2024 International Builders’ Show Recap

Mar 13, 2024

Drake Holtry 

Y’all, this was my third pilgrimage through the hallowed halls (aka convention center) of the International Builders’ Show (IBS), and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Everything felt larger than life this year – grander, livelier, and more vibrant. The building industry is thriving, folks! 

  • The Dynamic Duo: You know those attendees you spot everywhere like they’re part of the convention’s furniture? Well, this year, it was the dynamic duo of Matt Mabe and Austin Chamberlin from Arise Homes in Overland Park, KS. Whether it was catching Austin mid-morning stretch routine (which we joke about on the Homes for HOPE Podcast), fellowshipping with them at the Prayer Breakfast, or randomly crossing paths amidst the sea of thousands – they were EVERYWHERE. Thanks for being the friendly faces, Matt and Austin! 
  • The Barstool Revelation: Normally, we grab a couple of cheap Walmart chairs and return them post-show (#Stewardship, you know), but this year, our Executive Director’s wife had a brilliant idea: rent-a-center barstools. Let me tell you, it was a game-changer. Not only did it upgrade our lumbar support game (a minimal but crucial win), but it also created a cozy spot for friends of Homes for HOPE to come by and connect. A massive shoutout to Kevin Oakley, Jeff Shore, Frank Ballif, Amy Druhot, Clint Mitchell, and many others for dropping by our booth to hang out. 
  • Providential Lyft Adventures: I drive a 2014 Honda Odyssey with 130,000+ miles, there’s nothing cool about it, and I’ve accepted that. This year, I was determined to take a ride through the Tesla tunnel underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, but alas, time was not on my side. Cue the providential Lyft ride to the airport. Christopher, a commodities trader-cum-Lyft driver, pulled up in with his 2024 Tesla Model X, and let me tell you, I was ecstatic. However, our conversation quickly veered from Teslas and day trading to Jesus. Christopher was transparent about some things, and I had the honor of praying for him. At Homes for HOPE, we count those as Kingdom Wins, and boy, was that a win! 
  • Rooting for Rivals – Now, I’m probably stretching my word count with this addition, but it would be a travesty not to include my buddies at HomeAid as a highlight of the show. We affectionately dubbed our booth area “nonprofit row” aka NPR. Right beside us, you’ve got our pals at Operation Finally Home, the House that She Built, and HomeAid. And let me tell you, we have an absolute blast. So, to Scott Larson, Robin Arnett, Monique Waddington, and the whole HomeAid crew, thanks for always cheering on the work of Homes for HOPE. #GlamUp 

Abby Clark 

Was IBS a Success?! 

Not only was this my first attendance to the infamous IBS, but this was also my first day on the job with Homes for HOPE! It was a whirlwind to say the least. Among what felt like hundreds of different companies and organizations represented, I found myself with eyes wide-open to the wonderful world of the building industry. From interior designers and real estate to other nonprofit and for-profit contractors, the event was packed!  

Hundreds of individual businesses hosted events at IBS this year, and from what I could see they were all heavily attended. At every turn you’d see someone meeting someone new, people laughing about industry secrets, or the beautiful beginnings of what could be a thriving industry partnership! So was IBS a success? To that question I would have to give an emphatic, “yes!”. And I’m sure the rest of the Homes for HOPE team would agree. Until next year, IBS!

Matt Baehr 

The walking was well worth it! I came home from IBS tired and anxious to see my family but emotionally full and buzzing from an entire week of engaging interactions that will only serve to advance the mission of Homes for HOPE unto the glory of God. I left our time there thinking about three main takeaways: 

  • I love seeing the look of understanding and awe wash across people’s faces when they realize we’re not who they thought we were as an organization. People usually approach our booth thinking we are engaged with affordable housing initiatives or that we build homes for people in need. But when they realize we partner with the building industry to invest in entrepreneurs who are living in some of the most challenging places on earth so they can build businesses and break the cycle of generational poverty, their whole paradigm shifts, and we’re able to engage together in such meaningful conversations about our ministry! We also love learning about what people are passionate about supporting through their philanthropic efforts and exploring if there might be any opportunities to connect our mission with their passion. If not, we love to point them to our friends on Nonprofit Row, as Drake mentioned above, where they may find a better fit. I find these conversations to be so life-giving and a key part of what makes IBS incredibly valuable to us as an organization.  
  • Another one of my favorite parts about IBS is the chance to find creative ways to steward Homes for HOPE’s finances. IBS isn’t cheap for anyone, but we always strive to limit our spending and send as much money as we can to the front lines of our mission. Here are some ways we love to watch God provide toward that end: 
  • We are so grateful to the NAHB for generously donating our booth space! 
  • Drake mentioned Rent-A-Center who gave us a great deal on chairs and a TV for the week. 
  • I prayed that there would still be 6ft folding table at Walmart for us to purchase and use in our booth for way less than the event rental fee. When I stepped off the plane and drove to a Vegas Walmart, there were dozens of 6ft folding tables right in the center aisle for sale at a great price! Furthermore, at the suggestion of their CEO, the local HomeAid representative is keeping our Walmart table in their storage unit for us to use again at IBS next year.   
  • We stay at our home away from home – Circus Circus. Every time I tell people that, they groan and apologize. Sure, it’s not the most opulent of options. It’s weird, the clowns are somewhat creepy, and it smells a little funny (see what I did there?). But the parking is free, there are affordable food options, it’s close to the convention center, it’s not loud late at night (the family casino!), and you can’t beat the room price!  

Praise God for all these little ways He provides for us to take the generous donations we receive and invest all we can into the talented men and women we’re honored to serve around the world.  

  • Lastly, I have to mention The Prayer Breakfast. It was such a privilege for Homes for HOPE to host a gathering where people could pray for and encourage each other in the Lord at the building industry’s largest event. Here are some quotes from attendees: 

“I loved that it felt like a brief, positive, and encouraging pause in the midst of an exciting, chaotic, and busy week in Vegas.” 

“It was a refreshing, and peaceful time with other believers in Christ.” 

“Being a part of this was a highlight of my year. Coming together with other industry professionals in prayer was truly special.” 

“It was a blessing! Can’t wait to do it again!” 

A special thank you to our speakers: Stephen Brooks, Paul Evans, Oscar Antillon, Jeff Shore, and Amy Druhot, who crafted thoughtful and inspiring messages that led us into meaningful times of prayer. Thank you also to everyone who came, and stay tuned for announcements regarding next year’s prayer breakfast.  

This was our best IBS experience yet! I’d like to end my reflection with the Bible verse that was running through my head the entire time we were there… 

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. 
Romans 11:36 

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