From the President

Charlie Corbett - Rough River, KY

And then it happened….the years rolled by, and suddenly, 2019 showed up.  Taking just a moment for reflection, when I started in home construction in 1977, I can tell you that becoming President of the Home Builders Association of Kentucky was a thought that never entered my thinking.  I will never forget the encouragement of John Miranda, Rocky Pusateri, Mac Crawford, Elery Esposito, Marshall Todd, Jim Cutter, Jon Wilson, Trudy Wyatt, Debbie Todd, Cheryl Stegman, JoEllen Thompson, Bob Weiss and many other distinguished members when I was approached to step upon the leadership ladder.  I am not exactly sure what they saw in me that prompted them to take such an interest in me, but I am certainly glad they did.

I began working in residential home construction in 1977 and had a front row seat for the financial disaster of the early 1980’s when interest rates for a home mortgage topped 17%.  A lot of construction workers, including me, all had to find a new way to make a living.  Following a family tradition, I joined the United States Navy, and spent 8 years in the Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet patrolling the oceans deep.  I followed that with a career in commercial nuclear power and international consulting work, and eventually came home to Rough River Lake.   My wife Cathy and I immediately noticed that there was a lack of developed waterfront land and a shortage of construction professionals.  After careful consideration, we set about changing that.  Now, 15 years and 6 waterfront developments later, Rough River Lake has an entirely new complexion and 2.1 million visitors per year.

I firmly believe that business is dependent on relationships.  Relationships built on mutual respect within our communities including bankers, sub-contractors, suppliers, customers, builder peers, inspectors, regulators, and legislators.  I believe those relationships are absolutely vital to our collective success.  Our association members are not just Builders of homes…we are also Builders of our communities, and Builders of relationships.

We have repeatedly proclaimed that Advocacy is the primary function of our Association.  Notice that I capitalized the “A” in Advocacy.  One of our objectives for 2019 is to turn up the volume on Advocacy and keep it visible.  Along with that, we will be creating some performance metrics to measure our progress.  From my years of international consulting work, I know that we must measure what is important.  If it is not measured or tracked in some fashion, it must not be too important.  Advocacy is important.

For the past decade, I personally have been working on building relationships with Congressmen, Senators, Legislators, our Governor, and many others at more local levels.  Building a relationship based on mutual respect takes time and repeated demonstration of commitment and honesty.  When any of these elected officials think of housing and construction, our goal is that they automatically think of us FIRST.

Last year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invited me to a private roundtable meeting to discuss tax reform.  I was invited because I had built a relationship of trust with him and his staff over the past several years.  At the time, mortgage interest and business interest deductions were on the table for cuts or outright elimination.

In my mind, homeownership is the most prominent pillar of the foundation upon which the American Dream is built.  I believe our tax code should reflect what is important to us as a country, and should always support and promote home ownership.  I knew that this meeting would require more political skill and prowess than I currently possessed, so I asked Senator McConnells’s staff to allow me to bring some additional guests and they obliged my request.   My first phone call was to Bob Weiss, and we ultimately had 5 members of our HBAK leadership team in attendance. 

Decisions are made by those who show up.  We showed up strong and were the most interactive group in attendance.  I know that we had an impact since the mortgage interest and business interest deductions were ultimately kept in our tax code.  Building relationships with decision makers is our most vital Advocacy role…it is what we must do and do well to be successful.  February 27th is our Capitol Day in Frankfort and I ask respectfully that you put this date on your calendars. 

Decisions are made by those who show up. Let’s be committed to showing up and expand our personal relationships with our elected officials.  Make the commitment now to attend “Capitol Day with Capital A for Advocacy”.  (I just made that up..pretty cool for an amateur marketeer, huh?)

In 2019, we will be focused on Advocacy…we will “Turn up the Volume and Keep it Visible”.  Think ADVOCACY and spell it with a capital A.  

We are Builders of Homes and Builders of our Communities.  To be great at both of these, we must be Builders of Relationships.   I am looking forward to a strong New Year and I am so proud and honored to be trusted by all of you to be the President of our Home Builders Association of Kentucky.  With your help and encouragement, we will further solidify our position as Advocates for the home building industry. 

Decisions are made by those who show up.  We will show up strong.  There will be much more to come, so stay tuned.  Film at 11.


The Home Builders Association of Kentucky (HBAK) is a voluntary, statewide trade association representing over 5,400 member firms and 25,000 individuals in the housing and building industry throughout the Commonwealth.