December 15, 2023

The Women Leading the Building Industry Association

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“If everyone is at the table and respected, we will have better outcomes." - Lori Pfeiler
Tony Manolatos

The majority of San Diegans are renters, but rents are crazy expensive because supply is so low. Very few new homes are built, so those that are sold come with a steep price. The average home in San Diego sells for $900,000. 

How did we get here? What caused our region’s housing crisis? How do we fix it? What do we need to do to build more homes San Diegans can afford? 

Tony and Juan get answers to these questions from two of the region’s leading housing advocates, Lori Pfeiler and Hannah Gbeh, on this episode of Dear San Diego.

In addition to housing policy and politics, Lori and Hannah talk about what it’s like working in an arena mostly dominated by men at the top of the food chain.

Lori is CEO of San Diego County Building Industry, and Hannah is the organization’s Vice President of Government Affairs.

Lori turned some heads when she was named CEO of the BIA in 2021. She turned more heads when she hired Hannah as the BIA’s Vice President of Government Affairs.

The duo lead a venerable organization committed to building homes for all San Diegans, unwinding decades of bad housing policies, advocating for fewer regulations and more housing (especially middle income housing our region desperately needs), and supporting candidates and politicians who support the BIA’s mission.

Solving a regional housing crisis is no easy task. It helps that Lori and Hannah bring decades of experience and an impressive network to the table. They both also have a strong track record of helping people.

Lori has served her community for more than 25 years. Elected to the Escondido City Council in 1992, Lori continued her service as the city’s mayor for three terms. During her time as mayor, Lori was a savvy collaborator. "It is about giving everyone a chance to be successful,” she said. “If everyone is at the table and respected, we will have better outcomes."

Prior to serving as CEO of the BIA, Lori led the San Diego affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, which builds and repairs homes in partnership with families earning less than the area median income, providing life changing opportunities to families in need. Lori is married and she is a mom to an adult daughter.

Prior to joining the BIA, Hannah served as the Executive Director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau

Hannah is a single mom to 3 children and previously owned Wild Baby Botanicals and Bee Valley Farm. She also founded, incorporated and managed a grassroots non-profit, Charity World, which provided food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education to poor, distressed and disadvantaged individuals.

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