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Design and Construction Week Reunites Colleagues and Friends in the Home Building Industry

Design and Construction Week, also known by many as the International Builders Show and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, happened this past week. Happened seems like a complete understatement. It was the largest show the industry has seen in 10 years. We’re back! Personally, Design and Construction Week is my once a year opportunity to see scads of colleagues and business friends, as well as attend National Association of Home Builders committee and subcommittee meetings. Since I had not been back since the 2020 show, it felt even more like “old home week” as many of us caught up with each other and the past few years. 

For those of you who follow me on social media, you’ve seen a few “snapshots” yet I have lots more to share over the coming weeks. 


Why is Design and Construction Week Such a Big Deal 

The sheer amount of change happening in the building industry is reason enough to attend this week of education, connections and product explorations. This years show (and this is just the Builders Show part of it) boasted 100+ education sessions in 9 tracks; over 1 million square feet of exposition space hosting 1300+ exhibitors and lots of demos and teaching moments in the Centrals (interest specific gathering spots like Design Central, Remodeling Central and 55+ Housing Central) and on the expo floor. It was definitely a feast for the brain! 

It also provided many opportunities to connect or reconnect with people and companies with similar interests or learn something new. 

NAHB Professional Women in Building (PWB) has been a long time “home” for me and many of my women in building friends have come through this part of the NAHB organization. I’ve made some lifelong friends through this group. We lost 2 of our PWB sisters in 2022 and I want to share a moment of silence with you for all the great memories and hopes for their legacies to live on. 

Annemarie and I frequently roomed together at NAHB meetings and Builders Shows. She is an amazing friend, mom and timber frame builder. She has encouraged me through so many things. We share the cancer sisterhood as well. 

Christina I got to know through our mutual friend Darylene (also a good friend with Annemarie), PWB and the Certified Aging in Place program. Christina was a joy to spend time with and always had so many great ideas. 

Darylene and I toasted you both this past week. RIP Annemarie Mitchell and Christina Fortenberry. 


The Importance of Diversity and Women in Building

Walking the halls and floors of the Builders Show, there was finally more diversity – of all kinds. As a longtime member of the NAHB Professional Women in Building Council, we have been working for 60 years to build a more diverse workforce and support women in the building industry.  The PWB HQ offered fantastic opportunities to network, to learn and to connect with other people and women in the building industry.  

From the PWB HQ IBS page: “Every year, more and more women enter the homebuilding industry, bringing their unique perspectives and skills. But despite their growing numbers, women still face many challenges and roadblocks to success… PWB HQ provides women in the building industry with the resources they need to level up their careers and expand their networks.” What PWB HQ offered: 

#1: Fantastic Networking Opportunities

#2: Seminars and Trainings for Every Stage of Your Career

#3: Women to Watch Series

#4: Celebrate 2022’s Successes at the PWB Celebration with longtime sponsor, Insinkerator 

#5: Get One-On-One Advice and Support


The House That She Built – A Movement, A Project and A Book

NAHB PWB has also been a long-standing voice for diversity in the home building industry. The House That She Built project and Book have brought a much needed resource and movement to helping to show the diversity that is possible in our industry.  

The goal of Utah Professional Women in Building was to get more women into construction. So they decided to start a scholarship fund to encourage girls to get into construction work. As a fundraiser, they decided to have a house built entirely by girls. That was how the concept for The House That She Built was born. It was an incredible experience for all the Utah members of PWB to be involved in the House That She Built project and learn all the new skills that the project required! About 100 women worked on the house. They had skilled women from all over the US joining them. By the end of the project, they had all formed a lasting bond as a sisterhood! And started a movement! 


Speaking, People, Products and More!

On top of all of this, I had the opportunity to speak in 2 different venues. The photo is our group that presented the IBS Education Session: 

Jillian Pritchard Cooke – Wellness Within Your Walls

Bill Hayward – Hayward Healthy Home Score and Hayward Lumber

Mark Laliberte – Hayward Lumber. 

Our session, Building the Healthy Homes Buyers Now Demand had a full house and lots of great questions and discussion. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to work with these amazing professionals in the healthier, better home space. Please contact me if you would be interested in our overview and resources. 

Design Central hosted me for a talk about 11 Things for a Health and Wellness Kitchen Remodel. I really enjoyed talking with the participants about the easier swaps we can make in our projects to uplevel them for our health and well-being. 


Excited for 2023

There are lots of things in store for 2023. Stay tuned. Looking forward to connecting and working with you in the future. Happy February!  

Mentions and Resources

Wellness Within Your Walls

Hayward Score

Green Home Coach Trusted Partners and Brands

Everyday Green Home Podcast

Green Home Coach Blog

Living Green Effortlessly, Simple Choices for a Better Home book