Habitat for Humanity of Omaha | Episode 14

On this episode of The Building Code, we’ve got Ken Mar from Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. Habitat for Humanity of Omaha has been around since 1984, Ken has been a part of their team since 2010. Back in the 80s, Habitat only had 15 employees, but today, they’ve grown to over 110 employees. How’d they do it? They’re community-driven – driven by the needs of families in the Omaha metro area.

Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to build affordable housing. Habitat builds a home, families apply for the house and then, purchase it at an appraised value.

Not only are Habitat for Humanity organizations in all 50 United States (and in around 70 countries), but also there are over 750 Habitat ReStores throughout the USA. These nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers tell an interesting story of what you can do by not throwing things away. One person’s trash is truly another’s treasure; Habitat ReStore helps keep unwanted belongings out of landfills, allows other people to reinvent and restore these things, and gives people a way to contribute to the community. And the best part is all of the profits made from Habitat ReStore go straight back into their homebuilding efforts.

Ken’s story is an interesting one! He learned of Habitat Omaha many years before he actually started working there. In the midst of a long career as a corporate treasurer, Ken flew around the world “doing treasury stuff.” During this time, he met Amanda Brewer – who is the current executive director of Habitat Omaha and the reason Ken made the move to Habitat – and he never looked back. “It got me out of an airplane, got me thinking a lot more about the whole, general idea of making the world a little bit better than when you got here,” Ken recalls.

Around the time Ken joined the Habitat Omaha team, the Omaha community was asking a lot from this org – and the Habitat team knew they needed to grow to meet the demand. Amanda, Ken and a few other leaders have incredible business backgrounds, which helped in this need for rapid growth. But when it came to increasing the amount of homes they built in a year, they needed more than business backgrounds, they needed software … and that’s where Buildertrend came in. Ken approached Buildertrend about a partnership in 2014, and given that homebuilding is our favorite thing, partnering with Habitat Omaha was a no-brainer.

What does 2019 hold for Habitat for Humanity of Omaha? They plan (and have already started towards this goal) to build 56 homes and take on 150 home repair projects. They also plan on continuing to grow their team. And, of course, there’s everything with the ReStore locations. Let’s just say it’s a busy year for Habitat Omaha, and we’re happy to partner with them on this journey.

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