Jill Allan, of The Meritage Group, is a member of the Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and has been a huge supporter of PBA for many years. She is also a member of PBA’s Board of Directors. In honor of her contributions to the home building industry, we are highlighting Jill as part of Women in Construction Week.
What is your current position and what does your company do?
I am the Vice President with The Meritage Group, LP in Pittsburgh. We specialize in land development.
When did you realize you wanted to work in construction?
I decided in my 40’s to try something different. I didn’t set out to obtain a position in this particular field.
What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in construction?
For the most part I was welcomed in the industry and colleagues were willing to help me understand the industry.
What is your favorite part of your career?
The days and projects are never the same. The challenges associated with always having to find a solution make the field interesting. There is always the opportunity to learn something new.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Don’t ever be afraid to ask someone for help, to clarify what they need or to let them know you are new. I found the majority of people are willing to assist you.
We continue our celebration of Women in Construction Week by showcasing Anne Hunyady of S&A Homes in Duncansville. In addition to her work with S&A Homes, Anne is currently serving the Blair/Bedford Builders Association as the 2020 President.
I am currently the New Homes Sales Consultant for S&A Homes, located in Duncansville, PA. We serve five counties in Western Pennsylvania. S&A Homes is a plans and options on-site stick built new home construction company.
When I initially met with S&A Homes, the possibility to help clients fulfill their dream of owning a new home was what got me on board. It is a terrific felling when you can see a project through to completion and be with those clients at such an exciting time!
I have SO much support from my company. S&A has given me all the tools I need to be successful – from product knowledge to constant behind the scene’s support.
I love being able to see my projects from an initial consult, all the way through to a completed home. I find it to be very fulfilling to work with clients from contract to design work. Even after many years of working with clients, each client and their dream home is so special and such a unique experience!
Every day is a learning experience! Always ask questions and find support from like-minded colleagues. Don’t be afraid to fail, that’s when you learn to most, just try again.
March 1-7 is Women in Construction Week. PBA is rich due to the fact that so many of our members are inspirational women who have carved a path for others and have made such a huge impact on the home building industry.
We celebrate these contributions by profiling some of these fantastic business leaders this week.
First up, meet Cindy Cepko. Cindy, a member of Wayne Pike BIA, currently serves as the PBA Vice President.
I am co-owner of Granite Homes, Inc. a women-owned business registered in Pennsylvania. My business partner and I, Maria Coutts, market and sell modular construction and also help existing homeowners improve their homes by remodeling or refinishing parts of their home like basements, bathrooms, and other rooms.
I was approached by the Coutts in 2003. They asked if I would work for them as their sales manager out of one of their model homes in a large vacation community. I knew nothing about new home sales or construction. I knew I had a lot to learn but was willing to try. It was a great experience, many people were buying second homes and the market was great.
For me it has been the welcoming feeling I get working with our trade contractors. I thought as a woman I would be looked at as not belonging. However in my quest to learn all I could about new home construction I asked a lot of questions of our subcontractors, spent many hours on job sites watching them work, finding out how things are built, and more.
The people you get to meet. I know everyone says the same thing most of the time but it's really true. People come to you and share their dreams and plans with you and it really becomes your dream as well. It is a satisfying experience working with people who are happy to have a new home or newly remodeled room and are truly happy with it.
Don't be afraid to jump in. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Learn all you can. The one thing I didn't like doing was saying "I'm sorry I don't know." I would say "I’m sorry I don't know but I will find out and get back to you." And then I would. I would strive to know the answers before someone asked me a question so I would never have to say I didn't know.
Carmen and Jared Witmer, owners of J.D. Witmer Drywall, Inc. located in Dover, PA, have been awarded the Hammers & Gavels Award by the statewide Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA). The Hammers & Gavels Award is one of the Association's highest awards representing statewide legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of the residential construction industry.
The Witmers testified on behalf of PBA when sharing their family business’s experience of being audited twice under Act 72 – the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act. Because of that testimony and meetings with members of the House – two bills amending the Misclassification Act never made it out of the House Labor and Industry Committee – and Union Leaders were forced to admit publicly that Act 72 was never intended to have a detrimental effect on small contractors.
“Not only did they have the courage to step up and speak on behalf of other hard-working businesses and stakeholders, but their message was persuasive and effective,” remarked Jim Rumbaugh, Chair of the PBA Governmental Affairs Committee, when presenting the award to the Witmers.
In addition to their advocacy efforts, the Witmers have offered their time and help to other association members facing similar situations. They are now active members of the York Builders Association’s Government Affairs Committee and their family is also supportive in volunteering at Association events.
NAHB Builder Link Alert
Please call or write your Senator and urge them to contact Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to keep energy building code provisions out of the comprehensive energy bill.
Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-WV) are working to introduce a comprehensive energy bill and are attempting to include S. 2137, The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, into the bill. S. 2137 would expand the role of the Department of Energy (DOE) in the code development process by requiring them to establish energy savings targets, thereby denying the code consensus bodies freedom in decision-making. Learn more about the bill here.
This represents an unprecedented power grab by the federal government in the building code development arena and we need your help now!
