By MIKE MEANS
Executive Vice President/OSHBA
(Editor's note: This column is reprinted from the Fall 2014 edition of Oklahoma Builder magazine)
It is with a touch of sadness that I reflect on reaching my 10-year milestone with the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association. As I say that it is hard to believe it has already been 10 years! Why, I can still remember when I was raising all your property values as County Assessor! Just kidding of course as I had a wonderful working relationship with the Association.
Why the sadness? Two people who were instrumental in the beginning of my career with the Association passed away this year. One was the person who hired me; the other was one who encouraged me. I'm speaking about Mark Dale and Bill Rhees.
Mark Dale was State President in 2004. I was changing careers at the time and the HBA was seeking a change in administration. Mark and I were like best friends from the minute we met. He was my legislative chairman up until his death. I could trust in his wisdom and he appreciated my political instincts. He will be missed by many of us. However, Jeff Click, my new legislative chairman and I have a relationship much like Mark's and mine. It is a blessing.
Bill Rhees was on the Association's Insurance Committee when I came on board. There was already ongoing discussion about possibly going to a self-insurance model and there was much division and contention at the time. I was plopped right in the middle of it.
At about the same time, we got word that Blue Cross Blue Shield was no longer going to underwrite our health program. Bill's calm demeanor and willingness to hear both sides of the issue was that of a statesman. His humor brought levity to and eased tension in the meetings. We became friends and shared our faith stories with each other. He was a solid Christian and encouraged me greatly. I still wonder where his infatuation with flatulence jokes came from.
Mike Means is shown with legendary New York
Yankees star Bobby Richardson.
But enough melancholy.
I titled this piece "Giving Back." The reason? I recently attended a banquet sponsored by some builders who "give back." They treat their employees and subcontractors and their families to a big banquet. But more than an appreciation dinner, it also includes a Gospel message and ideas on how they too can give back. These builders recognize and give the glory to God for their success. They feel they are giving back to God some of the blessings they have received by honoring those who helped them achieve their success. I was pleased to be a part of that banquet and meet their keynote speaker.
Pictured with me is former Yankee 2nd Baseman Bobby Richardson who is a devout Christian and shares his testimony with others. If you see me, ask me about the evening and I will share more than what I can in this column.
Thank you for allowing me this time to give back to a couple of men in the industry. They helped me in my first 10 years. And God willing, I will continue to give back as we journey through the next 10.