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Manufactured Home Factory Tour with my Congressman

June 5th, 2014 No comments

Back in February when I visited with Congressman Bill Flores in Washington, I asked him if he had ever toured a manufactured housing plant.A couple of months ago, one of his staffers contacted me wanting information about the manufacturing facilities in Waco.I had replied with information about Fleetwood Waco and about Clayton Homes two facilities in Waco.I gave him information on the Clayton and Fleetwood facilities, explaining that while as TMHA Chairman I represented the entire state, my retail location had carried Fleetwood product for some years, but that I was sure either company would be more than willing to provide a tour.

Last Wednesday, I received an email from his scheduler, Jessica Harrison for contacting me about Representative Flores coming to visit Fleetwood Homes manufacturing facility in Waco.

Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) Director D.J. Pendleton, myself, and Gay Westbrook of the MHI, made the trip as well as Don McCann, the manager of the Clayton Homes Waco manufacturing facilities.We were joined there by Ray Parma and Zach Sanders, the GM and Sales Manager respectively of Fleetwood Waco. 

I can report to everyone that the visit and tour went outstandingly well.

Rep. Flores was very engaging of plant manager Ray Parma; the congressman asked questions during the plant tour about everything from frame camber, to shear wall design and how it impacted tie-downs.  I could just see Ray’s eyes gleaming with getting to share his many years of experience at the plant. It was a pleasure to all of us in attendance that the congressman genuinely cared about what went into our products and the people who made them.Zach had the opportunity to visit with his District Director during the tour and field questions from him as well.

fleetwood-plant-tour 6-2-2014-for-congressional-representative-flores-550x512-.png

While we can all brag about our differing product lines at shows and conventions, Ray and Don gave a great one-two punch by providing Rep. Flores with fact that between their facilities in Waco alone, there were over 750 constituent employees in his district and at least that many more in vendors that provide material for those facilities.

Rep. Flores met with all of us after the plant tour and discussed not only Dodd-Frank legislation and the CFPB, but also things that affect manufacturing facilities such as OSHA inspections and health care for employees.  It was good to see friendly competitors coming together to express concerns to the congressman. 

All in all, it was a great visit.

My sincerest thanks to all who took time out of their schedules to be a part of the event and thanks to past MHI Chairman and current Cavco CEO and Chairman, Joe Stegmayer, for allowing the use of the Waco facility for the tour. ##

karl-radde-texas-manufactured-housing-association-chairman-mhi-retailer-division-vice-chairman-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-pro-news-mhpronews-comKarl Radde, GM
Southern Comfort Homes
Chair of TMHA and Vice-Chair of MHI National Retailer’s Council
karl@schomestx.com

The RV Industry is Attempting to Amend the HUD Manufactured Housing Code

May 28th, 2014 No comments

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is pushing a proposal through the U.S. Congress to change the definition of manufactured home in the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act.  The proposed change would specifically exclude certain “RV trailers,” including Park Model RVs, from the definition of a manufactured home in the federal HUD Code.

The stated purpose of the proposed change is to provide regulatory certainty to lenders, state or local taxation and land use officials that a Park Model RV is a recreational vehicle, not a manufactured home.

Their urgency for this change is that some lenders are apprehensive about making Park Model RV loans in light of the new Dodd-Frank Act requirements.

A concern with the language, as proposed, is that it may allow ANSI Park Model RVs to expand beyond the current 400 square foot size limitation. 

This would be harmful to the HUD-Code RV Park Model industry in states like Florida by encouraging the sale of ANSI Park Models that exceed 400 square feet.

The proposed amendment states, “a park model RV that has a gross area not greater than 400 square feet based on the exterior dimensions of the unit measured at the largest horizontal projections in the set-up mode, including all floor space that has a ceiling height of more than 5 feet” (emphasis added). 

The ceiling height language was inserted to codify a 1997 HUD interpretation that loft areas which are less than 5’0” in height are not considered in determining the size of the structure. The proposed language does not limit the ceiling height exclusion to loft areas, thus allowing for the possibility of “slide-out rooms” or “build-outs” less than 5 feet high.

RVIA is emphatic that the intent is not to increase the size of ANSI Park Model RVs.

According to RVIA, concerns about enlarging the size of Park Model RVs are unfounded because specific rules are in place to measure the size and calculate the square footage of Park Model RVs. Additionally, Park Model RVs are built to standards administered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a national voluntary consensus body. The ANSI A119.5 standards would have to be amended to allow for larger structures.

While these safeguards are in place today, the statute will drive future requirements. If the federal law is ambiguous enough to assert that larger ANSI RV Park Models are allowed, then the rules will change to accommodate this view. 

The RVIA is working hard to get this amendment accomplished during the 2015 HUD appropriations process. RVIA is not looking for industry support, but rather seeks to quell any opposition.

MHI has taken a neutral position on the proposal, while MHARR is adamantly opposed to it.

This proposed change to the National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act will have a negative impact on the HUD-Code Park Model industry in Florida. Most Park Models are permanently sited and larger ANSI Park Model RVs will encourage permanent, year round living. ANSI Park Model RVs are designed and intended for recreational use and seasonal living only and are not built to the more stringent HUD building code.

The Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) has asked RVIA to consider amending its proposal to specify that the 5 foot ceiling height exemption applies to loft areas only. This will ensure that ANSI Park Model RVs are not built in excess of 400 square feet.

