The Building Industry Association of Stark County has merged with the East Central Ohio BIA chapter. The combined operation will be based in Jackson Township and serve a six county area.

JACKSON TWP.  The Building Industry Association of Stark County will be serving a broader area after merging with the East Central Ohio BIA.

The organization will operate as the Building Industry Association of Stark and East Central Ohio. It will be based in Jackson Township in the Stark County Housing Center, at 4344 Metro Circle NW, which has been headquarters for BIA of Stark County.

The association now covers Stark, Carroll, Tuscarawas, Jefferson and Harrison counties. Joe Race will continue as BIA executive director and Stark BIA staff is being retained, the association said in a press release announcing the merger.

Susanna Strauss, past president of the East Central Ohio BIA, said the merger makes sense because the two associations have common interests and interactions when it comes to networking, education, political action and consumer events. “I see this as a great opportunity for both associations going forward,” she said.

Strauss and Holly Waldenmyer, a former past president and builder member of East Central Ohio BIA, were accepted as board members in the merged organization.

Although the five county area is large, it offers an opportunity "to spread our housing events all around East Central Ohio, giving our members more marketing power, and allowing consumers more exposure to new product and design techniques – everything from insulated basement wall foundations to beautiful finished landscaping,” Waldenmyer said.

The merger opens the possibility of more enrichment for BIA members and the general public, said Brian Simpson, BIA Stark president. “We already have several companies who were members of both associations, and they can help us identify where activity is in this five-county area and how best to serve it. We do so many similar functions that working together is really the best thing for our members and those interested in our shows.”

BIA of Stark County formed in 1944. Through the years it has offered consumer events such as the Parade of Homes, the Circuit of New Homes and the Stark County Home & Garden Show. East Central Ohio BIA organized in 1955.