As President of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, Phil Rhees also serves as co-chair of the 2015 Oklahoma Building Summit & Expo, August 26-27, along with Kurt Dinnes. Rhees recently sat down to answer questions about the upcoming session and how it will benefit OSHBA members. The following is the second in a series of three excerpts from that conversation:
Q: How many vendors do you anticipate participating in the Expo?
A: This year our hope is we will have somewhere between 90 and 100 vendors exhibiting at the show. That compares to last year when we had approximately 10 booths that were operating during the event.
Register for the 2015 Oklahoma Building Summit & Expo
Q: In what ways will be Expo benefit your members as they network with the vendors?
A: We hope that our members will be able to go to the Building Summit and learn about new products, new ideas that will help them in their approach to building a home. Energy efficiency is a very big buzzword in the state of Oklahoma for builders right now, and we will learn different ways we can make our houses more energy efficient. There will be some vendors out there who will specifically address those needs. As a builder, I would like to attend this show and be able to talk to a lot of different vendors in one location without having to spend a lot of time looking all over town or looking on the Internet for information. I can go directly to those vendors there and hopefully get their information or be able to buy their products to put in my home. So you can be at the Summit and hear a lot of speakers talking about how to build a more energy efficient home, then you can walk out onto the floor exhibition floor and see a lot of the products you are going to need to be able to build a more energy efficient home. So, you can talk to them about buying those products and putting them in your house. It's a one-stop shop.
Watch the video interview with Phil Rhees
Q: What is your ultimate goal with the Building Summit & Expo?
A: Our focus is on our membership in the state of Oklahoma. We want to be able to provide the best education possible for Oklahoma builders so we can produce the best product that we possibly can. So, our goal is to try to offer a local educational source and to be the go-to source in Oklahoma for education on homebuilding. There are also benefits to people who aren't able to make the International Builders Show every year. The education we are offering is the exact same levels you'll find at the International Builders show. You can just stay here, stay at home, and not spend near as much money to attend that show. So, when the public takes a look at us and they see we are a member of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, they can be assured that we are offering education to all of our homebuilders and they have the opportunity to be educated to the level they expect. As a homebuyer, I would expect to be able to walk in to a house that has the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association logo and Certified Professional Builder logo and know they have the highest level of education possible.
Q: What's the purpose of your banquet on Wednesday night?
A: One of the other reasons we extended this into a two-day show was that a couple of years ago we got rid of our Oklahoma State Home Builders Association summer convention. That was a great opportunity for our builders and associate members from around the state and their families to come together and network and have a good time and learned a lot in a relaxing location and relaxing atmosphere. So one of the things we wanted to do in this particular situation this year was to offer an evening dinner event for builders and their spouses and associate members and their spouses to come in and have an entertaining event where they can come together and network like we used to. We expect to have a band there and will have a speaker who is more of an entertaining speaker. We always have a good time when we get together as a state Association. And I know a lot of our members have missed that. We are putting that together this year, and we're hoping it's a first-class event.
Q: Why should builders attend this event?
A: It is amazing to me how much builders in Oklahoma are looking to get better. They want to get better at their craft, they want to raise the bar, raising expectations on what we are supposed to be as builders in Oklahoma. So, we're supporting that idea. We want our builders to be the most educated and the most energy efficient builders in the United States. So, we are offering lots of opportunities for this to happen in a local location in Oklahoma City. You can get away and you can come to this Summit for a couple of days. It's very inexpensive and you can learn something in enjoy yourself.