President’s Message: Passing the Baton

Jennifer KellerFeatured, President's Message

I would like to dedicate December’s article to thanking Aimee Bertrand, GHBA’s board and staff, our committees, councils, TAB directors, NAHB delegates, and member volunteers for their year of service to the association.

Together, we started the year with a few collective goals including growing our membership base, expanding the reach of our political action committee, and launching various initiatives in support of workforce development.

Our membership goal for the year was 100 new members. As of September, we exceeded that goal (we grew from 1,467 to 1,598 members). Throughout the year, the membership team held several membership drives and new member orientations. Their dedication to cause gives us our strength in terms of numbers, and I ask that you continue to do what you can to recruit and retain members.


Our political action committee raised $411,000 this year; in a typical year, the committee raises approximately $200,000. In an election year like this one, every dollar raised is vitally important to supporting the pro-housing candidates that the committee endorses. As we approach the end of 2022, please consider sending a donation of any size to the political action committee. They need our help to defend the industry we all depend on.

In January, we launched two new committees, the Workforce Development Committee and the Professional Women in Building Council. In its inaugural year, the Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) grew to be twice the size of the largest council in the country, with more than 300 members. The council hosted so many amazing events this year, from a Ladies Who Lead luncheon to financial classes and networking socials. It is heart-warming to see that our new council is being asked to guide other builder’s associations in starting their own successful councils.

Our Workforce Development initiatives were particularly rewarding throughout the year. A few months ago, we unveiled the BuildStrong Academy of Houston. This training center is part of a nationwide initiative by the Home Builders Institute (HBI) to help fill the severe worker shortage affecting housing in Texas and the U.S. The Houston location is the fourth BuildStrong Academy, following the opening of centers in Denver, CO, Orlando, FL and New Orleans, LA.

Throughout the year, we interacted with students from various programs to encourage interaction between employers and workforce candidates. Two weeks ago, members attended a resume workshop at Texas A&M. At the workshop, members reviewed resumes, listened to elevator pitches, and coached students in fine tuning their presentations and finding employment. Last month, at the Product EXPO attendees hosted students from Jones Futures Academy (JFA) in Houston Independent School District. Nearly 50 students as well as teachers and advisors from JFA were presented with hardhats emblazoned with the GHBA logo and treated to lunch, thanks to the new GHBA Launch Fund.

The Launch Fund is housed in GHBA’s Charitable Foundation and allows students from workforce partner programs to attend association events, meetings and construction hiring events so that they can meet members of our industry and start building the necessary career connections to encourage their employment. It is my hope that you consider making a small donation to this Launch Fund to continue our inaugural efforts to support students attending our events.

In January, the GHBA will host an event to install a new board of directors under the very capable leadership of Mike Dishberger. We wish the new board tremendous success in 2023.

About the Author

Jennifer Keller

Article by 2022 GHBA Board President Jennifer Keller, president and COO of Hamilton Thomas Homes. Keller has more than 25 years of experience in home building, land acquisition, land development, and land development / water resources engineering. Keller is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas who holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.