Stating what is obvious for seasoned industry veterans can surprisingly be a revelation to those who otherwise have no experience of a different era or specific events.
For example, thousands of contemporary manufactured housing industry workers, investors and professionals have no direct, experiential knowledge of the ‘go-go’ 1990s in manufactured housing. Thousands of front-line or even managerial level pros never experienced month-after-month of sales levels that were some 3.5 times as high in 1998 compared to the total production and shipments in 2019.
It should be stressed that whatever a person, organization or industry achieved before can be duplicated or even surpassed in the future. Important reasons for MHProNews to use historic data and other relevant insights are precisely to challenge the acceptance of the status quo and to inspire higher performance.
More of what is good is obviously better. The only way to shake up the status quo is to challenge the premises that keep the current circumstances operating.
As a university level researcher indicated to us exclusively in our linked 4.15 report – and as other data reflected in MHProNews’ 4.16.2020 evening market report said – there are sound reasons to believe that as tragic as this Wuhan, China originated virus is the outbreak could open the door for a potential new golden age vis-à–vis historic mobile and manufactured home (MH) industry production levels.
Once more for those who never knew those heady times, in the pre-HUD Code mobile home era, shipments soared beyond 550,000 two years running. There are ample reasons to believe that could occur again or be surpassed. But that will only occur if the lessons are learned and applied that have limited the industry during the Berkshire era.
Millions of Opportunities
Restated, potential opportunities in the wake of what Robert Kadlec, MD, the Assistant Secretary For Preparedness and Response called the “Crimson Contagion” exercise won’t be achieved unless specific steps are taken to capitalize on literally millions of opportunities to sell more manufactured homes.
As MHProNews’ exclusive KISS report and related data revealed on 4.17.2020, increased poverty and lower incomes open the door to new chances. That is arguably possible only if the industry’s independents reject the failed leadership of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, their surrogates and allies.
One of several reasons MHProNews launched periodic historical snapshots via a focused Q&A with Danny Ghorbani is because he has enjoyed a 50-year history in our industry and has a unique pinnacle on which he has perched. Not many in MHVille could frankly claim to be:
- an engineer,
- to have developed thousands of home sites for MH,
- was an MHI vice president,
- ran the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show at its apex, drawing over 10,000 domestic and international attendees plus national and regional media,
- and then with the support of visionary independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes launched what today is known as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) as its founding president.
Where is there anyone at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) who can claim anything like that pedigree?
The answer? The Arlington, VA based trade group don’t have anyone today with anything like that depth and breadth of practical industry experience. As a revolving door trade group where ‘hired gun’ names and faces come and go, is it any wonder that some key MHI staffers have no loyalty to the independents and the history of what made manufactured housing great?
Indeed, where is there any effort by MHI member firms to attract regional or national media to the industry’s trade shows? When car, boat and RV shows attract regional or national media, why have such obvious opportunities been ignored by MHI leaders? Does that help explain why RVs now outsell MH by some 5 to 1, when in 1998, MH outsold RVs by 3 to 2?
Instead, MHI has purportedly made deliberate efforts to thwart media attendance, as is evidenced by the sign below. How is barring reporters or all kinds promoting the industry?
That is not said to diminish the experiences of numbers of others in our now far more modest MHVille industry. Rather, it is to state facts. Those facts begin to set the table for why historical realities and compelling insights not only matter but could shake up the vexing status quo that existed for years since the Berkshire-era of manufactured housing began.
That noted, a contemporary example of industry experience that has a sense of history is this from Deanna Fields, Executive Director at the Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma (MHAO). The Fields’ led MHAO trade group published this list with an eye to future history. God willing, a day will come when the list by the MHAO of the changes wrought by what the anti-communist and Falun Gong movement linked Epoch Times calls the CCP Virus – short for Chinese Communist Party Virus – that are listed below will seem odd again.
Despite what people like Green Courte Partner’s David Lentz has said about the proper name of the China-originated virus, facts are what they are. Purported virtue signaling or political correctness shouldn’t be excuses used to obscure the truth. Bending the truth for PC reasons may reveal a willingness to wink at other deceptions too.
For instance. Why does MHI exaggerate their membership numbers by claiming to have 900, when their own directory lists fewer than 600? The answer may date back to Richard “Dick” Jennison tenure, who added each of the 300+ Clayton retail store locations as an individual member, instead of making them one member under the Clayton umbrella. Does MHI want to claim hundreds of more members than they actually have? What they used the Clayton retail store count strategy by counting every Sun, ELS or UMH community location? Who are MHI leaders trying to impress with statistical games?
If MHI has an ongoing history of deceptive behavior about such a relatively minor issue as their membership count, why should they be trusted on other facts and claims?
That noted, a segue to a contemporary example of industry experience with a sense of the tragically historic is this from Deanna Fields Executive Director at the Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma (MHAO).
