Week of April 13, 2009
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Nation's Oldest HBA Celebrates 100 Years of Service

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (Master Builders) is performing 100 community service projects this year in celebration of its 2009 centennial. The association is the oldest and largest of NAHB’s more than 800 local home builders associations.

“The home building industry has been a vital force in the economic health of King and Snohomish counties and Washington State for a century,” said John Day, president of the Master Builders. “We are proud to celebrate our 100th year of building and remodeling homes by performing community service and projects in King and Snohomish counties. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recognize our longevity and contributions of our members in making this region one of the envies of the world.”

The association has established a long-standing record of community service — including such projects as building free access ramps for disabled home owners, building and maintaining shelters for homeless individuals and families and educating young people about career opportunities in the construction industry.

Working with Centex, Master Builders and its Master Builders Care Foundation completed the first of its 100 projects on Jan. 15 with the dedication of three new apartments and a community center at Vision House, a new transitional housing facility in Renton.

The new building that was completed provides transitional housing and support services, primarily to children and homeless mothers.

Association volunteers gave their time and materials to make it happen. This was the third homeless shelter dedicated by the Master Builders Care Foundation in only nine months.

At the end of this week, on April 17, staff members of the association will join EarthCorps, City Year and the Seattle Parks Department in support of a Green Seattle Partnership project in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, which is the largest greenbelt in the city of Seattle.

Comprised of nearly 182 acres, the greenbelt is home to fox, red-legged frogs, hawks, bald eagles and an abundance of native plant life. Master Builder staff members will work on restoration efforts in the upland forest habitat by removing invasive plant species, grubbing out invasive blackberry roots, spreading mulch and maintaining past restoration sites.

The largest of the association’s 100 centennial projects will be the construction of a laboratory and education space at the Mercer Slough Environmental Center in Bellevue that will enable students to participate in hands-on environmental experiments. The center hosts environmental educational programs for more than 150,000 children a year.

Other projects include service to local shelters on the last Friday of each month, food drives at general membership dinners, a clothing drive at the 2009 Northwest Builders Show in December and special projects on Memorial Day and Earth Day.

In addition to its 100 Community Service Projects, the association is celebrating its centennial with a picnic for all its members in July, a black-tie gala in December and the publication of a definitive history of the association and the role it has played in the development of the region.

Following two decades of rapid and unchecked rebuilding from the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, Master Builders was started in August 1909 by five builders who came together to create standards, solid business practices and well-built homes for consumers.

By June 1916, the association had more than 70 members, who soon began to realize the power of helping each other to become more successful and to expand opportunities to serve and improve the community.

During World War I and World War II, the association led the local effort to build wartime workforce housing. During World War I, association members built 2,000 homes in two months, ensuring that the Seattle area could keep its lucrative government wartime contracts.

In the midst of a cyclical downturn in residential construction that has made association resources more important than ever, the local home building industry currently employs more than an estimated 50,000 workers.

“While celebrating our centennial, it is important to remain focused on helping members sustain their businesses,” said Samuel L. Anderson, executive officer of the Master Builders. “Our association is as committed now as it has ever been to improving the lives of our members during this difficult economy.”

The association consistently delivers critical services to its members — including health and other insurance, cutting-edge educational classes through its MBA University, a variety of employee benefit programs, and marketing and network activities.

The Master Builders Association is currently the largest purchaser of Regence Blue Shield health insurance in the state, and it insures more than 50,000 men, women and children.

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