Tony Kovach

Tough Love – “Friends don’t let Friend’s Drive Drunk”

We all know people who are fine ladies or gents.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  We accept the good with the less so when it comes to friendship.  In fact, we accept imperfection in everyone; ourselves, our co-workers, our loves, family, etc.

There are fair weather friends, and there are friends who tell you only what they think you want to hear.  These – in a different era – we may have called acquaintances, colleagues or some more generic term than the hallowed name of a ‘friend.’ Because a true friend cares about YOU.

People that care about you are capable of politely and/or clearly speaking the truth.

From time to time, I may say to someone ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk.’  The person I’m addressing or speaking to may not have a drink in their hands, they may not be at a party, there may not be alcohol or other intoxicants anywhere in sight.

So what the heck does it mean when I say, ‘friends don’t let friends drive drunk’ and no drinking is involved?

Simply this.  A friend tells their friend the truth, even if it is not easy.  The truth may be, your drunk, don’t drive.  The truth may be as serious, but have nothing to do with drinking. Some examples may make the point:

My friend, you are losing more customers than you are gaining.  Here is why…

My friend, you are depressed.  What is going on?  Don’t you realize all the good things you have going for you?

My friend, that onion and garlic at lunch didn’t do your breath any good.  Here, have a piece of chewing gum.

We all have blind spots, it is inevitable.  What others spot it in a moment, you or I may need to know. But not everyone CARES enough to tell the person the truth.  A true friend, does.

A friend can tell you the truth, and even if it is uncomfortable for both, the friend so addressed should consider the advice and accept the truth.  Both win when the truth is thoughtfully shared and accepted.

There are times and places and ways to share the truth, of course.

1. The first level, is privately.  One on one.
2. The next level is with another friend or associate involved.
3. Sometimes, the statement has to be made publicly.

The last is the hardest.  But depending on the issue, it may be critically important to do so.

John, I know you are tired, which may be why your numbers are off in this report.  Would you fix this and get it back to us, please?
Jane, you’ve done a lot of great work recently, and I want to thank you for it.  This particular item doesn’t hit your normal standards.  Here is why, would you fix it and get back to us with it please?

auto_accident_inspiration_from_wikimedia_commonsSometimes, we may miss the ’empathy cushions’ in our statements, but the issue may be so important that we still have to get the truth out.

Even if an enemy were in a drunken stupor, and they were about to drive off, what would you do?

If there were no chemicals or alcohol involved, but someone was making a serious mistake that you might help with, what would you do?

Please consider this answer: “Friends don’t let Friend’s Drive Drunk” # #

post submitted by
L. A. “Tony” Kovach

“So long, farewell…”

We have shared a portion of our life journeys and professional paths for over a year now.

When I joined the team as associate editor in June 2010, it was more like a rocket launch into an Industry entirely unknown to me.  Through Tony Kovach’s visionary passion and skills as a teacher, I became immersed in the manufactured housing industry, meeting you men and women of extraordinary talent and commitment in the fields of design, production, finance, communities, law, management, marketing and sales, state and national associations, industry shows, inspiration, etc. – not in person as I would have liked, but through your writing of feature articles, Industry Voices Guest Blog posts and other mutual endeavors.  Thank you for entrusting your word, your thought, vision and passion to our online journal, soon to be rebranded as

And now personal circumstances compel me to leave this team.

Fare well in your work together to bring quality, affordable factory-built homes to more and more people.  I wish you what Holiday Homes in Milford, Ohio, states as their Business Philosophy:  “To show through our many varied projects, that manufactured housing is not a product, but a process for providing new homes.”

YOU are INspirations to me and to countless others who depend on you.  May you be joyfully and abundantly blessed.

Warm regards, Catherine

Catherine Frenzel
Catherine Frenzel

P.S.  Please continue to submit articles and news tips to, and he will be introducing a new associate editor as soon as possible.

Lessons from Bags of candy for Manufactured Housing

The following is based on a true story.  The study this account describes was done back in the days of overcrowded classrooms.  It describes elementary school age youth, and I was a kid myself when I heard this report. That means it was done “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”. Here is the story followed by it’s life lesson for manufactured housing professionals.

A classroom of some forty children was given a bag full of candy.  They couldn’t open the candy up until the teacher and the study leader gave them the okay.  With great anticipation, back in the day when a bag full of candy was not so common  and thus quite a treat, the children awaited their instructions.

