Women Remodelers: Advancing the Industry

From addressing issues challenging today’s remodeling professionals to setting an example for the next generation, women are making their voices heard in remodeling. In celebration of Professional Women in Building (PWB) Week, here are two remodelers who are setting the stage for the industry’s future.

Joanne Theunissen

2018 NAHB Remodelers Chair Joanne Theunissen, CGP, CGR, with 2018 NAHB Chair Randy Noel.

Joanne Theunissen

As 2018 chair of NAHB Remodelers, Joanne Theunissen, CGP, CGR, represents the nearly 50,000 members of NAHB involved in the remodeling industry.

The owner of Howling Hammer Builders Inc., a custom building and remodeling firm in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., she uses her 20 years of industry experience to inform NAHB’s legislative and regulatory policy, enhance member services and shape public perception.

“Our industry has remarkable opportunities with NAHB predicting improvement spending to top $163 billion this year, but also unprecedented challenges with the labor shortage,” said Theunissen. “Women are an ideal untapped sector that could improve workforce availability and answer home owner demand.”

Over her 16 years as an NAHB member, Theunissen has held leadership roles ranging from national PWB chair to president of the HBA of Central Michigan.

“I’ve had to change my communication and negotiation styles with nearly every post in order to be most effective,” she said. “But ultimately, knowing the skills I’ve developed have helped me better serve my customers, my industry and be an inspiration for women in, or looking to enter, the construction industry is incredibly rewarding.”

Barb Mueller

Barb Mueller, AKDB, CAPS, accepting her 2016 NAHB Remodelers Homes for Life award from Sal Alfano of Professional Remodeler and 2016 NAHB Remodelers Chair Tim Shigley, CAPS, CGP, CGR, GMB, GMR.

Barb Mueller

After working in the new home industry for 13 years, Barb Mueller, AKDB, CAPS, started Designs Anew Houston LLC in 2009. She decided to earn her Certified Aging-in-Place (CAPS) designation and tap into the baby-boomer market when she learned that one in three Americans is 50 or older, and over 70% of them want to age in place.

Mueller joined the Greater Houston Builders Association and their remodelers council — currently the largest NAHB Remodelers group in the country at over 400 members — and took advantage of the education, networking and awards opportunities available at the local, state and national levels.

“Targeting a specialized market niche, and teaming with new home builders and remodelers to provide a full-service product for my clients has helped set me apart from my competition,” she said.

As an adjunct professor at the Art Institute of Houston, Mueller is also inspiring the next generation of designers. In 2016, she won a NAHB Remodelers Homes for Life Award for a kitchen remodel that focused on appliance accessibility for a couple with limited mobility.

“Winning the national award gave me a boost of confidence in my work, especially in such a male-dominated field,” Mueller said. “It also served as an example to my female students that remodeling is an industry that offers outstanding opportunities, no matter your gender.”

Are you a woman involved in the remodeling industry? Visit nahb.org/whynahbr or contact remodel@nahb.org to learn about membership in NAHB Remodelers.

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