By Luca Bucci

Recognizing the importance of OHBA’s Annual Conference and Awards of Distinction

Before stepping into my role as CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, I had heard how significant the OHBA Conference and Awards of Distinction (AoD) were to industry members. Experiencing it firsthand solidified that initial presumption. 

The 2022 OHBA Conference was the first opportunity since 2019 for our members to get back together in person. At the beginning of the pandemic, OHBA shifted many events online, including our 2020 Awards of Distinction and 2021 Annual Conference. This year, however, we finally had a clear path to bring forward a bold and ambitious program of educational sessions, professional development and industry celebrations. 

Members gathered at Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls for the start of a new year with the Annual Meeting of Members (AMM). The AMM provides the opportunity to establish association priorities for the coming year. With a continued imbalance between housing supply and demand, the AMM showed that our association is serious about increasing the volume and variety of housing options in Ontario. We outlined a strong advocacy path focused on streamlining approvals, increasing land availability, building infrastructure, capping costs and fighting NIMBYism.

Leading us down this path is OHBA’s new president, Louie Zagordo. Having served as 1st VP for three years, Louie’s move to president was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but he arrives ready to meet members, hear their challenges and be a strong voice for local associations. Louie has a great team behind him in the 2022-2023 board of directors, including the wise advice of immediate Past President Bob Schickedanz. 

Turning to the 30th edition of the Awards of Distinction, I was tremendously honoured to take an active role in this year’s AoD program. It was an immense pleasure to welcome industry members to the evening and hear firsthand the stories of how these projects came to be. One thing that stuck with me was that these amazing projects don’t happen accidentally. Tireless work by builders, renovators and their teams is required to design, market and construct these new or newly renovated homes. Our industry is passionate and competitive about what we do, and I am confident this is the secret to Ontario’s thriving housing sector. When our members continually push the boundaries of design, sustainability and practicality, they elevate our industry to new heights.

Receiving an Award of Distinction honour symbolizes not just excellence in new home construction and renovation but also the ways in which housing has become more sophisticated, efficient, sustainable and focused on occupant comfort. Meeting many of our award finalists and winners after the ceremony, it is evident that members have end users in mind when envisioning future projects­—ensuring individuals and families get the most out of their new or newly renovated home, not just in features but in practical design elements, materials and technology. In many ways, the AoD program provides a glimpse of where the industry is heading and where consumer priorities may be in the future.  

The 2022 OHBA Conference could not have happened without the support of our host local, the Niagara Home Builders’ Association, along with countless volunteers, judges and staff. On behalf of the OHBA, we thank all those who had a role in making our first in-person conference back an incredible success.

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