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Kickstart 2020 brings a fresh look on a long-lasting tradition

Taking place in the recently built venue, The Exchange at Bridge Park, Kickstart 2020 offered a new twist on a few BIA traditions that have been going on for many years.  

Nearly 100 Associate and Builder members met at the start of the evening before the networking social in the popular Speed Networking event. McPherson Connected Systems once again sponsored this portion of the event. AJ McPherson, Owner of MCS, was there in person to help facilitate the meetings. 

“It was smooth, organized, and a great opportunity. AJ kept it right on track.” Said Builder member and speed networking participant, Troy Fritz, Weaver Custom Homes.

Speed networking is an optional event in addition to kickstart that consists of a maximum of five appointments that associates can schedule to meet with the builder of their choice. Each meeting lasts for 4 minutes. 

“From us at Hydroshield of Columbus, I want to thank all the builders and remodelers who took time to do it,” said David Corey, President of Hydroshield of Columbus, “The event was great for us as we recouped our investment in the event before we left. The BIA does a solid job of helping its members connect.”

The event officially kicked off with time for networking and cocktails. This time allowed members to mingle and socialize before dinner, and the ceremony began. Major sponsors displayed their products in a fashion similar to the trade show. It was a great mix of product display and networking.

As dinner was served, opening remarks were made by Executive Director, Jon Melchi. He recapped 2019 and pointed to 2020. The BIA Foundation, led by Executive Director, Tracy Shiefferle, played a video highlighting its key achievements in 2019. One major portion including a grant given to Franklinton Rising and also a unique opportunity for BIA Members to connect with eligible trainees. This partnership presented by Tom Heffner, President of Franklinton Rising, would allow for trainees to work for a participating BIA Member in the trades while being paid by Franklinton Rising for a period of time then if the trainee is ready can be hired by that company. 

Once dinner concluded, former BIA president Howard Schottenstein conducted the installation ceremony and the grand tradition of the Passing of the Gavel. 

Jim Lipnos, President of Homewood Corporation, was sworn in as the 2020 BIA President and gave remarks thanking BIA staff for their continued efforts in all they do for the BIA.

A large part of Lipnos’s 2020 goals is to promote the positive impact residential homebuilding has on the central Ohio community. 

"During 2020, I’d like to work on getting a positive message out to people throughout our region. It is my goal to diligently work on changing the perception that builders and developers are the bad guys.” Said Lipnos, “We are the leaders of the economic growth of our region. We build homes where people live, we develop plazas where people shop, we build offices where people work, and together, we build central Ohio.”

After the installation ceremony Dr. Elliot Eisenberg, known as The Bowtie Economist and formerly NAHB’s senior economist, gave the keynote. His animated character kept the crowd engaged as he roamed around the room and kept economics interesting.

Overall the new, fresh format of Kickstart 2020 was well received.
Here are what some members had to say:

“Kickstart event was TREMENDOUS. Thank you to you and all the team!” – Leo Renegado, Keller Williams  

“I thought last night's Kick Start 2020 was awesome!!!! My guest also thought the entire evening was very special. Congratulations on a job well done and THANKS for encouraging me to attend. I saw so many of my real estate buddies, and it was fantastic to see them again. Also, we thought the speaker was first class!!!!!” – Joseph H. Mathias, FPL Financial Strategies, LLC

“I think that was an amazing event!” – Harry Johns, Distinctive Marble and Granite

“Great event…. I thought it was a home run. Thank you. Great networking, perfect amount of time.” – DJ Dile, Stewart Title of Columbus  

“That was the best money we have ever spent on an event like that.” – Xanath Van Frayen, Stewart Title

“Kickstart 2020…a great evening of networking, social interaction with some of the best our industry can offer. Very organized, well-structured, and educational; this was a huge success!! Hats off to the entire BIA organization for hosting a great evening!” – Troy Fritz, 


The 2020 Board of Trustees is as follows: 

Executive Board: Jim Lipnos, Homewood Corporation, President; Jeff Yates, Manor Homes, Senior Vice President; Bob Yoakam, Rockford Homes, Builder Vice President; Matt Callahan, PulteGroup, Immediate Past President; Troy Fritz, Weaver Custom Homes, Treasurer; Laura MacGregor Comek, Laura MacGregor Comek Law, Secretary; Jeff Miller, CESO, Associate Vice President; Jon Melchi, Executive Director

Builders: Tim Hall, M/I Homes; Joe Thomas, Metro Development; Jane Arthur Roslovic, Treplus Communities; Bruce Luecke, Homeport; Jonathan Wilcox, Wilcox Communities; Dayvd Miller, Odd Jobs 

Associates: Kate Allen, America’s Floor Source; Adam DeBellis, Suburban Steel Co.; Molly Gwin, Isaac Wiles; Steve Schehl, EMH&T

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