Reasserting the current size restriction in the proposed amendment will satisfy the RV industry’s objective of clarifying the differences between ANSI Park Model RVs and HUD manufactured homes for financing and land use purposes, while promoting ANSI Park Model RVs as a desirable option for recreational and seasonal accommodations. ##

james-ayotte-Florida-Manufactured-Housing-Association-posted-on-mhpronewsJames R. Ayotte, CAE
Executive Director
Florida Manufactured Housing Association
3606 Maclay Blvd. South – Suite 200
Tallahassee, FL 32312
Ph:(850) 907-9111
F:850) 907-9119
jayotte@fmha.org
www.fmha.org

Grass Cutting, Delinquency Goals and Modern Marketing

January 27th, 2014 No comments

Tony,

Just wanted to leave a quick note about the educational seminar you spoke at regarding “Modern Marketing.” I brought a few community managers along for your presentation…it was a real eye opener for them and me. While we take pride in the fact that our managers and staff maintain their communities and do a good job in collecting site rent, there is more to being successful than cutting grass and meeting the delinquency goals. The days when our customers came to us bringing their homes into our communities are long gone. If we can implement just a few of the ideas from your presentation it will make a huge difference how we will be able to attract potential customers to purchase homes and live in our communities.

I will certainly bring more of my community managers along if you will be speaking again at the 2015 Louisville Home Show.

continental-communities-logo.jpgRegards,
Ted Gross
Theodore M. Gross
Operations Manager
Continental Communities, LLC

The Chairman’s View – Great Southwest Home Show in Tulsa

May 28th, 2010 No comments

Quick Trip Center with the "Golden  Driller" the largest free standing statue in the world.
Quick Trip Center with the "Golden Driller"
the largest free standing statue in the world.

The Great Southwest Home Show concluded its second year and had the added feature of a Public Days segment to bolster its viability. Due to time restrictions on the availability of the facility, Public Days were held on Friday evening and all day Saturday after the conclusion of Retailer Days on Friday afternoon. Over 1500 people attended Public Days and the retailers showing homes expressed high levels of satisfaction with both the public’s reception to the display and the actual sales results that occurred during the public display period.


The Great Southwest Home Show had two other events associated with it. One event was the state convention for the Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma (MHAO). MHAO conducted the convention in tandem with the show in an effort to assist manufacturing participants in streamlining expenses. Instead of a trip to Oklahoma for a show in the Spring and a return trip for a convention in August, a single trip sufficed. The convention attendance was much higher than had been experienced for about a decade and plans are to keep the events linked in the future.

Manufacturers enjoy the benefits of an indoor facility.
Manufacturers enjoy the benefits of an indoor facility.

The second event held in association with the Great Southwest Home Show was the face-to-face meeting held at least annually by the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) along with assigned staff members from HUD’s offices in Washington, DC. I had originally proposed this associated meeting over a year ago when the first Great Southwest Home Show was held. Bill Matchneer from HUD did attend that show and was sufficiently impressed to bring about the associated meeting for the second year of the show. The meeting participants were allowed special access to the display homes on Wednesday afternoon prior to the official opening of the show on Thursday. Both HUD officials and committee members were greatly impressed by the quality and affordability of the thirty plus homes on display at Tulsa’s Quick Trip Center. Some of the meeting participants had never been in a manufactured home prior to those they toured at the Great Southwest Home Show. Hopefully HUD will see the benefit of at least periodically holding the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee in association with the Great Southwest Home Show.

Supplier booths are conveniently set up in the middle of the  display homes.
Supplier booths are conveniently set up in the middle of the display homes.

While Bill Matchneer had been the driving force behind getting the MHCC to Tulsa for the show, his replacement Teresa Payne did not skip a beat as she led the HUD delegation and the MHCC to the event. HUD staff and the MHCC members attended the MHAO convention dinner on Wednesday evening and Teresa Payne wowed the crowd with her opening line (“Manufactured Housing rocks!”) as the keynote speaker at the convention dinner. The dinner marked the first time in its almost 10 year history that the MHCC committee had actually attended an industry event and got a chance to converse with a broad spectrum of industry members.

Teresa Payne highlighting the HUD Code label

Teresa Payne highlighting the HUD Code label

The Quick Trip Center in Tulsa is an ideal facility for hosting such an event as the Great Southwest Home Show. The Quick Trip Center is largest open span structure in the United States with 10.5 acres that is indoors and air conditioned. With in-floor electricity to each display location, generators are not needed. Manufacturers can set up, conduct the show days, and tear down and not have to worry about whether or not rain storms are headed their way. While dealer traffic was lower than expected on Friday overall manufacturer’s response was positive with several reporting that they planned to increase the size of their display next year.

'Dualing remotes' being set up by two radio stations for public  days.

‘Dualing remotes’ being set up by two radio stations for public days.

Educational seminars were also included in the show agenda at no charge for the attendees. Speakers were John Delves and Kurt Kelly. John Delves taught three sessions that focused on selling skills and performing well in a down economy. Kurt Kelly addressed 24/7 communication with clients. All seminars were well attended and both speakers received great reviews. The seminars are conducted on the day before the show opens in the same format that I enjoyed some thirty years ago when I would go to the Louisville Show. We plan to continue to offer the educational seminars which also serve as Continuing Education credits.

Aisle shot at the QT Center

Aisle shot at the QT Center

Retailers that stayed over to work on Public Days paid extra for that opportunity in order to cover the promotional expenses for the time period. As mentioned previously, the retailer response was overwhelmingly positive. The Great Southwest Home Show has a unique ability to conduct the Public Days since unlike other shows in the nation, the Great Southwest Home Show is conducted in a secure indoor facility and in is located in a large city from which to draw the attendance. We look forward to growing the show and conducting it for many years in the future. Special recognition and thanks need to be given to both Deanna Fields, the Executive Director of MHAO and Dennis Hill from Show Ways Unlimited. Both worked tirelessly on the event and were crucial to its success.

Doug Gorman
Show Chairman
The Great Southwest Home Show

For more information and photos, see Suzanne Felber’s report and Tony Kovach’s photo report.