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The Home Builders Association is known for its annual Parade of Homes. This $2 million home by King Built Properties was on the tour last year.
SBJ file photo
The Home Builders Association is known for its annual Parade of Homes. This $2 million home by King Built Properties was on the tour last year.

HBA hires new executive officer

A veteran chamber executive brings membership management experience to the post

Posted online

The Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield hired a veteran chamber of commerce executive, Dori Grinder, as its new leader.

Grinder comes to the HBA after nearly five years of employment’ with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, most recently as vice president of membership development, and five years prior as the Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce’s executive director.

As the HBA’s new executive officer, Grinder succeeds Charlyce Ruth, who was asked to resign this summer and a month later was hired by the Associated General Contractors of Missouri, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Ruth had worked for the HBA for nearly 21 years.

HBA board President Travis Miller said the organization’s search committee, comprising current and past board directors and community members, received more than 100 resumes from candidates nationwide. Dan Prater, senior managing consultant with a focus on nonprofits via BKD LLP, assisted in the process.

Miller said the committee narrowed down the candidates to 30, and then a top 12 before interviewing four finalists for the job.

“All of our finalists were excellent, but the committee unanimously agreed that Dori has the organizational experience, the energy and the creativity we need at this point in the HBA’s history,” said Miller, owner of Travis Miller Homes LLC, in a news release. “Under her leadership, we look forward to an innovative future for our members and the communities we serve.”

Upon Ruth’s exit, Miller cited plans “to explore new avenues” and pursue “fresher ideas,” according to past reporting.

In an SBJ interview after announcing Grinder’s selection, Miller said Grinder’s past work experience, local ties to the community and energetic personality landed her the job.

“She will do well with the public, local officials and also with our membership,” said Miller.

Miller said the board members have not gone over a new strategic plan they have in mind with Grinder yet.

“We went through a whole organization strategic planning process,” Miller said. “This gives (Dori) the road map as to what we want to accomplish over the next three years and also drives the organization to perform its goals. That’s kind of where we want new ideas, things changing from social events to how they are ran, how to get customers to those events, and how to make them successful.”

Miller said the board also is giving Grinder the opportunity of a blank slate. He wants her to observe and, through the use of her previous work experience, see what could help make the organization successful.

Grinder said she’s still establishing her goals for the HBA.

“I am a people’s person, organized and enthusiastic,” said Grinder. “I am just looking forward to diving in.”

On Grinder’s second day on the job, Oct. 13, she said she doesn’t know of anything absolutely lacking within the organization since she considered it already well-run.

“I don’t like to just come in and insert all of my ideas. I like to see how things operate first,” she said.

The local HBA has around 350 members and a $700,000 annual operating budget, according to SBJ list research.

The organization was founded in 1954 and serves as an advocacy and networking group for residential builders, subcontractors, and related goods and services providers.

HBA members take part in events such as the annual Home Show and Parade of Homes.

The HBA ranked No. 4 on Springfield Business Journal’s list this year of the area’s largest industry networking groups.

Grinder works with two others in the office, and she said there’s currently one vacant position.

Grinder already has attended her first board meeting, and she said she’s focused on understanding the HBA’s current policies.

“I love to listen to what board members and staff members say about HBA,” said Grinder.

“I already see a lot of camaraderie here, so that’s why it’s such a great organization.”

She brings membership development experience to the role.

With the Ozark chamber, she led a public relations initiative to increase membership ranks by 130% and revenue by 315%, according to the release. Her LinkedIn profile indicates she left the Springfield chamber in June.

In Grinder’s first two years managing membership for the Springfield chamber, the membership rolls grew 10% to a total of 1,538 in 2017, according to past reporting.

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