Chris Hartley is a motivated industry leader. This 40 Under 40 Professional Builder Magazine 2018 recipient has more than 17 years of experience in the home building industry and is currently the Vice President of Sales, Dallas/Fort Worth for K. Hovnanian® Homes. Chris is a past speaker at IBS, a frequent contributor to industry publications and a guest on numerous podcasts. He’s also an advocate for the American Cancer Society and has raised more than $200,000 fighting for the cause.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Chris to learn more about his experience as a Builders’ Show attendee, and we gleaned some valuable insights along the way.
NAHB: You noted that the three reasons why you attend IBS every year are education, networking and staying on top of the trends. What do you get out of the education sessions?
CHRIS: The education sessions are always amazing, so my biggest challenge each year is narrowing down the sessions I want to attend. There are so many great sessions that overlap each other. It makes it difficult to pick. Anything you could ever want to learn within our industry, you can. I’ve implemented so much of what I’ve learned over the years. I credit IBS for my growth as a leader.
NAHB: It sounds like IBS education has been an integral part of your professional development.
CHRIS: Absolutely. There is no better place to learn everything you need to know to be successful in this industry than at IBS. It provides a single-source education platform that allows you to learn from those that are actually doing the work and considered an expert in their field.
NAHB: What’s the most memorable presentation you’ve seen at the show?
CHRIS: I love to attend the Master Workshops. They are a three-hour deep dive into some of the most relevant topics in the industry. Additionally, with these extensive sessions, you get the opportunity to engage with the session, network with other participants and build the relationships necessary to thrive in the industry.
NAHB: Let’s talk about another one of your reasons: to stay on top of industry trends. What’s the most interesting trend you’ve seen at the show?
CHRIS: A trend that has been growing for years for new home builders is the creation of an Online Sales Consultant (OSC), and more specifically, implementing this program the right way into your business. With this business model, we were well-prepared for COVID-19. The tools I have gained from IBS made the changes created by the pandemic manageable in our business because everything I needed to know I already had a baseline for.
NAHB: What about networking? How has networking at IBS helped you over the years?
CHRIS: IBS has armed me with the contacts and tools that I needed to grow a start-up in 2011 and then sell it to a large, public builder in December 2018. After leaving that organization, the networking I did while at IBS landed me with my current organization, K. Hovnanian Homes.
NAHB: You’ve attended IBS every year for the last five years. What would you say to someone who is considering attending the show?
CHRIS: You cannot attend soon enough! Don’t wait. My only regret with IBS is that I didn’t start attending earlier in my career. I feel that if I had made it a point to attend earlier, I would have found success much earlier in my business and personal development.
If this is your first time attending the show, I strongly suggest wearing comfortable shoes, attend education sessions ready to learn, and set a schedule ahead of time and stick to it. It is easy to get sidetracked at IBS and not get the education you initially wanted. Learn first, socialize second!
NAHB: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your IBS experience?
CHRIS: The Builders’ Show is one of my highlights every year, and the minute it is over, I place the following year’s dates on my calendar. It can supply you with everything you need to elevate your performance—both professionally and personally. If you are serious about your career in this industry, the Builders’ Show is a must. It has been a game-changer for me!
IBS 2021 will take place in Orlando, Florida, on February 9-11. Registration opens September 1, 2020. Learn more at BuildersShow.com.