HomeAdvisor’s second insights forum, moderated by HomeAdvisor’s Housing Expert Marianne Cusato, identified America’s skilled labor shortage crisis and the future implications of today’s shortage on the home improvement market. Subject experts, key influencers, press and policy-makers joined to explore supply and demand solutions and how education, entrepreneurship, and the economy can influence the next generation of home builders and craftsmen.

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HomeAdvisor Insights Forum | Recap

Panel 1: How Did We Get Here?

Panel 2: Where Do We Go From Here? 


Marianne Cusato

Moderator and Designer

Marianne Cusato is HomeAdvisor's Housing Expert on topics relating to architecture, design, and homebuilding trends and a Professor of the Practice at University of Notre Dame's School of Architecture. Recently selected by Fortune Magazine as one of the Top Women in Real Estate, Cusato is a designer, author, and lecturer whose work speaks to the ever-changing needs of homeowners striving to balance the practical requirements of economy and durability with the desire to love where we live. Cusato and her work are frequently featured in the media including The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post and CBS This Morning. She is internationally renowned for her design of the Katrina Cottage, the author of two books: "The Just Right Home" and "Get Your House Right", and a blogger for the Huffington Post.

Mark Richardson

Senior Industry Fellow, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies

Mark Richardson is highly regarded as a pioneer in developing standards of professionalism in the construction industry. After more than 30 years as President and Co-Chairman with Case Design/Remodeling, one of the leading remodeling organizations in the industry today, Mark is in high demand as a national educator, speaker and author. As a spokesperson for the industry, Mark is a featured columnist and contributor for publications such as Professional Remodeler, Professional Builder, Residential Lighting and Big Grower. His insights have appeared in Money, The Washington Post, Better Homes and Gardens, Fortune and various other media outlets. Mark is the author of several books including the “30-day Remodeling Business Fitness Program”, the best-selling book “How Fit is Your Business”, and his newest book “Fit to Grow”. Mark was also inducted into NAHB’s Hall of Fame, which honors individuals’ lifetime achievements in making lasting impressions in the construction industry.

Jonathan Smoke

Chief Economist,®

Jonathan joined® as its first Chief Economist in June 2014. He leads the efforts of to develop and translate real estate data and trends into accurate and relevant consumer and industry insights. He represents® at industry events and is quoted often in consumer, industry and investor-facing media like REALTOR® Magazine, Housing Wire, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, CNBC, Fortune, and USA Today. He was recently featured as “The new wave of economists shaking up the status quo” in HousingWire Magazine. Prior to joining®, Jonathan was the Chief Economist of Hanley Wood.

Tara Sinclair

Chief Economist,

Tara Sinclair is chief economist at Indeed, the world's largest jobsite, and an associate professor of economics and international affairs at George Washington University. Her research focuses on modeling, explaining, and forecasting labor market and other macroeconomic trends for different countries. As Indeed's chief economist, Sinclair is developing original research using proprietary Indeed data combined with publicly available data to uncover exclusive insights on the labor market. In addition to her academic work, Sinclair is frequently invited to brief media on economic and labor trends as well as offer commentary. She has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and has appeared on CNN, C-Span, NPR, Fox Business, Bloomberg Radio and TV, and many other local and international news programs.

Ed DeMarco

Senior Fellow in Residence, The Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets

Ed DeMarco is a senior fellow in residence at the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets where he researches issues involving housing finance, housing policy, and financial institution regulation.  He is a widely sought-after expert and frequent public speaker on housing finance. In 2015 he was a Visiting Professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. From 2009 to 2014 DeMarco served as Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and regulator of those companies and the Federal Home Loan Banks. He was named HousingWIre Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2012 for his impact on housing finance. Prior to being Acting Director, DeMarco was the COO and Senior Deputy Director of FHFA and its predecessor agency from 2006 to 2009. DeMarco’s federal service also included the Social Security Administration (2003 to 2006) where he was Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Policy, the Treasury Department (1994 to 2003) where he was Director of the Office of Financial Institutions Policy, and the U.S. General Accounting Office (1986 to 1994).

Diana Olick

Real Estate Reporter, CNBC

Diana Olick is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, currently serving as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the author of the Realty Check section on, which won the Gracie Award for "Outstanding Blog" in 2015. She also contributes her real estate expertise to NBC's "Today" and "NBC Nightly News." Prior to joining CNBC in 2002, Olick spent seven years as a correspondent for CBS News.

John McManus

Editorial Director, Hanley Wood’s Residential Group

John McManus is an award-winning editorial and digital content director for the Residential Group at Hanley Wood in Washington, DC. In addition to the Builder digital, print, and in-person editorial and programming portfolio, his accountability for the group includes strategic content direction for Affordable Housing Finance, Aquatics International, Big Builder, Custom Home, the Journal of Light Construction, Multifamily Executive, Pool & Spa News, Professional Deck Builder, ProSales, Remodeling, Replacement Contractor, and Tools of the Trade.

Chris Terrill

CEO, HomeAdvisor

Chris Terrill joined HomeAdvisor as CEO in 2011. Terrill is a seasoned Internet veteran who has specialized in online subscription continuity business models, working for top tier brands such as and Additionally, he spent six years with, most recently as Vice President of New Brands and Vertical – a position in which he launched online brands such as Terrill serves on the board of Neat, the leading manufacturer of “digital filing cabinet” equipment and software storage, the National Kitchen and Bath Association board, and the Board of Advisors for Denver’s high profile Quarterly Forum.

Stephen Sandherr

CEO, Associated General Contractors of America

Stephen Sandherr joined the AGC of America staff in 1984. Currently, as Chief Executive Officer, Steve’s role is to maintain relations with AGC’s 93 chapters nationwide, coordinate government relations activities and enhance AGC’s involvement with business coalitions. CEO Update, which tracks people in association and non-profit executive careers, listed Steve as a top CEO in 2009, and a Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, listed Steve as a top lobbyist for the last seven years, representing the only commercial construction industry association on the Top Lobbyists of 2009 - 2015 lists. Steve is a 1980 graduate of the University of Scranton with a B.S. in Political Science. He earned his law degree from the Catholic University of America in 1983, and is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia. He is a trustee of the National Building Museum in Washington.

Denise Dersin

Editorial Director, Professional Builder Magazine

Denise Dersin is the editorial director of SGC Horizon’s Professional Builder and Custom Builder magazines and, business to business publications for the housing industry. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years, she previously served as editor-in-chief of Builder magazine and editor of Time Life Books.

John Courson

President & CEO, Home Builders Institute

John A. Courson is President and Chief Executive Officer of HBI—Building Careers, a national leader for training students — including under-served and at-risk youth, veterans, ex-offenders and displaced workers — for careers in the building industry. Courson manages the $30 million national nonprofit with nearly 300 employees and operations in 44 states. In addition to HBI’s programs, including the award-winning Pre-Apprenticeship Certification Training (PACT), Job Corps, Veterans and separating military personnel, and the Residential Construction Academy (RCA), he oversees the organization’s business development initiatives. Courson was formerly the CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). He was involved in the mortgage industry for more than 50 years and served as Chairman of MBA in 2003. He was President and CEO of two national mortgage banking companies between 1978 and 2007. From 2004 to 2008, appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Courson served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Housing Finance Agency. He served as President of the California Mortgage Bankers Association and the Michigan Mortgage Bankers Association.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Monmouth College, the Board of Directors of Main Street Bank and the Board of the American Association of Bank Directors.

Event Photos


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Other events: HomeAdvisor’s Aging in Place Insights Forum