The Fields’ led MHAO trade group published this list with an eye to future history. God willing, a day will come when the list by the MHAO of the changes wrought by what the anti-communist Falun Gong-linked Epoch Times calls the CCP Virus – short for Chinese Communist Party Virus – that are listed below will seem odd again.
That nod is useful in grasping why discernment and objectivity are useful.
MHI member Andy Gedo via LinkedIn said this in part on 4.17.2020.
“Tony: I agree with your [MHProNews] thesis that the MH industry needs devil’s advocates or contrarians. Any highly concentrated industry needs this. And you may have a point that since our industry lacks contrarians, it may be worthwhile to look to other industries for example…”
That tees up the balance of the headline topics.
Post-Pandemic Trade Show Outcomes
Because as Legacy Housing [LEGH] admitted in public statements, the cancellation of the 2020 Tunica Show apparently cost that company hundreds of floors in orders that they would normally have expected. Who said? Their own corporate leadership.
By contrast, an informed source at high-end HUD Code Franklin Homes told MHProNews that they are building happily away and have done better than the previous year, despite the travails of COVID19 and the cancellation of Tunica.
Rephrased, without going to Tunica, Franklin Homes is on an upward trajectory.
Another insider source said that independent producers Jessup Homes decided in advance not to attend Tunica, so the cancellation had no impact on them. Arguably, because no preparations were underway, that saved Jessup money.
Platinum is another independent HUD Code producer that a source says did okay at Tunica last year, but was among those that got caught up in the cancellation. As a source told MHProNews, “Platinum Cottages feels like it hurt them but who knows right now what’s true.”
There are reportedly producers that have plans for “plant shows” at their location to supplant the cancellation of the Tunica Show.
Legacy’s Curt Hodgson has stressed that rival Skyline Champion suspended operations at numbers of production facilities in the wake of what some Trump Administration officials have on occasion called China Virus outbreak.
What Will the Future Hold?
MHAO’s list shown above is a stark reminder that the world we knew just 2 months ago has dramatically changed.
Danny Ghorbani told MHProNews that in his experience that the industry’s larger producing members have long dominated MHI, and that a similar case could be made for several state associations too.
MHI wants to pretend that opposition voices to their narrative doesn’t exist. That absurd stance is arguably evidence of their obvious mendacity.
Which begs the question. If they lie about little things, what’s to keep them from lying about bigger ones? Given that this is Easter season, it could be framed as Jesus did as cited by Luke 16:10, “But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters.” Good News Translation.
Indeed, there are prohibitions against speaking falsely or in deceptive manners by numerous regional or world religions.
Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist faith traditions have said similarly to what Christian believe on this matter of the importance of honesty. There is a legitimate case to be made that posturing, spin and dishonesty has proven very costly to the manufactured housing industry.
The case for MHI’s mendacity is made by various statements of their own members, on and off the record, as accurately and only reported by MHProNews and MHLivingNews. No one else has bothered to connect the dots of statements made by MHI leaders and then drawn the obvious and logical conclusions from those statements. If the focus of the industry’s largest firms is consolidation, or putting independents out of business in some form or fashion, and not robust industry growth, why should anyone be surprised that the industry has suffered during the Berkshire era?
Examples are above and below, but there is much more at the linked report. It is MHI members who have said that their focus is consolidation, sometimes using other terminology.
While there were doubters and skeptics about the notion that the CCP Virus originated in the Wuhan Virology Institute BL4 lab – perhaps escaping by accident – a growing number of Trump Administration sources and others internationally are raising that concern now. The release of the pathogen has literally changed the world, as the MHAO’s list above reminds us all.
At the core of the tragedy of COVID19 are allegations of dishonesty and a coverup on a scale never before known in modern times. But is it a surprise, given the source?
Similarly, industry professionals should reassess the importance of simply falling in line with whatever MHI and their leaders claim.
The industry could, with the proper plan and execution, emerge from this pandemic bigger than before. But that won’t happen so long as the powers that be a blindly trusted.
While it may seem a bit like MHI to pat one-self on their own back, there is a distinction when the truth is spoken, isn’t there? MHProNews has always strived to shed light on events in the light of evidence, following the money trail and properly applied quotes and facts. That’s why we were able to forecast years ago that MHI’s plan for a ‘new class’ of manufactured homes now called “CrossModTM homes” would fail. The premise of the plan was flawed, as Tom Hardiman aptly underscored.
It may be politically incorrect to some to speak truth to power. But that is the only way that the industry will hope to break free of years of arguably corrupt and manipulative behavior that has cost tens of billions of dollars a year to thousands of manufactured home industry independents.
The time to challenge the status quo with facts and honest history is now. Honest history sheds light on the potential of our industry to be many times its current level.
But failure to confront wrongdoers, in any profession, routinely leads to tragic outcomes. That principle applies to our profession and all others.
Stay tuned for more from your #1 source for the most-read manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.