A graceful exit

Dave Roewe is waxing philosophical in his last few days as executive director of the Building Industry Association of Clark County.

His advice for his replacement, Avaly Mobbs, is simple: “Enjoy every day.”

Roewe said he doesn’t have much more to pass on, having groomed Mobbs for the position from 2002 to 2007 when she was the BIA’s special events director.

“She is a brilliant young woman who will take this organization to the next level,” Roewe said. “I have all the confidence in her.”

Roewe is leaving Vancouver to serve as executive director of the Las Cruces Home Builders Association in New Mexico.

“In my career of 22 years, I have always managed organizations that need a kick in the butt,” Roewe said. “This is the fourth organization I’ve grown and it’s time for a new one.”

Roewe also led the Longview-based Lower Columbia Contractors Association and a chamber of commerce in the Northwest. He chose Las Cruces for its current growth and attractiveness for his later retirement.

“That area was never in the housing bubble,” Roewe said. “It’s not in the turmoil some states are. But we’re not in turmoil here either.”

Mobbs will step into his role Feb. 9.

“He is a great mentor,” Mobbs said of Roewe. “He provides tools and resources for staff to grow … and I think this was his vision for me.

Mobbs is the BIA’s third female executive director, and she’s not daunted by taking leadership in a male-dominated industry.

“I think the most important thing in any industry is working hard and achieving results, and I don’t think the building industry is any different,” she said.

Mobbs has been marketing manager for the Ridgefield-based Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds since 2007, coordinating the Clark County Fair, which has 3,000 volunteers and 250 seasonal employees.

Mobbs was marketing director of Westfield Shoppingtown Vancouver from 1999 to 2002, and was one of the VBJ’s Accomplished and Under 40 honorees in 2006. She holds Master of Business Administration degree from Washington State University Vancouver.

Mobbs will return to the BIA with builders facing some of their hardest times in recent history. But if she learned anything in her previous work there, it’s that the industry has its ups and downs.

“For the most part, the economy and the building industry are very cyclical,” she said.

Roewe led the local nonprofit for eight years, transforming it from what he called a “social organization of builders” to a powerful force in local politics.

“Nobody understood at that time how much the construction industry meant to the economy,” Roewe said.

In 2001, the BIA had no political action committee and a “directionless” government affairs committee, he said.

Since then, Roewe changed the organization’s name from the Clark County Homebuilders Association and membership increased from 525 to 975, simultaneously boosting the budget.

He increased staff numbers from three and a half to eight, and moved operations from a converted house to a 5,000-square-foot office building in 2007.

“I’ve got an incredible board of directors and volunteers who are committed and feel ownership (of the BIA), and that’s why this will succeed after I’m gone,” Roewe said.

The BIA’s January dinner meeting will include a farewell to Roewe and former Clark County Commissioner Betty Sue Morris at 6 p.m. on Jan. 27 at The Hilton Vancouver.


Charity Thompson can be reached at cthompson@vbjusa.com.

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