The news tip came in yesterday, mere minutes after the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) sent out their email to their members and readers about their latest ‘housing alert.’ The tip read as follows: “Same sh-t, different day. They keep going down, rather than up.”
It was mere days ago that Manufactured Housing Professional News (MHProNews) published the article below about the then pending deception, err, decision on who would replace Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison as the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arlington, VA based MHI.
Here is what MHI said, followed by some MHProNews commentary and analysis.
WASHINGTON — The Manufactured Housing Institute, the only national trade organization representing every segment of the manufactured housing industry, announced today that its Board has chosen Dr. Lesli Gooch as the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer, and Mark Bowersox as its President.
Lesli and Mark, who currently serve as Executive Vice Presidents at MHI, will succeed current President and CEO Richard Jennison upon his retirement at year’s end.
“During their time at MHI, Lesli and Mark have been highly effective for our industry,” said MHI Board Chairman Tom Hodges. “We are very excited about them taking the helm at MHI and about the future of the organization under their leadership.”
The announcement was the culmination of a months-long search to replace retiring CEO Jennison. MHI’s Board assembled a search committee, which interviewed and evaluated multiple candidates for the role. Ultimately, a special board meeting was held to amend the organization’s bylaws, creating a dual leadership structure.
“The new leadership structure for MHI creates a unique co-ownership model,” said Hodges. “It allows more capacity within the MHI team to grow the strength of the association and improve outcomes for our members. It’s MHI 2.0.”
Lesli and Mark expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead MHI’s team and the industry. “We wholly believe that this unique model of leadership positions us to use our complimentary skill sets and leadership traits to improve the culture, structure and bottom-line results of MHI,” they stated in a note to the Board. “We believe our skills, abilities, experience and mutual respect make this the best structure to lead the manufactured housing industry into the future.”
If you have any questions, please contact MHI’s Advocacy and Communications Department at MHIgov@mfghome.org.
Meet the New MHI Leadership
MHI CEO-Elect Dr. Lesli Gooch
Lesli Gooch, currently MHI’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Communications, joined the organization in 2014. Because of established, long-standing and bipartisan relationships across Washington, Lesli has helped MHI become an influential and relied upon resource for housing policy, including with Congress, the Administration, the GSEs, the media and other housing industry groups. She has secured appearances by key Administration officials and Members of Congress at association events, including multiple addresses by the HUD Secretary. During her tenure, she has achieved a number of legislative and regulatory successes and a significant increase in bipartisan support for MHI priorities. By completely revamping the approach for grassroots outreach, she significantly improved the efficacy of the deployment of these assets. Lesli has a doctorate in political science from the prestigious Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma with concentrations in American government, public policy and public administration. Her dissertation, which explores the motivations of members of Congress in selecting issues to champion, provides her with valuable insights and experience about how best to advocate on behalf of the industry.
MHI President-Elect Mark Bowersox
Mark Bowersox is currently MHI’s Executive Vice President of Industry Relations. Since joining MHI in 2015, Mark has overseen the development of new training programs for community managers, salespeople and installers which have been migrated to an online learning platform to create a user-friendly experience for members. With Mark heading up MHI’s industry relations efforts the organization’s membership has grown from under 300 members in 2015 to over 900 today. Event attendance increased by more than 50 percent during the same time period. He joined the organization after serving as the Executive Director of the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association — Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council, where he led all aspects of the organization including financial and personnel management, membership recruitment, board member and volunteer development, industry promotion and advocacy. Representing both industries as a legislative and regulatory lobbyist, he developed relationships with employees and elected officials in local, state and federal offices. Working at the state level for more than 10 years, Mark built his knowledge of the industry from the ground up with first-hand experience in zoning, titling, installations and other challenging issues. He began his trade association career at an association management firm where he managed national trade associations.
Freudian slips are a fascinating phenomenon. Every article begins the same, a blank page stares up at the writer. The possibilities of how to craft the facts, commentary, and analysis are wide open. There were initially three typos in the opening paragraphs at the top, and each one was perhaps a God-incident, because we don’t believe in coincidences as much as we do stage-management by humans, and also the Divine shedding light into dark places for those who sincerely seek justice and truth.