‘Class, we are going to make each of you a deal.  You have sitting on your desk a bag full of candy.  You can have that candy today if you wish.  Or, if you agree to skip the candy today, and wait until tomorrow at this same time, we will give you two bags full of candy instead of the one sitting in front of you.’ The students were asked if they understood the instructions and the offer.  One bag today, right now, or a second bag full if they waited until tomorrow.

What did they do?

Two of the forty some children went for the one day delay to get the second bag of candy.  Two out of forty, or roughly 5% of the class.  The others went for less, happy to accept what was in front of them rather than get double the result.  Now to a child, tomorrow may seem like a long time off.  But how often do we adults do similarly?

The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.

~ Thomas Merton

A professional friend of mine reminded me this past weekend about a Ross Perot vintage bit of wisdom.  It went something like this, ‘Too many corporations are thinking ten minutes to ten days ahead, instead of planning ten years ahead.’

Back in 1998 manufactured housing sales reached over 372,000 shipments nationally.  In some parts of the country, manufactured housing sales reached 1/3 of all new housing starts.  Things had never been better in decades for the Industry.  Too many businesses took the ten minutes to ten days ahead approach.  Too many failed to look ahead at the consequences of ‘burning a lender’ in one form or another, too many lenders (knowing what was going on) turned a blind eye to common sense, and too many customers were given less than stellar treatment.  We could have owned the future of housing then.  But instead of planning ten years ahead and doubling the manufactured housing business again, too many took the bag of candy sitting in front of them…

Are you ready to double your business?  Get involved in the various calls to action by MHI and MHARR reported on the Industry Voices Guest Blog.  Invest in yourself, your firm’s image, marketing and people daily.  Do what is right today, and every day.  Don’t give yourself an excuse, or wait for someone else to do it for you.  Then you’ll end up having two bags of candy on your desk tomorrow. # #

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management

(Outsourcing, Consulting, Coaching & Publishing) – 847-730-3692, cell 832-689-1729

No Time

Two workers worked in adjacent toll booths in the state of New York. One lamented her fate, feeling herself ‘stuck in a dead end job.’ Every day, she complained and protested, with a radio playing music in the background as she collected tolls and handed out receipts. The second worker spent the day listening to audio recordings every day. 8 years went by. The second worker’s wise investment of time and listening yielded a college degree, a positive can do spirit and a great new career. The first worker kept lamenting her fate, trapped in the same toll booth day after day, ‘stuck in a dead end job…’

…the above is based on a true story.

Buffalo NY toll booths, jacobenos2010-06-06_1906
How are you using your time? Buffalo NY toll booths, photo courtesy of jacobenos

It is amazing how busy we can become. It is also interesting how we can miss opportunities that are right there in front of us. We can get ensnared in our patterns of thought and activity. People many not realize the opportunities because we all have blind spots. For that reason, it is common to hear the statement “I have no time for ______” and we have all heard or used something to fill in that blank. “No Time” becomes the excuse.

At the very fine Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA) seminar held 11 days ago, Tim Connor shared the fact that the ‘average’ person spends 30,000 hours during the course of their adult life commuting, running errands and generally in driving mode. That seemed like a high number at first. But after a quick check, it certainly seems very plausible. Drive time alone represents ‘some time’ available for educational or inspirational listening. Imagine a person who used their drive time for listening to positive and useful information has the time needed for earning 8 college degrees!

So we all have plenty of time indeed! We simply have to look for it.

With the advent of MP3 players, IPods or the ability to burn CDs from internet downloads; a wise professional can effectively use that 30,000 hours of drive time. By listening to good information, you have the opportunity for building your skills or learning items you can share with your team. Let’s see, on the one hand…listen to the radio, or on the other hand, learn more to earn more.

Hmmm…kind of a no-brainer.

Are you already listening to financial or other news in your car, or while exercising or walking? Then you should also listen to Factory-Built Housing Industry News at Noon! Through a simple registration, you can now download feature articles each month from our online industry trade journal, PLUS you can download Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla. Or you can listen online from your home or office.

