Robert Karen Named New Jersey’s ‘Legend of Housing’
Robert H. “Bob” Karen will be recognized by the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA) as the 2009 “Legend of Housing” on April 23 at Caesars, Atlantic City during the 60th Annual Atlantic Builders Convention.
The association’s highest honor, the designation was established to recognize exceptional accomplishments and contributions to the home building industry and to pay tribute to those whose dedication has resulted in a substantial, measurable and lasting impact on housing families in New Jersey.
With more than 40 years of experience in home building, Karen served two consecutive terms as NJBA president from 1991 to 1993. Under his leadership, the association conducted its successful “Fix the Hammer” campaign — a legislative initiative under which seven major home building industry bills were enacted, including the Permit Extension Act.
Beyond the notable legislative initiative, Karen’s goal for the campaign was to see the association through tough economic times — not unlike today’s. “Fix the Hammer” became a rallying cry for the association and served to engage and unify its membership in support of the industry, saving jobs and companies alike.
As a result, builders were able to proceed on homes on which they otherwise might not have been able to break ground — in the process, providing housing, jobs and economic stimulus for the state at a time when they were desperately needed.
A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. , Karen studied under NAHB’s chief economist, Michael Sumichrast. Upon graduation, he managed projects in Maryland and New Jersey, qualifying them for FHA 235 subsidized mortgage financing and providing many low- and moderate-income families the opportunity to become home owners.
Karen is a nationally recognized expert in the field of active adult community development. His communities have received national acclaim and numerous industry awards. Working for K. Hovnanian, Inc. from 1993 until 2001, he led the development of active adult communities and was responsible for conceptualizing and successfully establishing the company’s Four Seasons brand.
Past recipients of the “Legend of Housing” award include home builders, business professionals and citizens, including Ethel Lawrence, the housing advocate behind the famous Mount Laurel decision — a state constitutional mandate requiring municipalities to provide realistic opportunities for the production of affordable housing for New Jersey’s low- and moderate-income households.
For information about the installation dinner, click here.