulations are in order for those who have brought this great show back into existence! Now it’s our turn to demonstrate the same confidence in the industry by attending and engaging ourselves in the 2011 Louisville Show, January 12-14th.


Joe Kelly
Executive Vice President of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association (IMHA), a 63-year-old trade association located in Des Moines, Iowa.