By Hannah Gerken
The Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association was chartered in 1967 to promote and protect the building industries in the Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, Walker, and Washington counties.
Half a century later, they celebrate 50 years of strong leadership, building code education for builders, community service, and more as they continue to carry out their mission.
“It really means something when someone says that [it’s our 50th anniversary],” says Bill Lero, GBVBA 1987, 1994, and 1999 president and president of Lero & Associates, Inc. “I’ve been participating probably 45 of those 50 years and you don’t think about those kind of things. You think something like, ‘Oh my homebuilder’s association was around forever,’ but it really wasn’t. It took some very wise men with some very good intentions to step out and help.”
Through general member luncheons, social functions, holiday parties, awards dinners, and more, GBVBA allows the homebuilding community to support each other in their goal of providing safe, quality, and cost-effective housing while promoting a positive economic future.
“It’s very important to have an organization like that where everybody can come together,” says Randy French, GBVBA 1989 and 2011 president and president of Stylecraft Builders, Inc. “Then if you’ve got a particular problem, you’ve got one area to source that. It’s also very good for vendors and suppliers … because they have a place to come and meet the builders … It’s a good networking opportunity, for sure.”
For those who start their own businesses, GBVBA serves as a great resource for learning and support. It helps introduce them to the National Association of Home Builders, provides valuable education tools, updates members of changes to policies and codes, and offers a platform for growth. French regards his introduction to the NAHB Builder 20 program as the most influential thing he gained from joining GBVBA in his early years as a business owner. It also allowed him to share financial data with other builders in a diverse market that would not compete against one another. This allowed a national perspective on how to improve the financial side of running a homebuilding business.
Victor Drozd, owner of 2DHomes and GBVBA president of 1996, 1998, 2002, and 2006, says another important aspect of the Association is its work towards educating those in the industry and its work toward fighting laws that would have negative affects on builders and homeowners. Drozd says most homeowners do not realize that about 20 percent of the cost of homes is due to rules and regulations builders must follow.
“One of the things the Association really does is help us fight frivolous laws that get put in place,” says Drozd. “We always say we are in this Association for the survival of our livelihood. We have a stronger voice with the city government, the state government, and the national government when a lot of members come together.”
Over the 50 years, there have been several major accomplishments for the Association. The Association has many members who have held continuous membership for more than 30 years. In 1997, they had their first and only female president. In 2014, they changed their name from the Bryan College Station Home Builders Association to the Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association, to better represent the larger area the organization served. An official National Home Builder’s Remodeling Association was started locally in 2015, which allowed consumers to see a group of trade professionals in the remodeling business. Finally, this year they hosted their 38th consecutive Home and Garden Show.
GBVBA’s Parade of Homes™ continues to grow with this Fall’s roster of 49 homes culminating in the largest Fall Parade of Homes™ to date. Pitman says they wish to continue adding to the event. This year they will be introducing a mobile app to enhance the experience for attendees.
These changes speak to the growth, stability, and importance the GBVBA has found in the community and the cause for celebration after 50 years of bringing together the homebuilding industry.