Friday, April 18, 2014

April's Builder Breakfast Brings Industry Leaders Together

My monthly Builder Breakfast has grown so much from its humble beginnings of just a single builder meeting with me and talking about the problems of modular housing into what it is now, a forum for the entire modular home industry’s future.

This month the number of people that wanted to attend was so large that I had to move it to Holiday Inn convention center. Attending were factory people, modular home builders, engineers, Architects, Norm Hall from Simspon-Strongtie and Tom Hardiman, the Executive Director of the MHBA.

Jay Barlow, Barlow Engineering, was the featured speaker for this meeting and talked about the importance of bringing in an engineer during the beginning stages of builder talks with the customer. Waiting until the plans are drawn and the contract signed can mean thousands of dollars out of the builder’s pocket. It was eye-opening for everyone.

Jay Barlow, circled; Chris Minium, PBS to the left of Jay; Anthony Zarrilli, Zarrilli Homes in NJ; Ken Semler, Express Modular; Dan Hobbs, GM of Hancrafted Homes and Denise Jacoby, Director of Frederick County Builders Assoc.

Tom Hardiman from the MHBA talked about all the areas that our association is working in to help promote modular housing and lobby for our industry in just about every state. He also invited everyone at the breakfast to join us at the “Best Practices” conference in Philly next week.

Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the MHBA

Finally Harris Woodward, owner of FinishWerks in Savage, MD, showed us how he builds “High Performance” houses and the inherent advantages modular housing gives him in achieving Energy Star ratings in the 50’s and below without adding much to the homebuyer’s total building cost.

Harris Woodward, Owner of FinishWerks in Savage, MD

And finally, after the breakfast ended about 10:30, there were groups of people continuing to talk in the lobby and nooks everywhere with some of them even going to lunch.

This is what happens when the movers and shakers from the modular housing industry get together and talk about our problems and solutions. 

If you are interested in joining us for the May Builder Breakfast on Wednesday, the 21st, drop me a line at


Harris said...

If I could add, Coach, Jay Barlow's firm does the engineering for many modular factories. We just retained him to engineer our foundations. Since Jay already does all the load calcs for my modular home, it is pure logic (and cost savings!) to use him to size the beams in my basements.

In fact, on one large home we're designing, he figured out how to eliminate 4 large steel beams (one was W14) and use 18"H LVL's in the floors at the mateline - installed at the factory.

We just saved thousands of dollars in steel, erection, and the net ceiling is now higher! Plus his fee was far less than our local engineer.

Jay is licensed in nearly every state on the eastern seaboard. Hire him - you'll save a lot of $ and grief.

Anthony said...

This breakfast was an incredible event that is a MUST attend for anyone who is involved in the modular industry. There is much to be learned, great contacts to be made and most importantly uniting of a core group of companies that main focus is how to move the modular industry forward. We only have 3% of the market and with some hard work along with some fun we can do this together. Great job everyone involved in this breakfast. Look forward to seeing everyone soon. Wish everyone and their families a Happy and Healthy Easter Holiday weekend!!!

Anonymous said...

The monthly breakfast sounds like a great idea to get many people from the industry together. Have you ever considered rotating the location to different regions to get others to attend? I am sure there are folks in NY and even points further north who would like to meet with others and discuss issues and share ideas.

ModularGuru said...

Gary, I really enjoyed this breakfast. To see what you have put together grow over the last 2 years has been great. Each breakfast gets better. Each month you seem to top the previous month's breakfast. I am looking forward to attending other breakfast events as you put them on throughout the country!

Gary L. Eagleton said...

This was the first time that I have had the opportunity to attend the breakfast. I found it to be a great place to see how a lot of the same issues are affecting our business across the country and to share ideas and solutions. Harris and Jay had some great points that show the ongoing benefits of the modular industry. It was very positive to see how everyone agreed on how educating the local code officials and consumers was a common goal. I would agree that attending this breakfast is time well spent for anyone connected to the modular industry.

Tom Hardiman said...

There are so many people and companies in this industry wanting more meetings and gatherings like this. In person meetings are hard to coordinate in this era of instant information and limited time availability, so I appreciate the effort and difference Gary is making.

MHBA will be doing our day long Best practices Seminar in Philly this week, but planning a larger event later in the year like in the Boston or NY area. We also are working on a modular summit in the San Fran area for September with MBI.