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Breaking Mirrors Intentionally

Executive Officer Danielle Adams Shares About the Impact of the Frederick County Building Industry Association (FCBIA) in Frederick County

We met with powerhouse leader, Danielle (Dani) Adams, whose hard-working roots, vast experience and stead- fast values have prepared her to serve the members of the Frederick County Building Industry Association (FCBIA) and the Frederick County community through her dream role as the Executive Officer.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD.

My life began in Baltimore in a blue-collar family. I had the good fortune of growing up in a household where-while we couldn’t afford things like a doll house and those kinds of toys-I had a hammer and nails and we built little, tiny tables and chairs...and it was something I was very comfortable with to have a vision and put something together as a toy. So, that was my earliest childhood.

I spent most of my life in Frederick County, gradu- ating from Frederick High School in ‘87. I feel like I am a product of Frederick County because my most for- mative years growing up were here...My dad instilled in me a hard work ethic. He taught me to love what you do and always do your best.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE FCBIA?

This job would not have been possible for me without the journey of my career. I’ve been a part of the finan- cial industry, education industry, non-profit industry and the legal industry. I think what’s really important is that all of those pieces really represent community.

...I literally said, “What do I want to do with my time?” Then, I’m going to be relentless about pursu- ing those kind of opportunities...I took out a piece of paper and I wrote down what we, as Catholics, refer to as “works of mercy.” This includes shelter the homeless, feed the hungry...these are action-oriented things. And, you don’t do them transactionally; you do them in a way that is long-term and far-reaching. And so, I asked myself, “How can I have an impact on the things I wrote down on this paper?”

...When I had the good fortune of applying to be the Executive Officer in 2021, and understanding that FCBIA builds communities...I thought, “This is too good to be true!”...Our members reflect these prin- ciples of building a community and I’m grateful to be able to serve them...I feel like I was meant to be here

and I continue to see that validated as we touch every part of the community...That is my role and responsi- bility—to help them use their time, talent and treasure to be effective and make an impact in the community.

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT?

Over the past 18 months we have grown significantly. I attribute this to FCBIA being present wherever pos- sible and starting the Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council...The growth happened because that Council came on board and there was a buzz in busi- nesses...this helps companies be more diverse and women transition and grow personally and profession- ally. This translates to improving the social, economic and political welfare. That is our mission.

We also have a Land Use Council that’s been highly engaged from the beginning. (We’re over 63 years old.)... We are the voice of the building industry. We are approxi- mately 230 companies that represent over 6000 employ- ees...Our members are local people who know our com- munity; who are intentionally and passionately engaged in the current and future growth of Frederick County.

WHY DO YOUR MEMBERS JOIN FCBIA?

The things they dealt with in the 50s and 60s, are the same things we deal with today (ie. the impact of traffic, schools, water, sewage, etc.). The members back then and today are representative of all these things: financial institutions, developers, trades peo- ple, media, education, non-profits. These are all our members because they understand that in order to effectively plan and grow a community, you have to work together. We’re very fortunate to have an exten- sive group of members like the Chamber of Commerce, Frederick County Association of Realtors, Economic Development of Frederick County and Frederick City, and so many more. They look to the future of how Frederick County continues to shape and grow with businesses and residents.

WHAT’S NEW WITH FCBIA?

We’re trying to take trades education to the next level...we have an amazing Career and Technology Center, it’s just not big enough. There’s a waitlist and hundreds of students get turned away every year...

We have teachers who do a phenomenal job; we just don’t have a big enough institution. So, we’re part- nering with FCC, as well as FCPS, to provide these entry point opportunities.

The launch of Women in Trades is brand new!...Only 11 percent of the building industry employs women... When you have women in trades, you end up mentoring women of all ages...We have partnered with amazing institutions, non-profits and groups in the community.

...There is an analogy Crystal McGuire, the 2022 PWB President, inspired me when she shared, “My mother’s generation used to break the glass ceiling. Now, I’m looking in the mirror and I need to break the mirror.” Shattering the mirror is the idea of “What is holding me back?” Nothing is above me to hold me back. It’s directly in front of me...We want to help women build the confidence, but then give the com- munity in which they work the confidence as well, that there will be a sustainable workforce of women and minorities coming into our industry.

WHAT EVENT IS FCBIA KNOWN FOR?

Our Home Show (which will celebrate 50 years in 2025), is a two-day event at the Frederick Fair Grounds, that is the biggest event calling card to the community. Exhibitors get to network with each other. Home product and services meet with people face-to-face to build relationships and trust...We have the Builder Olympics, where students from the Career and Technology Center showcase HVAC, plumbing, electrical and carpentry skills as they compete in building sheds...the sheds are sold and the money goes back into the program. There are many generous sponsors for this program!

WHAT’S AN IMPORTANT PROJECT YOU’RE CUR- RENTLY WORKING ON?

We have been pursuing a really big project for about a year, which doesn’t seem very long. For fifteen years, the Frederick Rescue Mission has been trying to provide adequate drainage and pave their parking lot; and, what seems like something simple turns out to be quite com- plex. They needed support to help make this happen.

For those who do not know, this organization is providing breakfast and lunch every day, shelter,

clothing, counseling, etc. They solely rely on dona- tions and generosity of the community. They hap- pen to be the center of food security for all of our food banks.

FCBIA members decided to take this project on and do what they do best: engineer, pave, excavate, lay pip- ing, do the legal work, get the permit...all of this and more. Everyone came together to make this happen. It wouldn’t be possible without ALL of the contractors giving in-kind (labor or materials); most especially the Ausherman Family Foundation and the Home Builders Care Foundation of Maryland, who each gave over six figures to make this project possible. (The ribbon cut- ting event was January 23rd, 2023!)

WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT YOUR TEAM?

Sarah Harne, our Marketing and Communications Director, is such a gift. She has the ability to see the good in people. She has a vision and always tries to showcase people in the best light. And that’s the way she approaches life, too! She always looks for the pos- itives in the situation, even in the daily grind. She is a great influence on me. I get inspired when I see how she approaches her personal and professional life. I’m grateful for that. When you spend a lot of time with someone else, you want to be inspired. And, I think that makes her a remarkable leader.

And Donna Kraft, our Executive Admin, is gifted in building relationships. People just love her; she makes them feel special, important and valued. Having that natural gift to make someone feel good immediately is an important part in building a relationship right off the bat. The members who have come to this organi- zation during the two decades she has been here is reflective of her ability to build those relationships.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?

I love my family! I am so grateful to be a wife and a mother and be able to have an opportunity, now that my children are adults, to see that they are confident and good citizens. We enjoy watching them grow. Our goal, my husband and I, was to raise good people in this world. We enjoy travel and most vacations are where my youngest daughter, who is an Irish dancer, com- petes. We love our road trips! FrederickBuilders.org

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