CALL TO ACTION
The second installment of PBA's official magazine, Building Pennsylvania, is now hitting members' mailboxes. The theme of this edition is Workforce Development. Read all about how PBA is working with educators, local associations, students, and employers to grow the workforce of tomorrow.
PBA members can also get to know the 2020 PBA President Jon Sukonik as well as take a look back at the impact Past President J. Roger Glunt (1976) made on the association.
Be sure to check out reports on what's going on in the local associations plus get a heads-up on E-Verify and how it impacts your business.
Look for the magazine and be sure to share it with potential members.
Read the online edition here.
PBA members officially kicked off 2020 with the Winter Board Meeting. The event took place February 20-22 at the Valley Forge Casino in King of Prussia.
Board meetings are held three times a year and provide an opportunity for committees and members to strategize and make plans for the welfare of the association. In addition, committees were tasked by 2020 PBA President Jon Sukonik to increase involvement and accountability. Concrete goals were requested and committees will be required to report on progress between board meetings.
Before the business officially started, members gathered for a hospitality event on Thursday evening. The occasion gave members a chance to catch up with friends and business associates as well as the ability to connect and welcome new members.
Friday’s packed day of meetings included the large gathering of the Government Affairs committee. Prior to the GA committee’s work, Chair Jim Rumbaugh had the pleasure of presenting the Hammers and Gavels Award to York Builders Association members Jared and Carmen Witmer. The award is one of the association's highest awards representing statewide legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of the residential construction industry.
Once the meetings concluded, nearly 300 members and guests joined together for the 2020 Installation and Awards Banquet where PBA honored its own and the leadership was formally sworn into office.
The evening started out with a reception and silent auction of more than 30 items with 100% of the proceeds going to the PA Foundation for Housing and the great work of the Endorsed Trade Program. A total of more than $7,300 was raised.
The following individuals and organizations received PBA’s annual awards:
Judy Dinelle, the 2020 NAHB PWB Woman of the Year and 2020 NAHB Associates Member Committee Chair installed the leadership of the Professional Women in Building officers:
Professional Women in Building:
Special guest Dean Mon, 2020 NAHB Chair, was on hand to install the following officers to their respective offices:
Executive Officers Council:
Regional Vice Presidents:
Regional Legislative Officers:
PBA Senior Officers:
For his installation as the 70th President of PBA, Jon Sukonik (HBA of Bucks and Montgomery Counties) asked his father, Harold Sukonik, to administer the oath of office. Following his formal swearing-in, Jon thanked the guests in attendance and shared his passions for the industry and his plans to make 2020 a great year for PBA.
The evening concluded with entertainment provided by the Aqua String Band who brought a taste of Philadelphia and the famous Mummers Parade to the installation.
Saturday morning’s Board of Directors Meeting was an opportunity to get down to official business. Reports on GA activities, membership, PaCAH, and BUILD-PAC were provided. Life Directors Bill Harrison and Arnold Minnick, both of West Branch Susquehanna BA, and Paul Szostak of Wayne Pike BIA were presented with their official certificates. Lori Venema of West Branch Susquehanna BA was formally elected as PBA Treasurer prior to her report on PBA financials.
The latest edition of Building Pennsylvania, PBA’s official publication, was unveiled along with a rendering of the new PBA website, to debut this spring.
The Summer PBA Board Meeting will take place July 23-25 at the OMNI Bedford Springs Resort.
Photos courtesy of Linda McManus Images
The 28th Annual PHRC Housing Conference is only a month away! Some highlights include:
On March 4-5, the 28th Annual PHRC Housing Conference highlights best practices, regulation, and innovation in the housing industry. Invited speakers present on a wide-range of topics, which may include high-performance homes, panelized construction, modular homes, innovative technologies, PA Uniform Construction Code, land development, manufactured homes, and code updates with the PCCA Symposium Central. Also, Wednesday evening will feature our fun networking event, Happy Hour on the Exhibit Floor.
This conference brings together all sectors of the housing industry including builders, design professionals, remodelers, code officials, educators, factory-built housing manufacturers, and product manufacturers. Continuing education available for AIA, ICC, L&I, NARI, and PA PDHs pending individual session approval.
For more information, please visit www.phrc.psu.edu! Also, join the Facebook event.
PBA CEO Dan Durden sat down with Mike McGee, CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, for an episode of CEO Corner.
The two discussed the challenges facing builders in Pennsylvania and the impediments to building affordable housing including property taxes, zoning limitations, stormwater regulations. Warranty complications, escalating material costs, and the shrinking workforce and how they impact the home building industry in Pennsylvania were also topics covered in the episode.
Have you reserved your tickets for the 2020 PBA Installation and Awards Banquet yet? Join us for an evening of celebration as the new PBA Senior Officers including President Jon Sukonik, RVP and RLO, and other leadership are sworn-in for their service to the Association. In addition, PBA will honor our own with awards for Builder and Associate of the Year.
Prior to the banquet, guests will be encouraged to check out the auction benefiting the PA Foundation for Housing – proceeds will help support the Endorsed Trade Program.
Tickets are now available and going fast. To save your seat, purchase your ticket here today.
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