A Driving Force

Ankeny’s Steph Reed named NAHB Professional Women in Building Member of the Year.

Anyone who knows Steph Reed says basically the same thing: Reed is relentlessly enthusiastic about the opportunities for women in the home building industry. That attitude and the work she’s done promoting those opportunities have earned her Member of the Year status with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Professional Women in Building (PWB).

The award, presented annually at the International Builders Show, recognizes a member who has demonstrated experience with the PWB, leadership in the industry, and advancement of women in the industry.

As those who nominated Reed have said, she has been the driving force in re-creating the PWB committee locally, and she’s taken that drive to her role in the PWB regionally and nationally.

“Steph is dedicated to the promotion of our industry,” says Rachel Flint, Vice President of Hubbell Homes. “This woman knows how to get things done and makes everyone feel good about chipping in—a rare combination.”

Dan Knoup, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Des Moines, says, “It was pretty much unanimous here that we should nominate Steph for one of these national awards. Everyone who knows her, even at the national level, has nothing but fantastic things to say about her.”

Reed herself says she was “blown away” when she was told she’d won the Member of the Year award. “I knew who the other finalists were, and I knew how great those women were.”

She just learned of the award at the virtual PWB annual board meeting last month. Reed says she’s already excited about the opportunities it will provide. “I hope this just helps raise awareness even more about the opportunities for women in the industry. Jobs are genderless, and hopefully someone else will look at what I’m doing and see that you can still do this.”

She is a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Real Estate Concepts and owner of Partners by Design, a custom home builder in Ankeny. Her life more or less revolves around the idea of creating homes. “The accolades are great,” Reed says. “But what’s so amazing to me is that I get to be part of something that’s so rewarding. I’m proud of what I do, and I hope that inspires others.”

According to the HBA of Greater Des Moines, “Reed is active, knowledgeable, passionate, driven, and focused. She wants to learn and is equally willing to share her knowledge.”

“Steph is the reason we have a PWB council today,” Knoup believes. “She looked at the previous auxiliary we had in Des Moines, recruited volunteers to re-create that as a PWB chapter, established a budget, and developed an award-winning council in less than two years.”

Another one of Reed’s passions is educating young people on the opportunities in the skilled trades. One of her first projects with the Des Moines PWB was the production of a coloring and activity book highlighting careers in the construction industry. The book was such a success that it was donated to the NAHB to be shared nationally and has been used in more than a dozen other chapters across the country.

In her initial year leading the Des Moines PWB, the group earned first place from the national association for its girls in construction camp. Since then, Reed has worked on other projects promoting the trades, including partnering with the Iowa Department of Education to create and implement a Girls in Construction camp model to be used throughout the state, helping develop a video celebrating the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement for use on NAHB Now (the association’s news blog), serving as Area Trustee with the national PWB and signing up numerous new PWBs throughout the region, and traveling across the state and the Midwest to speak in schools about careers in the construction industry.

By far, one of her favorite success stories has been her role as a mentor to a young woman who is now an electrical apprentice. “She spends her own valuable time mentoring young women. Just ask her how her young mentee has progressed and watch her eyes light up,” Flint says.

“I’m passionate about what I do and about this industry,” Reed says. “Getting to volunteer and work on projects that promote this industry is amazing. To be able to give back to something that’s given so much to me is an honor.”