SAHBA Builds a Better Community

Advocacy, Outreach for the Home Building Industry

By Loni Nannini

The members of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association are not just proponents of building houses: they are advocates for building vibrant and prosperous communities. 

“We want Tucson to be a place that thrives,” said David Godlewski, president and CEO of SAHBA. “Our members are working very hard to meet the future housing needs of the community with purpose, with pride, with building high-quality products and helping enhance the greater well-being of the Tucson region.”

SAHBA, a nonprofit, member-based trade association, has 330 members and has been serving Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties for more than 70 years. 

Members run the gamut from large and small home builders, landowners and developers to contractors, subcontractors, vendors and other businesses that support homebuilder operations.

“Anything that goes into building a home, from land and horizontal construction to vertical construction and getting the homeowner into the house is considered part of our family and ecosystem,” said Godlewski.

Constructing Homes, Building Relationships

The SAHBA ecosystem and the general public are served by a four-pronged plan comprised of Advocacy; Education and Awareness; Networking and Professional Development; and Community Building.

“Our primary objective is to create a favorable policy and regulatory climate for our members to make it as straightforward as possible to build a home,” Godlewski said.

Advocacy means working hand-in-hand with local municipalities to help prepare and implement building and land-use codes, architectural standards and other regulations. SAHBA works directly with elected and non-elected government officials in county and city governments, coordinating with development services, transportation, utilities and various agencies involved with planning, permitting, approvals, inspections and other policies. Political campaigns and initiatives are also a focus. 

“We have a Political Action Committee that advocates for candidates who support the building community at the local and state levels and the National Association of Home Builders advocates on the federal level,” said Steve Crawford, 2024 SAHBA board chair. He is also CEO of Pepper Viner Homes, a seven-time recipient of 

SAHBA Builder of the Year award. “That advocacy allows new homes to be as affordable as possible. Affordable new homes are a vital component of a vibrant community and a major factor in quality of life.”

Advocacy segues into member education on topics such as sales and marketing; remodeling; green building and technology; and generalized information on building activity, market forecasts and industry trends.

Outreach extends to the general public through the map of new home communities as well as the SAHBA Buyers Guide, both available online. The free directory features a comprehensive, user-friendly list of SAHBA members.

“This is a great resource for people who want to build a new home or need work done on an existing home and aren’t sure where to start,” said Crawford. “It is a big task, and if they use the SAHBA Buyers Guide to make contacts, they can have confidence that they are dealing with the best builders, subcontractors and businesses in the community.”

Community Building is a cornerstone of SAHBA’s mission, and workforce development is a key element. Partnerships with the Home Builders Institute at the Fred G. Acosta Job Corps Center, Pima Joint Technical Education District and other organizations facilitate development of the labor force.

“We are seeing fewer people choosing the construction trades for their vocation and the majority of the current cohort of people in trades are approaching retirement. That has been a big challenge for our members,” said Godlewski. 

To counter the challenge, SAHBA partners with other organizations to stage Southern Arizona Construction Career Days. The annual event offers hands-on demonstrations about the construction industry, exposure to heavy equipment, and professional networking opportunities for high school students. Partners include the Arizona Builders Alliance, Alliance for Construction Trades, and Arizona Transportation Builders Association. 

“SAHBA is helping to ensure that there is a future pipeline of skilled workers to build homes,” Godlewski said. “We want to create awareness among middle school and high school students that the construction trade is a viable, well-paying career path with a lot of opportunities.”

Community Building is also hallmarked by charitable contributions. The SAHBA Golf Classic and various fundraising events funnel tens of thousands of dollars annually into nonprofit housing organizations such as Sister Jose Women’s Center, TMM Family Services, Habitat for Humanity, and other causes. 

SAHBA also supports the Peter D. Herder Endowment Scholarship, which provides scholarships for students seeking professional certification or degrees in building and construction at Pima Community College. 

“We think it is important to give back to the community that gives us so much and allows us to work and thrive,” said Crawford. “Our charitable work is a way for us to be part of not just the building world, but the entire community.

For ticket information on “The Power of Real Estate Summit” on April 19, 2024 at the Tucson Convention Center, please click the link below:


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