Leave it to the independent minded, “rough and ready” kind of people who choose to live in the West to “take the bull by the horns” and do their part to help revitalize the American housing market, and by extension the economy as a whole.
Montana builder Anders Lewendal, who also happens to hold an economics degree, maintains that if builders across the country used only 5% more American made products in their homes, that it could create 220,000 jobs.
To prove that it can be done, Lewendal constructed a home in Bozeman Montana entirely out of American made products. Using goods acquired from companies strewn across 33 states, the misconception that all-American made products cannot compete with their cheaper (and in my opinion cheaply made) foreign counterparts was finally laid to rest - the builder found many products to be cheaper than their off-shore cousins.
It seems the trend is catching. Virginia builder T.E. Jones of Vintage Homes is trying to keep things going by stepping up to the plate and doing the same thing in their region.
“It’s our way of trying to keep this movement alive and create jobs. A lot of people think it can’t be done. We’re proving it can.”
As this idea continues to spread, more builders are becoming involved. Tidewater Builders’ Association has asked Montana builders' Anders Lewendal and his son Jake to be keynote speakers at the association’s membership forum in May.
The largest roofing manufacturer in America, New Jersey based GAF, is sponsoring the event. "As an American-owned company offering American-made products, GAF fully supports the creation of more jobs through the use of American-made materials," said Paul Bromfield, Sr. Vice President of Marketing.
The concept of buying only American products is not new, yet it is inspiring, as it doesn’t have to be limited to the building industry. In an atmosphere of economic uncertainty we Americans have to lay aside our differences and yes, perhaps pay a bit more for an item that wasn’t manufactured by individuals making $1.00 a day, but in the end, when we choose products made by our fellow citizens we are in essence paying back into our own lives and the lives of our families.
If you are a builder, what do you think about this new trend? If you're interested in playing a part, here is Lewendal's list - make sure to spread it around!