Alan Banks took an unusual path to enter the home building industry. He didn’t grow up in a family of builders. He studied mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. And after finishing that degree in 1985, he entered the publishing business.
Banks’ journey to becoming the 2018 President of the North Carolina Home Builders Association has included his fair share of twists and turns. But each step in his journey has uniquely prepared him for his new leadership role.
Banks currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of Evans Coghill Homes, a company he co-founded with Chris Folk in 2001. The Charlotte-based building company originated from an idea that the two men had after they met as volunteers during the construction of a Habitat for Humanity house. Folk, a general contractor, and Banks, a successful publisher of First Impressions Newcomer’s Guide, quickly forged a friendship. Together, they figured that with Folk’s background and experience in building and Banks’ eye for marketing new homes that they could form a formidable alliance.
The duo sketched out a business plan on a coffee-stained napkin at a Starbucks. They borrowed from their respective grandmothers’ maiden names, Evans and Coghill, to create a company name and soon thereafter the company was born. On September 11, 2001 they were in the middle of framing their first house when the news of terrorist attacks shook the country. Banks and Folk persevered and closed on their first home with a thin profit. A decade and a half later, Evans Coghill Homes has grown to become one of the most respected and successful builders in the region. In 2016, the company was recognized by the Home Builders Association of Greater Charlotte as the Builder of the Year.
Banks credits this success to the company’s guiding principles: faith in God, trust in a highly skilled team, strength in family, and charity to the community. Banks says these principles will also help guide him in the coming year as President of the North Carolina Home Builders Association.
“I believe strongly in the idea of home,” Banks says “and what it means to the success of families and how it builds strong communities. The North Carolina Home Builders Association exists because without us no one would be defending housing affordability in North Carolina. No one would be fighting to make sure that families can buy that first home.”
Defending housing affordability is one of the main reasons Banks first became involved in an HBA. The late Gene Harrington, a respected and influential builder and developer in Charlotte, first approached Banks about serving in the HBA of Greater Charlotte in a leadership capacity. Banks would go on to serve as President of the HBA of Greater Charlotte in 2013.
Looking forward to the year ahead, Banks says his vision is “A North Carolina with no unreasonable legislative or regulatory barriers to homeownership and the home building industry.” And this vision is forward-looking, too. Banks plans to promote the 2020 Vision Plan that NCHBA’s senior officers crafted this year.
Among his immediate goals are to continue to build on the strength of NCHBA as the leading expert in legislative and regulatory matters by increasing support for NCHBA BUILD-PAC, developing a comprehensive 2018 Residential Code Update and continuing to grow the Home Builders Education Fund, Inc. Banks also aims to revamp the existing NCHBA regional meetings into more effective forums to educate local leaders and members about, and to encourage participation in, NCHBA activities. He also plans to focus attention on elevating NCHBA’s brand and identity to new heights.
Banks notes that in the year ahead that he will rely heavily on NCHBA members to make his year as president a success. He says he’ll also count on his family, including his wife Lynn and their two children, Paige and Ben.
“I’m looking forward to building on the legacy of past presidents,” Banks says, “to strengthen the home building industry and ensure that North Carolinians have the opportunity to experience the great blessing of having a place to call home.”