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MBAKS’ Luellen Smith: Networking to national leadership

September 19, 2022

Luellen Smith is a national leader in the home building industry, installed as second vice president of the National Association of Home Builders’ Professional Women in Building Council at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando earlier this year.

But her membership in her local association, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and her state association, BIAW, is where you really see her passion shine through.

Owner and partner in Rhino Wine Cellars and Cooling Systems with her husband, Doug, Smith joined MBAKS so her company could take advantage of the many networking opportunities with building industry professionals and gain more tools to build her business.

A fast track to success

With more than 2,700 members, MBAKS is the largest and oldest local home builders association in the US. Smith says the MBAKS Fast Track to Success class taught her how to quickly navigate the many features and benefits the MBA has to offer.

“I have gained valuable tips on how to strengthen and grow my business by participating in events, classes and networking opportunities with industry colleagues,” she said. “I was happy to learn that my membership also includes membership into BIAW and NAHB. The more knowledge I gained about how our local, state and national associations were representing our residential home building industry, I found myself becoming emotionally invested and wanting to become involved.”

Stepping into leadership

That involvement eventually led to serving as MBAKS board secretary in 2020 and 2021, as well as chair of MBAKS’ Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council, Remodeling Excellence Awards and Membership & Retention Committees.

“Being involved in various councils and committees, plus serving in leadership roles at the local, state and national levels has been rewarding and an honor,” Smith says. “I appreciate the connections I have made as we champion workforce development and affordable housing in our community.”

As a BIAW leader, she served as the 2021 Spike Party chair and now serves as BIAW secretary. She’s also an NAHB Remodelers Trustee and PWB Trustee. She was named NAHB Remodelers Outstanding Associate Member in 2017, NAHB PWB Member of the Year in 2018, and MBAKS Associate of the Year in 2021.

Tips for builders and associates

Smith says her membership has helped her build strong connections with builders and remodelers.

“Being involved in Professional Women in Building, the Remodelers Council and on the Board of Directors for MBA and BIAW, I am in constant contact with others in the residential building industry,” she says. “My company, Rhino Wine Cellars & Cooling Systems, builds custom wine cellars and saunas. The connections I have made with builders have been invaluable. I highly encourage associate members to become more involved.”

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