6/7/16

The Politics of Manufactured Housing

It must be because it’s an election year. - It seems like more than ever people, groups, and organizations are being very vocal about what they think is right or wrong with our government and our world. Part of it may be because of the explosion of social media - now anyone can claim to be a blogger or journalist and put things out there that they claim are facts, but don’t (or won’t) back them up. I am very fortunate to not only own my own company and brand, but I also write for a very credible publication - Candy’sDirt.com, and have been mentored by some of the best true journalists out there.This is a trust that I take very seriously, so when I see the public’s trust being treated without the respect it deserves, it hurts.

Words are very powerful things and can sometimes hurt more than any physical damage that you can do to someone. When you attack a person online or in print, that’s something that stays out there forever, whether it is true or not. Acting like a petulant child and making accusations about an organization or someone without thinking about what the consequences might be, just isn’t responsible journalism.

My parents have been married 64 years today and are terrific role models. My parents were great at sharing things that we needed to know without burdening us with problems we couldn’t solve or do anything about. They are the parents - we trust them to do the right thing and they always have.

When you join a nonprofit organization, you do so understanding that there is a governing group in place that is probably elected, and besides staff members, they are doing that as a labor of love for an industry they believe in. I’ve been on the boards of enough nonprofits and have friends that are staff members of some - they aren’t getting rich by any means, in fact they usually make less than someone in a similar position for a for profit business. They have an entire membership to listen to and make happy, and truly it is usually a thankless job.

When Dick Jennison came to the Manufactured Housing Institute, the industry was in a tailspin. We had a tough couple of years and there were lots of questions about how we would turn this around as an industry and regain the public’s trust. Mr. Jennison had to make a lot of tough decisions, pare down staff and cut costs to make sure that the Institute could survive. And we have. Not only have we survived, we are getting ready to thrive again. This year’s MHI Congress and Expo was a beautiful example of all of us coming together and working on ways how we could all move forward. Over 1,000 industry leaders attended, and Mr. Jennison stated that “we are back and stronger than ever.” Cavco Homes is celebrating their 60th year anniversary and I think their stock prices are the highest they have ever been. Champion has brought on some exciting new leadership and has made groundbreaking changes in the past year, and Clayton Homes continues to be the largest home builder of any kind in the United States. The big challenge that everyone has focused on, is how we are going to change the perception of manufactured and modular homes.

This all sounds great - so why is someone continually writing disparaging things about MHI and personally calling out some of it’s staff members to be replaced? I have my own opinions, but like my Dad says “nothing good will come out of sharing those with people who are not directly involved in the discussion.” Instead of being part of the solution, they prefer to make sensational statements that aren’t backed up and create a problem that isn’t there. Arguing with someone else’s viewpoint online or in print probably won’t change their perception in fact some publications are known to use sensational headlines or provocative comments just to get viewers to read their pages and increase their numbers. We refuse to do this and instead prefer to fill our pages with informative, original content that people are interested in. 

If you want to be a positive force with a group try volunteering, getting involved and helping to make a difference. If you don’t like what the rest of the group is doing, or prefer to have a different result you can always start your own group.

There is so much work to be done and it’s going to take all of us to progress in the future. By sharing the great things that all of us are doing, and leaving the fighting and discussions that need to go on behind closed doors exactly there - we can show the world a united front and share the right message - that manufactured is the consumers best choice for their new home.