Olympia Master Builders – Building Strong Communities One Home at a Time

The OMB mascot, Hombre, visits with customers at the OMB BIG Home & Garden Show!


The OMB mascot, Hombre, visits with customers at the OMB BIG Home & Garden Show!

Representing over 600 member companies in 5 counties, Olympia Master Builders (OMB) is busy advocating for the housing industry, educating members, and connecting builders with subcontractors to create a quality product for the community.

Formed in 1959 as the Home Builders Association of Greater Olympia, the Olympia Master Builders is a professional trade association devoted to improving both the construction industry serving Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties as well as the business climate in this part of Washington State.

OMB members are dedicated to integrity, craftsmanship and respect for consumers, the environment and one another.

“A majority of Olympia Master Builders members are local small-business owners that build homes in our community”, said OMB Executive Officer Laura Worf.  “We are a group of people that you meet at the grocery store, that you see coaching youth sports, that you call for plumbing repairs, remodeling and building, or care for your greatest asset:  your home.”

Membership in Olympia Master Builders

“Our members are not just people who build homes, but those who also provide products and services going into a home such as a title company, carpet installer, real estate agent, plumber, or lender.  Basically, our members can be anyone having a role in handing you the keys and getting you moved into a new home,” states Worf.

Olympia Master Builders
Ross Irwin of Cabinets by Trivonna shows off his product samples at the OMB BIG Home & Garden Show.

Worf continues by explaining that membership is really beneficial for smaller builders.  “Having OMB serve as the industry’s voice is very beneficial for smaller builders who do not have their own attorneys and lobbyists on staff,” explains Worf.

“These builders live in our community.  Their kids go to school here.  They regularly drive through the neighborhoods they built and are proud of the community,” adds Worf.

Advocating for the Industry

In a heavily regulated industry, the OMB continually educates legislators on the ramifications of decisions related to the housing industry.  The OMB’s goal is to participate in the discussions, provide information and effect change.

“We want to help come up with good solutions that meet the objectives of the community and provide a quality product for people purchasing a home,” summarizes Worf.

“The OMB is involved in government affairs in a way that I cannot do individually,” explains OMB President James Peterson who owns Lanza Construction.  “The voice is created by all of us being together, rather than individually trying to influence change,” he adds.

Connecting and Educating Members

Olympia Master Builders
Members of OMB and the Kiwanis Club work side by side to raise the Kiwanis Food Barn.

To support its membership, OMB hosts a wide variety of internal events – from monthly networking gatherings to CPR classes to fork lift training.  “The purpose is to help members know each other.  These connections result in long lasting relationships and provide a quality product to the community,” explains Stacey Genzlinger, OMB’s Director of Member Events.

“I take advantage of the networking opportunities to meet subcontractors and suppliers.  I get to know them before I do business with them,” explains Peterson who shares that he uses Olympia Overhead Doors and Cabinets by Trivonna as examples of relationships built through the OMB.

Peterson also explains how he has gained valuable education on market trends, especially with an aging population.  “OMB is providing classes and certifications specifically to get builders and remodelers educated on how to deal with this segment of the population.  With these skills, we can help older adults stay in their home longer,” describes Peterson.  He went on to describe how he also laid out plans for a home that is completely wheel chair accessible including no steps and wider doorways and hallways based on information he received through OMB’s Education Program.

OMB launched the Built Green® program in 2005, and it continues to grow.  Built Green® is a voluntary, market-driven environmental program that is designed to help consumers find quality, affordable homes and products that provide opportunities to protect the environment, and the health of their families.

Under this program, builders voluntarily work with customers to build sustainable homes.  An independent verifier rates the eco-friendly nature of the project that may include installing efficient heating systems, selecting bamboo flooring, or buying locally sourced products.  “The market demanded more eco-friendly building.  The program continues to evolve with the industry,” remarks Worf.

In May, the OMB will host a Housing Summit.  Government officials are invited to attend, free of charge, to learn about what is happening in the housing market.  The OMB will be sharing forecasts and describing the role of the housing industry in both the local and national economy.

Olympia Master Builders
Tour of Homes Winners – 2011 Tour of Homes winners pose with their awards after the awards banquet.

You can find OMB members donating their time, skills, and talent throughout the community.  Rebuilidng Together, an off-shoot of OMB, rejuvenates homes for low-income owners.  OMB members donated their time to build the Amtrak Station in East Olympia and the Kiwani’s Food Barn in West Olympia.

“The quality of life is very good in Thurston County.  OMB advocates for keeping that quality of life while allowing for growth and expansion in a sensible way, balancing and respecting property rights,” adds Peterson.

“A home is usually the biggest investment a family has.  Our goal is to give our members the tools they need to provide the best home possible for the families in this community”, describes Worf.

To learn more or receive a free contractor referral, visit Olympia Master Builders.


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