He wasn’t a CEO, land acquisition expert, or supplier, but Dennis Torbett’s contribution was just as important. His influence in the home building industry came from the labor side, specifically training and preparing underserved and at-risk youth, veterans, ex-offenders, and displaced workers. He began working for the state of Maryland helping people who needed a hand to get training and employment. In 1981, he joined the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Manpower Development & Training Department as national coordinator for job placement, which became known as the Home Builders’ Institute (HBI) in 1983. During that last several years, he served as senior vice president of training. HBI trainees often go into construction trades like plumbing, carpentry, masonry, building construction technology, painting, and electrical wiring.

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