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Hospitality & Class; Power for Manufactured Housing Professionals

A nice snapshot of the hospitality and class shown during my trip last week to New York would start at the airport.  A limo from the resort was arranged for my pick up.

Turning Stone Resort, site of the NYHousing Associations 2011 Annual meeting credit
Turning Stone Resort, site of the NYHousing Associations 2011 Annual meeting


The resort’s room was great, as was the view and the meeting facilities.

At each stage, with each meal or meeting a quiet, thoughtful grace and good planning was on display.

This was evident for the generous and pleasant treatment of a ‘guest speaker’ like myself, but also to Claire Lammerts who was presented with a spectacular  bouquet of flowers and a sealed gift as a thank you for her service to the NY Housing Association membership.






Claire Lammerts receives bouquet from Chip Ray, outgoing board president NYHousing Oct 2011 annual meeting posted on credit Tony Kovach
Claire Lammerts receives bouquet from Chip Ray, outgoing board president NYHousing Oct 2011

Look at Claire’s smile as Jim “Chip” Ray Jr. presents these tokens of appreciation.

The memory of Class lasts!

While all of us enjoyed the camaraderie, the power and benefit of association membership was in full view for the 2 day event.

Association members were briefed on a wide array of national, state and local issues.   This is part of the power and value of association membership.

The information shared would have cost far more than the modest investment in membership.  Members gain info, not to mention access and lobbying power they would pay many times the price to do  on their own.

Annual Meeting Highlights included state and local information on the following :

– Modular briefing by Mark Glaser, of Greenburg Traurig, LLP.

– HUD Code briefing by Mark Glaser.

– Manufactured Home Community briefing by Mark Glaser.

I was impressed by Glaser, and have requested that he consider writing a column on what it is like working ‘in the trenches’ as a lobbyist for the New York Housing Association.  My hunch is that thousands of Industry pros do not realize the importance of the work that professional lobbyists like Glasser do for the associations they represent.

Jason Boehlert, MHI VP of Govt Affairs, addressing NYHousing credit
Jason Boehlert, MHI VP of Govt Affairs, addressing NY Housing 2011 Annual Meeting


National issues briefing by Jason Boehlert, Vice President of Goverment Affairs at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  Boehlert spoke with candor about challenging issues such as the SAFE Act, Dodd-Frank and much more, as MHI seeks to navigate those waters in partnership with state associations.

Jason’s delivery was impressive, having perhaps 16 months under his belt at MHI.   Boehlert answered questions from attendees as if he had been doing his work at MHI for many years.

If Jason is an example, then it is obvious that the MHI staff is indeed solid, as Joe Stegmayer, MHI’s Chairman, has said.

– Well water compliance by Jaime Herman, New York Water Association.

Heather Dougherty, President, The Flanders Group addring NYHousing Annual Meeting posted
Heather Dougherty, President, The Flanders Group addring NYHousing 2011 Annual Meeting



– Worker’s Compensation issues, managing costs while benefiting employees, by Heather Dougherty, The Flanders Group.







Timothy King NYS Bldg Standards addressing NYHousing Assoc 2011 Annual Meeting posted on
Timothy King NYS Code Compliance addressing NYHousing Assoc 2011 Annual Meeting

– New York State Building Code and Energy Code Updates by Timothy King, NYS Code Compliance Specialist.

Meeting Tim was a treat, as he and I have exchanged emails in the past.  Tim is a reader at, as are others from coast to coast involved in the political or regulatory side of manufactured housing.

King certainly is a common sense public official, who clearly wants to work with the Industry for the good of all.

These information sessions saved time and money.  Where else would you get so much inside information on past, current and upcoming events at the state and national level?

Plus the networking and social value of association membership.  In addition there was the opportunity to meet with suppliers and vendors between sessions, to discuss ways that their products or services could help grow profits and performance.

L A Tony Kovach - Dominate Your Local Market presentation at NYHousing Assoc 2011 Annual Meeting posted
L A Tony Kovach - Dominate Your Local Market presentation at NYHousing Assoc 2011 Annual Meeting


New York Housing Association members responded warmly to the Dominate Your Local Market presentation.  A lively Q&A followed.