Industry News @ noon graphic by Tony Kovach, photo courtesy of thisparticulargreg1
Erin Patla and Factory Built Housing Industry News @ noon Ipod graphic by Tony Kovach, photo courtesy of thisparticulargreg1

is our first of what will be Industry business news daily via download or online here at

One loyal reader of has already emailed in to say, ‘This (the podcasts) are a great service. I can listen to industry news and a feature article every day as I’m getting ready for work.’ (lightly edited).

Starting as a young man in sales, and on through my management career in this industry, listening to audio recordings while driving was and is a great way to learn new ideas, to stay refreshed on concepts or to get and stay motivated.

One business owner some weeks back explained in an email how he creates rewards and ‘a quiz’ for this team, to encourage them to learn and improve from the information they find here at Imagine having so many top professionals in our Industry available for reading OR now listening via podcasts!

30,000 hours of available time. How are you and your team members using them? You and your business are either growing or shrinking, there is no in between. You and your team are either getting better or getting rusty. There is no better way to knock the rust off the mental wheels than by challenging yourself and your team with good, positive information!

Besides, as another reader turned listener here put it, podcaster Erin Patla’s “…voice is simply delightful.” When my wife says that Erin’s voice is great, that is an important insight indeed.

Now you can read Industry news, or listen to podcasts of top Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon, or do both!

The Industry is slowly turning an important corner. You can see it in reports and feel it. When would you like to start selling more homes? When would you like to start filling vacancies? Or doing better marketing? When would you like to have a team member improve their management skills? Doesn’t using drive time wisely make good sense? Does now sound like a good time to start these career building habits? News at noon Graphic by Tony Kovach, photo from tonythemis News at noon Graphic by Tony Kovach, photo from tonythemis

Sign up now.

Start your first download or start listening online at your home or office today. Actions speak louder than words. Think about those two toll booth workers…and think about the pros who will be listening as well as reading Industry news and views you can use. Will it be you, or your competitor that does the listening, learning, knowing and growing? Who will be stuck in the same rut? Why not take advantage of the opportunity for building a brighter future! Listen and learn!

Signing up for our podcasts may be quick and easy, but it is the best action you can take to making some of those 30,000 hours of drive time or other ‘down time’ pay of for you and your team. Some people make excuses. Other people take the steps to make good things happen.  Sign up and start listening. Enough said.##

The Meramec Ex. Once is not Enough

Are you an owner, manager, executive or front line in the manufactured housing or factory built home industry? If so, this is important for you and/or your team’s growth, development or improvement.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” Jim Rohn

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Bobby Unser

In most areas of our life, we don’t do something once and expect it to work forever. We don’t eat once, sleep once, put fuel in your vehicle once, try to walk or talk once. We must do most things of value or necessity repeatedly.

To master something, we must constantly be monitoring our performance and/or that of our team, and then be willing to adjust actions to enhance our performance.

Repetition is a key to learning, communications and marketing. From business to sports to living or loving, doing the basics well and often demands attention.

You may be the top performing person in your role at your firm. If so, that’s wonderful. But how about in comparison to a competitor’s firm? To that new, rising star over there? Are you routinely advancing your skills and that of your team to stay ahead of the game?

One reason for sharing the critical importance Silver Bullet Challenge is precisely the points noted in the quotations in this post. When you learn and routinely apply the fundamentals, when you routinely prepare for improvement by reading, studying and applying what you learn, success or enhanced success becomes more likely; with persistence, success even becomes a given.

The importance of repetition was struck home for me on the drive across Missouri on the way to and from The Great Southwest Home Show in Tulsa, OK at the QuikTrip Center in Expo Square. On I44, you can’t help but notice the signs for Meramec Caverns. Billboards dot the landscape once or more a mile for dozens of miles in either direction of the exit for Meramec Caverns. A novice might ask, why do they have so many signs? Isn’t putting that sign up once enough?

No, it isn’t.

The Meramec Example tells us you must repeat a message many, many times if you are to get a successful outcome. The same is true in any endeavor. The first time you try to prepare a certain recipe, the outcome is not likely to be as good as the 10th or the 50th time you do the same recipe.

A key to the recipe for success is learning. Another key is repetition. Don’t just ask your team to read something once and expect them to get it. Don’t just read something important once yourself and expect to get it. Repeating and honing your skills in “The Basics” or fundamentals are keys to success.

Weight Reps by jesset23
Proper Repetition is a key to Success in any endevor. Photo by jesset23

We’ve all heard and believe that “Knowledge is Power!” if you want the power to succeed in manufactured housing and factory home building, come to where the experts share their wisdom here at If you want to succeed, don’t just read once, repeat often!

