Written by The Business Journal Staff
Mike Lane, Executive Officer
Building Industry Association of Tulare/Kings Counties
What we do: Established in 1988, the Building Industry Association of Tulare and Kings Counties (BIATKC) is a non-profit organization representing all builders, developers, subcontractors and associated businesses doing business in Tulare and Kings counties.
Education: Bachelor of Science-Civil Engineering, Fresno State; Certificate in Land Use and Environmental Planning, UC Davis Extension
Family: Married, son and daughter, 3 granddaughters, one great grandson.
How would you assess the current health of the Valley’s homebuilding industry, and what are the biggest challenges facing builders today?
The homebuilding industry in Tulare and Kings Counties is still recovering from the great recession. The industry is on an upward trend, but it is not yet robust. The biggest challenges to the industry are some labor shortages and the regulatory environment.
Can you describe some of the ways the drought is impacting the homebuilding arena and what strategies homebuilders are embracing to deal with it, Mike?
The drought is impacting every aspect our lives in the state of California and beyond. Homebuilders in the state have for many years installed low-flow plumbing fixtures and appliances. Now they are embracing drought tolerant landscaping, drip irrigation, grey water use and water recycling as part of product design. New homes built today are much more water efficient than older homes. A new house today uses 50 percent of the water that is used by a similar house built in the 1980s or before.
What regulatory issues currently being debated in Sacramento are most likely to impact Valley homebuilders going forward, Mike?
Builders in California face a wall of regulation in regard to delivering their product to the buyer. Inclusionary zoning has recently become a topic of discussion. The California Environmental Quality Act, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB 375), the Governor’s Executive Order restricting the use of urban water supplies, local development standards and building codes all impinge on land use and development.
How big of a role are impact fees playing in today’s market in terms of building activity and new home prices, Mike?
The building Industry recognizes the need for reasonable development impact fees. In Tulare and Kings Counties local jurisdiction development impact fees for a single-family dwelling range from zero to $28,000 per unit. Then add to that school impact fees, air district fees, permit fees and inspection fees and the cost of government fees can approach 20 percent of the total cost of a house. California has some of the highest home prices in the nation and the regulatory environment is a big contributor to that situation.
What advice would you give a young person today who is considering a career in the homebuilding industry, Mike?
Obtain as much education as possible, both formal and empirical. Always keep in mind that providing shelter for humanity is a noble calling.
What was the best advice you ever received and who did it come from, Mike?
Obtain as much education as possible, both formal and empirical. Given to me by my Dad.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career, Mike?
There have been many people who helped support and guide me throughout my career. First and foremost my wife Linda. To name a few others: Jim Winton, Dick Schafer, Bob Reynolds, Mike Knopf, Glen Teter, Larry Simonetti, Pat Teter and Ron Snow have all made major contributions to my career.
What are your roots in the Central Valley, Mike?
Came to Fresno in 1955. I went to high school and college in Fresno and then went to work for the Department of Water Resources on the California Water Project in 1964. I returned to Visalia in 1968 and have lived here since.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it, Mike?
The first part time job I had was picking prunes on my knees with a three-gallon bucket. I learned that I needed to obtain as much education as possible.
Are you still active in Lane Engineers, the Tulare-based company you founded in 1972, Mike?
No, I retired in December 2007. Larry Simonetti and Pat Teter, long time partners, now own and operate the company.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Mike?
Up until December 2014, I was a horseman and enjoyed the ride very much. Now in my spare time I read and go on short trips with my wife of 53 years.