My thanks to all who said hello, who shared their kudos or a kind word and who engaged in discussions on industry issues during meals, breaks and at the Awards mixer.

Off the Record: an Example of after hours ‘entertainment’

Nancy told me that her members ‘work hard and play hard.’  There is one story from the meeting that I’ll need to share, while leaving the gent’s name out, for reasons you will quickly understand.

This multi-year pro had finished a long day, and had some entertainment that took him into the night.  He ordered room service early in the morning (meaning, well after midnight).  The cobbler, he said, was spectacular.  Wanting to be thoughtful, he stepped out to put the plate down where room service could easily collect it the next day.  The room door, of course closed behind him.

Standing in his skivvies without his room key, he quickly rejected the idea of going downstairs to the front desk.  His room and another shared an entrance alcove with a common door to the main hallway.  He first tried to get attention by quietly waving at a security camera.  No dice (pardon the casino pun) after 20 minutes of arm waving.

Next, a woman came walking down the hall, so he cracked the door, and asked her for her help, while attempting to assure her he is ‘not a pervert.’  Unsure, the woman waited a bit, until her gentleman escort came along.  Our late night, cobbler eating manufactured housing hero managed to convince him that he indeed was no pervert, merely an unlucky fellow trapped without a room key in his undies.

What a story for him to tell his grand kids. Imagine the fun that security had the next day watching that video clip.  Maybe we should look for it on YouTube?


The cultural evening entertainment was super, and the dinner/mixer/Hall of Fame awards presentation was also classy.  If the video lighting can be adjusted, we plan to post a sample video of the fun and educational surprise  Nancy Geer shared with her members!  Nancy has done another fine job of providing an informational and inspirational event.

Jim Fryer, Jr  Master of Ceremonies, Mark Glaser, GreenBerg Traurig, The Honorable NY State Senator Catherine Young, Nancy Geer, Exec Dir NYHousing posted
L-R = Jim Fryer, Jr Master of Ceremonies; Mark Glaser, GreenBerg Traurig; The Honorable NY State Senator Catherine Young; Nancy Geer, Exec Dir NYHousing

State Senator Catherine Young addresses the NY Housing Association

One of the highlights for me was the Honorable State Senator Catherine Young.  State Senator Young chairs the NY Senate Standing Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development.


NY State Senator Catherine Young posted on
NY State Senator Catherine Young addresses NYHousing 2011 Annual Convention

Senator Young sponsored S.4126 during the 201–2011 legislative session, which would prohibit zoning discrimination against manufactured homes on single lots.  We will do a separate write up on her informing and inspiring speech, which appeared to be delivered without notes!

Young knew the leadership and the Association’s issues.  Michelle Bachman, look out!  This articulate, confident knowledgeable New York legislator seems poised for a future as a states-person, not just another pol.

The access to such business friendly, key housing state legislative leader is another clear sign of the good that the NY Housing delivers to their members, and the value if association membership in general.

As our follow up report on State Senator Young’s address will reveal, this lady ‘gets it’ that small business is the economic driver for jobs, that high taxes and over-regulation harms the economy and that manufactured housing offers solutions that benefits millions of Americans.

Tom Alvarez - center - receives the Hall of Fame Award posted on
Tom Alvarez - center - receives the Hall of Fame Award

Senior members of Haylor, Freyer and Coon, Inc very thoughtfully took Nancy Geer and myself to lunch after the wrap up, where we enjoy a lively industry discussion over lunch while sipping “Arnold Palmers.”  Then I was driven to the airport by Bob Capenos, one of their veterans who shared personal Industry experiences as we compared notes on how our Industry can move ahead during the drive.

Hospitality.  Class.  New York Housing’s Annual meeting was a memorable and informative experience for those who attended, if you are in business in New York and are not actively taking part in their meetings and association function, discover what you are missing, and stop missing it!

Working together, we can move farther and faster than working apart or at odds with each other.

My sincere compliments and thanks to everyone at NY Housing!

Next up, I look forward to seeing all the good folks in Indiana at their Annual Meeting this Wednesday.

I’d like to close by wishing Mark Bowersox and his family my personal condolences and that of our team, as they suffered a personal loss this past week.# #

L. A. “Tony” Kovach Publisher and Marketing Director