A Cup of Coffee with… Cheryl Hardee

Cup of Coffee1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at what organization or firm)

Cheryl Hardee
Director, Business Development
Manufactured Housing Institute

2) Background

I have been with MHI for 20 years in various departments such as Technical Activities, Public Affairs, Membership and am currently Director, Business Development. I have had the honor of working with some of the best in the industry and have learned a lot along the way. I have seen the industry when it was at its high points and in tougher times. Though the industry has gone through changes, one thing remains the same – manufactured and modular housing offer the best value for homebuyers, especially in today’s housing marketplace where homebuyers are more focused on the environment, energy efficiency, affordability, state of the art design and features and more.

3) What are your personal interests or hobbies? How do you like to spend non-work time?

I spend most of my time with my two children, Jennifer 13 and Joseph 11. I also enjoy gardening, being outdoors, long walks with my dog, and the beach.

4) How do you personally like to respond to challenges that come up for you professionally? (In other words, how do you try to tackle problems and arrive at effective solutions?)

Challenges arise all the time, but that keeps life interesting. I would say that I tackle challenges head on and use my years of experience and all available resources possible to come up with the most effective solution.

5) How can the industry best work together to face its current challenges?

We all know the major issues the industry is facing. The next question you should ask yourself is “how can I help make a difference?” The answer to that is through membership to Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), National Communities Council (NCC), National Retailers Council (NRC) or National Modular Housing Council (NMHC). MHI is the only national trade association representing all sectors of the manufactured and modular housing industries. Information on joining can be found at http://www.manufacturedhousing.org/membership/default.asp. MHI has been as effective as ever advancing the industry’s cause in one of the most active legislative and regulatory periods we have ever faced.

With the support of our membership, we achieved several important successes including:

MHI was successful in amending a Senate bill relating to enhanced formaldehyde standards for finished wood products. The bill will now allow all manufactured homes constructed to existing formaldehyde standards to be sold, even after the new standards become effective;

MHI was successful in amending a bill that would create a new Consumer Finance Protection Agency (CFPA). The CFPA would be an independent agency that would regulate all financial products including home loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.The amended bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives would exclude manufactured and modular housing retailers from jurisdiction of the CFPA;

Expedited implementation of the new FHA Title I (home only) loan limits;

Expanded Small Business Administration (SBA) pilot loan programs to include inventory financing for manufactured homes;

MHI supported the extension of the $8,000 First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit for manufactured homebuyers and both manufactured housing real and personal property are eligible;

In addition, MHI has continued to advocate and represent the industry on a variety of issues to Congress and the federal agencies. Here are just a few:

MHI members met with the new FHA Commissioner to emphasize the importance of financing for our industry and we have continued to cultivate a good relationship with his office and staff;

MHI is using all its influence to hasten Ginnie Mae’s lifting of the moratorium for issuers of securities back by FHA manufactured home loans;

MHI is advocating for a $7500 rebate to owners of pre-HUD-Code homes who purchase a new Energy Star manufactured homes;

MHI is leading the way with the HUD Office of Manufactured Housing- proposed changes to the standard and regulations of manufactured housing, and weighing in on important issues regarding sprinklers and code preemption;

MHI has taken a lead role with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure implementation of energy amendments to the HUD Code considers our affordability factor, as directed by federal law;

MHI is working to continually expand access to capital for all our members- from consumer loans, to land-lease community lending programs and inventory financing- and is even developing strategies to help community operators doing in-house lending find solutions.

6. Why is membership so important?

Membership and support in MHI are critical to ensuring the industry’s continued success. It is the key to excellent networking opportunities with the top professionals in the industry, attending member only meetings to stay on top of the latest trends and industry information, to have your voice heard on industry issues by being involved in committees and task forces, and to show your support for this industry which is appreciated by other members and will help improve your business.

Through proactive programs and initiatives, MHI works closely with its membership to improve the business climate for the industry and to improve the regulatory environment. MHI’s structure allows for a strong, unified voice for the industry to legislative, regulatory and public organizations, and MHI is recognized as a leader by lawmakers and housing related groups that shape the nation’s future policies and practices.

Consider this, manufactured and modular housing are already ahead of the curve when it comes to providing quality, affordability, state of the art design, quick delivery, efficiencies found in the factory building process, energy efficiency and so much more! For this industry to realize its huge potential, the association needs the support of all involved in the industry.

For information on joining, please visit www.manufacturedhousing.org.

7. Any other advice?

It is more important than ever to take advantage of valuable networking opportunities and to stay on top of the latest trends in the industry. The 2010 National Congress & Expo, scheduled for April 13-15, 2010 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas will provide the best in programming and networking opportunities for the largest yearly gathering of hundreds of industry leaders. This is also the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the National Congress & Expo.

Some highlights of the show “Facing the Challenge: Building A Bright Future:”

  • Jim Clayton, President of Clayton Bank & Trust will deliver the keynote address
  • Dr. Harold Gross, President of Market Research Answers, Inc., will provide attendees with a housing forecast by examining generational trends.
  • The MHI National Communities Council (NCC) and the Urban Land Institute’s Manufactured Housing Communities Council (MHCC) will co-host the 2010 National Communities Forum in on April 13th. This will be the premiere land-lease community event of the year with unprecedented networking opportunities.
  • A variety of educational workshops will be held on Sales, Community Management and Development with highly respected speakers.

For more information or to register, please visit www.congressandexpo.com. We hope to see you there!

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