By Wesley LeBlanc, Contributing Writer
When Jessie Spradley graduated from the University of North Florida 10 years ago, he never had plans to work in the field of construction and all that surrounds it.
He took the position of government affairs director at the Northeast Florida Builders Association after someone told him it would be a good job for him.
Spradley was working as an aide for a Florida House member when he got the tip about the job. Now, nearly four years later, he can’t see himself leaving anytime soon.
“Right now, I’m 100 percent in this job,” said Spradley.
It’s not only what he does, but what he can do that keeps him motivated.
“I love this job,” said Spradley. “There’s so much to learn and there’s always new issues to tackle.”
He said he finds himself and NEFBA in a constant battle to work with the government, which he said seemingly drives the cost of owning a home up, and the buyers, who want the cost of owning a home to go down.
Spradley said a recent national study concluded almost 25 percent of the cost of buying a house goes to government fees and regulations.
His goal is to bring those fees down.
“Government is driving up the cost of homes and we are here to stop that,” said Spradley. “We are working with all of the counties in Northeast Florida to cut these fees and these regulations.”
His job consists less of working with counties to reduce fees — others in NEFBA handle that — and more of overseeing committees within the association.
Spradley oversees committees for government affairs, political action, and codes and standards (which works to reduce government fees associated with buying and owning a home), along with the panel that nominates regional political candidates NEFBA supports financially.
Spradley and his team also work extensively with the association’s Young Professionals Group.
A Jacksonville native, Spradley’s time outside the office is dedicated to family and volunteering. If he’s not helping clean up the St. Johns River, he’s likely kayaking down it with his wife or fishing with some friends.
Although Spradley is a director, he knows what he and his team accomplish couldn’t be done without the help of others in NEFBA.
“We don’t operate in a bubble and we never will,” said Spradley. “All of the committees we work with are full of NEFBA members who are incredibly knowledgeable in those areas and without them, we’d be completely ineffective.”