There was some speculation months ago that a “heavy hitter” would be brought into follow Jennison at MHI. Our immediate sense here at MHProNews was that it would have been a waste of MHI’s money to do so, as the role is largely a symbolic position. The power is behind the throne(s), held by the Manufactured Housing Institute’s Executive Committee and the Arlington, VA based trade organization’s larger dues-payers.
We signaled several times in recent weeks that the signs pointed to Lesli Gooch, which turned out to be mostly correct. We also signaled Mark Bowersox’s effort in the below in another previous report.
Terry Decio, a leader at what was then Skyline and what today is Skyline Champion (SKY) famously said on camera the following.
Will MHI’s new dual staff leaders prove anything different now that Jennison is exiting stage left into the MHI memory hole?
Will Jennison write a parting letter to the industry anything like what former MHI President Chris Steinbert did, as is recalled in full-length in the link below? Affordable housing advocates and officials should peer into that letter carefully, as it holds several ‘insider’ insights in the MHI and the industry at large.
Some two years ago, one of MHI’s board member – an individual not on their MHI Executive Committee, were the true power is behind the figurehead(s) sitting in the top spot(s) in MHI’s offices – that MHI was ‘increasingly being run like a secret society.’
That “secret society” claim was an interesting commentary, so MHProNews has paid close attention to it. Is there any evidence of such?
Not too long ago, on MHI’s own website, they now have the staff positions hidden behind a login. It was previously public information on their website. Why the change? Who are they trying to hide the names of their staff members from anyway?
Why would MHI hide such details from the public when other trade groups make their staff contacts public information? Does the National Association of Realtors, or the National Association of Home Builders hide their staff positions? Does the Modular Building Institute hide their staff positions behind a members only login?
To answer the prior question in a word, no. If others don’t hide their staffs, why is MHI doing so?
For anyone who pays attention to the details, MHI’s decision to hide their staff behind a login is bizarre at best, or a reminder of the keen insight from that source inside MHI that the trade group is being run like a ‘secret society.’ But that tipster made the point not about the names of staff, but rather that even other board members were being kept largely in the dark about what MHI was doing.
Is that what MHI Chairman and Clayton’s attorney Tom Hodges wanted with MHI 2.0?
The deck-chairs are being changed at MHI. Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison is soon to be history, his tenure and the varied quotes that were purportedly written for him for public consumption will be all but forgotten. Furthermore:
General Counsel Rick Robinson, one of several vice-presidents at MHI, will be gone in a matter of days.
VP and the director of the National Communities Council (NCC) Jenny Hodge is gone.
VP and media relations/ communications director Patti Boerger, whom Kevin Clayton praised during an MHI meeting, is gone too.
Not so long ago, Ann Parman, Lois Starkey, and Tom Heinemann all left.
The deck chairs have been re-arranged. Will the tipster from yesterday cited above prove correct? “Same sh-t, different day. They [MHI] keep going down, rather than up.”
Here is the reality of it.
What the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington and their allies axis want from MHI, they will get.
If they want to see the industry grow, they have all the tools and resources to do so. There are millions of dollars of resources on hand. So why is the industry shrinking in shipments instead of growing? Who benefits from the pattern seen during the last or prior years?
Aren’t new home sales and profits the performance metrics that matters to the independent producers, suppliers, and retailers of HUD Code manufactured homes? How is that going? The report linked below makes it clear. Year over year, new home shipments are in decline. How is that even possible during a well publicized affordable housing crisis? How can Hodges or anyone connected with MHI claim that this is what successful trade organizational results look like?
Did Buffett led Berkshire buy Clayton, Oakwood, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) only to shrink the industry? Are the larger community players who wield some influence at MHI likewise throttling growth for their own selfish reasons?
Is keeping the industry at a low production ebb a means to the end of dominating the industry by reducing sales, thus reducing many valuations of businesses that are tied to sales? What is that Buffett principle? Apply the quote below to the scenario of our industry.
Then see the video below for the comments from that award winning retailer, plus the related reports that follow.
The facts from numerous third party research projects favor manufactured housing, but MHI’s website for whatever reasons won’t show those positive reports. Why? Are they incompetent, or has the industry has arguably been weaponized from within, for the purported benefit of the few? Perhaps the later. Who says?