“Success doesn’t come to you… you go to it.” Marva Collins

Come to or enhance your manufactured housing success. Read the tips of top pros. Repeat often. Come to a.k.a. – if you want success for your team, organization or yourself badly enough – you’ll be glad you do this daily.##

Posted by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – editor

Team Work

It has correctly been said that there is no “I” in “Team.”

Team Work - Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management Trade Journal Magazine
Difficult and challenging things can be accomplished through team work!

A team, working together for a common goal, can accomplish what the individual working alone can’t do or can’t do as easily or as rapidly.

Team work, photo courtesy of filedownload
Pulling together in the same direction, each with a different view but complementary effort. Team Work can accomplish more rapidly what individual effort can't.

Think about the concept of team work, your enterprise and the Manufactured Housing Industry at large. I’ll bet those three guys working together in the photo above have different points of view on a number of issues. But it doesn’t keep them from working together successfully to accomplish a worthy goal!

There is no I in Team.

It’s About Time

Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock. The clock of time stops for no one. Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

It’s about Time. How will you use your time? The next 60 seconds? The next hour?  The next day, week, month or year? Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

Its_About time_tourist_on_earth_2010-03-14_1336
It's About Time - graphic by Tony Kovach, photo courtesy of tourist on earth

The woman in the photo is about to give birth.  She is in labor.  She is in pain.  The man holds the Clock of Time with a look that says so much.  Anticipation, concern, joy…much more.  The image gives one a Sense of Urgency.   It reminds us to Act swiftly with Good Purpose.

Our MH INdustry is in labor too.  As with any labor of new birth, we are in pain, as perhaps many industry readers and their enterprises are today.  There is a Sense of Urgency.  A new birth is both a crisis and an opportunity for a new start, a new life!

We could, of course, delay what must be done.  We could just let this new life die.   We could use some Excuses.  We could be react with fear. We could overlook the power that could readily change our image and our professional world. Out of some misguided fear or the paralysis of over analysis, we could wait too long, and the new birth that could be will instead be a death.  So with it, could die what could well be our bright new future.

Or we could embrace this new birth.  We could embrace the changes that have brought you here in the first place.  It is precisely new methods, new out-reaches and new approaches that have caused you to be here.  Think about it!

It’s about Time.  It’s about a new beginning.  While we’ve watched our industry shipments fall, did you realize that our market share for factory-built housing out of all new housing starts has risen? It has! HUD Code and modular have risen from about 5% market share some 3 years ago to about 20% market share today.

The best of the old, combined with the best of the new.  They can position us for a new birth that can lead factory built housing into the brightest possible future!

It’s about Time.  Time is the measure of Change.  It’s about time to embrace that change, and let this new life, this promising new future take hold of us.  The tools and the resources for that change – for the best of the old and the best of the new – are all found on these pages…

Its_About time_tourist_on_earth_2010-03-14_1336
It's About Time graphic by Tony Kovach, photo courtesy of tourist on earth

This woman can’t go back. She can only choose to move ahead.

It’s About Time.#


– submitted by Tony Kovach, editor,, writer of the Masthead Blog and

Castles in the Sky!

Castle in the Pyrenees
The photo is of Rene Magritte’s ‘Castle in the Pyrenees.’

My wife and I play an imaginative, goal setting ‘game’ we call “Castles in the Sky.” We dream some grand dream. Then we discuss how we could go about achieving that dream. We have done this for years, and over time, with planning, persistence and more… it is amazing how refreshing and positive an approach this is. Also important, this is no only fun, but it works. Try it some time!

My associate Bob Stovall here at and I do something similar too. We raise a grand goal in a discussion and then ask ourselves: how do we go about achieving that goal? Then we work towards it. This too has worked remarkably well.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Perhaps decades ago I read this quote and just forgot where I had heard or seen it. What I know is that dreaming big dreams, and then discerning the path and steps to achieving that goal has served me well for decades. I ran across the Thoreau quotation above recently, purchased it and hung it on my wall. We all need reminders for positive thinking and positive approaches.

Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones used to say, “See It Big, and Keep it Simple Smiley.” Dream big dreams and place the foundations under them.

– submitted by Tony Kovach, editor,, writer of the Masthead Blog and

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