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A Year-End Message From The President

Category: Member-Features

2020: The Runaway Train Is On-Track

A year-end message

Darrick Guthmiller, Kochmann Brothers Homes, Inc.

HBA of F-M President


Serving as HBA of F-M president in 2020 was a bit like being on a train barreling 100 mph down the rails. As business owners, managers and salespeople, we are dealing with high demand (good news) and high lumber prices with limited supplies (bad news), all on top of COVID-related stresses related to health, family and school adjustments.

Here at the HBA, some plans for 2020 were derailed when COVID-19 overtook our lives, but most of them have stayed on the tracks. Reflecting on it all, these are the high points I see from the engineer’s seat:


Two incredibly successful Parade of Homes events for our builders, trade partners and community.

Thank you to everyone involved for supporting those efforts and helping us put them on safely. We heard repeatedly how grateful people were to have events to attend in June and September, and how excited buyers are about the housing market!


Melanie and Ben Anderson, Benjamin Custom Homes, Inc., shoot a promotional video for the Fall Parade of Homes.


Two outside-the-box drive-thru picnic events free for members.

You told us that you appreciated the free lunch and a sense of normalcy, thanks to the help and sponsorship of Wood Specialists and Cass County Electric Cooperative.


Carlita Dietz, Jay Dietz Construction, Inc., and Erick Roder, Codelation, volunteer at the Muddy Boots Picnic.


Advocacy – it hasn’t missed a beat!

HBA kept you working in March and April by

  • communicating effectively with officials and local governments.
  • providing you the most relevant information on job site inspections/protocols and advocated for keeping jobsites active (safely, of course).
  • offering safety resources and templates for procedures in dealing with COVID-19.


David Reid, Radiant Homes, talks to his crew about COVID-19 during a safety standdown.


We offered a virtual building officials roundtable, your direct link to the most critical issues being seen in our  inspections departments.

Staff and member volunteers met with over 40 candidates running for local and legislative offices. They carried your
issues forward and made decisions to support 20 candidates in their races. HBA provided information and support to help you make an informed decision for the candidates that advocate for housing.

Workforce efforts win through

  • continued fundraising to meet our $1 million goal for the Cass County Career Workforce Academy and are only about $200,000 from hitting it by year end.
  • continued pursuit of lowering the age minimum on North Dakota jobsites to facilitate internships and
  • apprenticeships for students.

HBA was your voice as issues surfaced regarding the

  • North Dakota electrical code,
  • International Energy Conservation Code in Minnesota and
  • concerns over special assessments and new development in Horace.

I miss seeing you face-to-face, shaking hands and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder! I hope that we can get back to it in
some form next year. I’m looking forward to pulling this train into the station and handing it off to Kim Hochhalter, Building Concepts, Inc., who will be your president for 2021.

My parting words: Always remember that the Association is here for you as a resource and industry partner. You have a professional staff at your fingertips at the HBA. Call them if you need anything. Chances are, they can help or point you in the right direction as we face the future unknowns together.