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September Is Associate Member Appreciation Month!

Since 1981, September has been designated as the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Associate Member Appreciation Month — an annual celebration of our Associates’ contributions to Delaware, the NAHB federation and our nation’s building industry.

The Home Builders Association of Delaware (HBA/DE) really appreciates its Associate Members! Associate members provide support to HBA/DE at the local, state and national levels, they volunteer time, talent and treasure to help the association, and they serve on committees and councils, conveying valuable insight and business management tips. Therefore, designating September as Associate Appreciation Month is just one way of providing the much-deserved visibility and recognition to our invaluable Associate members.

As you know, each month the Builder Members of our Board of Directors nominates an Associate Member for the coveted, annual Associate of the Year Award, awarded annually each December. You can see a list of all the previous year recipients of the Associate of the Year Award, as well as this year’s nominees by clicking here.

In order to honor, and thank our Associates, HBA/DE will be highlighting a different Associate Member each week for this month. This week we have Debra Young, M.Ed., OTR/L, SCEM, ATP, CAPS, Owner of EmpowerAbility.


Debra was elected Director to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Board of Directors (2015-2018). In 2014 she received he AOTA Recognition of Achievement Award for notable contributions to the profession and its consumers in the environmental modifications specialty area of practice. Locally, she serves on the Home Builders Association of Delaware (HBA/DE) Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and serves as the Chair of the HBA/DE Associates Council. She is also scheduled to present, “Think your buyers are too young for Universal Design? Think again!” at the upcoming 2016 International Builders Show.

We reached out to Debra to ask her a few questions about her experience with HBA/DE:

Q: When did you first join HBA/DE and what made you join?

A: I first joined HBA/DE in 2011, shortly after I obtained the NAHB Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation.  It was within the CAPS courses that I was introduced to the building industry perspective on the creation of spaces for older adults.  Joining HBA/DE seemed like the natural next step .  Occupational therapists are uniquely qualified to address the needs of older adults who wish to continue to live at home.  Our knowledge of the person-environment fit lends well to consulting on planning and layout of built and natural environments. Inter-professional collaboration provides a marriage of the medical and building industries for best client outcomes.

Q: Why do you stay a member of HBA/DE?

A: Interprofessional collaboration is integral to my business model.  I am a believer in ‘seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ Having an understanding of the issues facing the building industry on both a local and national level is critical to the collaborative team process.  I remain active with HBA/DE to be a resource for inclusive housing and communities, but to also continue to strengthen partnerships between occupational therapy practice and the building industry for the benefit of my clients.

Q: What is your favorite HBA/DE Event and why?

A: I have enjoyed and found benefit in every HBA/DE event that I have attended.  Networking and getting to know the other members on not just a professional, but also a personal level, has been tremendous.   As a foodie I am partial to the Celebrity Chef event.  As a former bowler, I also enjoy the challenge of bowling nearly 30 years later.  Although, shooting a shotgun for the first time at the Clay shoot and getting a chance to try some new brands of Scotch, at the Cigars & Scotch event, certainly top the list as well.

Q: What have you accomplished as a result of HBA/DE Membership?

A: My membership has helped to not only provide project leads for my business, it has fostered local and national friendships that would otherwise not have occurred.  Active involvement within HBA/DE led to active involvement with NAHB. Getting involved and staying involved allowed me the opportunity to participate as a content expert on what I am most passionate about; universally designed products and spaces and the concept of aging in place.  Invitations to present and be a part of special projects and subcommittees followed, providing further networking opportunities and added exposure for my business.  A direct result of my membership has been the ability to provide continuing education to building industry professionals on a local and national level on universal design and aging in place.  This, along with many other notable contributions I made in an effort to support and promote the NAHB CAPS designation, paved the way to my being the recipient of the 2013 NAHB CAPS of the Year Award.

Q: What do you feel is the greatest benefit of HBA/DE Membership?

A: Keeping up to date on building industry trends and how it may impact business.  Having a seat at the table when it comes to government affairs, legislation and state/local policy decision-making.  Most of all:  Being a part of a group of professionals that come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but sharing converging visions of successful housing and community design.

From all of us here at HBA/DE, we would like to graciously thank Debra, as well as all of our Associate Members. Thank you for your continued support!

About HBA of Delaware

HBA/DE has been an integral part of the growth and economic development of the State of Delaware since 1947. HBA/DE was founded as a non-profit state affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) representing home builders and other businesses directly related to Delaware's Home Building Industry. Consisting of Builders, Remodelers and a group of diversified associate members, the Home Builders Association of Delaware strives to protect and preserve housing as a symbol of America.


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