By Kelsey Keener
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–The Iron County Home Builders Association Annual Installation and Awards Banquet took place in the Heritage Center Theatre Lobby on Jan. 25. The banquet started with buffet-style lunch and a welcome from Andy Funderburk, 2017 President of the ICHBA. Funderburk also reviewed some of the ICHBA’s accomplishments throughout 2017.
The ICHBA made progress educating members about political and business issues, as well as conducted education classes for license renewals and construction sheetrock and framing skills courses in partnership with Southwest Applied Technical College. The association raised $3,000 for Toys for Tots and $9,000 for a local family in need. There were several networking and service opportunities for ICHBA members. During the Spring Home and Garden Fair members were able to display their products and services. In addition, the ICHBA provided scholarships for two SUU Construction Management Students: Chase Hooper and Jordan Kurth.
Before giving awards, Funderburk recognized the efforts of outgoing officers, board members and committee chairs.
Tom Braun was awarded the 2017 Builder Member of the Year and Shawn Stoor received the 2017 Associate Member of the Year. Ben Batty, 2017 First Vice President, recognized Funderburk for his efforts as President and introduced keynote speaker Congressman Chris Stewart.
Stewart began his address by saying home builders are a large part of the nation’s economy and explaining how taking part in building a home with his father taught him to appreciate learning by doing.
“We’ve created a disservice sometimes as a society when we tell our young people ‘if you don’t graduate from college you somehow have failed,’” he said. “I support education and I think we should encourage that, but we shouldn’t it encourage to the point where someone feels like they have to go to college or they’ve failed because the reality is you can go to college and get a worthless degree. On the other hand, if you can work with your hands, if you’re a mechanic, if you’re an electrician, you’re a builder or a plumber…there’s a lot of wonderful jobs and you can have a great career.”
He also gave a brief overview of the recent tax reforms and how they will benefit economic growth and homebuilders. Stewart added that he is working on reducing government regulation, especially for homebuilders.
He concluded with saying that his goal is to limit the ways in which the federal government can make people’s, especially homebuilders’, lives harder.
“There are things that the federal government does that can make your lives harder, and we want to minimize that,” he said. “We want that to be exercised with common sense. We want that to be exercised with as much restraint as possible. Minimize the power of the federal government, empower the local community, empower the commissioners, empower the governor, empower those people that are closest to the people: that’s one of the primary focuses I want to help you with in Washington.”
Following his speech, Stewart installed the 2018 Officers and Directors, as well as 2018 President of the ICHBA President Ben Batty. Funderburk passed the gavel to Batty, who then presented his goals for 2018.
“Our goal is to protect the American dream, to make these homes as affordable and accessible to as many Americans as possible,” Batty said. “We have worked together this year to make sure that some of the permitting processes and some of the inspection processes with our city government have become more fluid and easier for our builders. I look forward to this year; I look forward to serving.”