NAAA Convention Hits Home Run

By Tony Moorby October 23, 2019 898

The National Auto Auction Association held its first stand-alone convention in a number of years in Indianapolis just recently. Of late, it’s shared its presence with numerous other used vehicle sales interests from retail, financing, wholesale as well as by those involved as industry users, like lessors and other consignors.

   Many in the association felt that some of the singular concerns and business of the auction industry had become somewhat diluted and perhaps overshadowed as part of a larger group.

   I’m assuming that, in pure financial terms, it was a risky undertaking but judging by the attendance and amount of sponsors and underwriters, then things went rather well.

   While they’ve had years of practice, it must be said that Frank Hackett, NAAA’s CEO, ably assisted by his wonderful staff, make the event as smooth as silk, working feverishly behind the scenes but accessible at the drop of a hat. A shout out to Beth, Laurie, Tricia and Ana being well deserved.

   Chad Bailey, a natural showman and independent auction owner, hosted the event as this year’s President. His passion for people and the industry was on show for all to see as he boasted the capabilities of his fellow members and the association, at large.

   You’ll read of all the awards and acknowledgements in these pages but one was very dear to me; Ellie Johnson was inducted into the Hall of Fame. We worked together back in the nineties as she followed her wonderful dad into the business and grew to be a pillar of the industry and the association. She gives back in so many ways it’s impossible to include them all in this space. Knowing people like her is one of the privileges of being involved in NAAA.

The Association has developed a plan to attract new staff to the auction industry, especially in vehicle mechanics nad bodywork skills. Auto Auction Jobs Now, a nationwide undertaking in alliance with CARS Recon and the NADA, is starting to look really promising with systems in place to track progress of the plan.

   The occasion prompted a fair amount of looking back (often as a way to plot a course for the future), learning how to take advantage of all the ways to remarket vehicles for today’s demanding audiences. Perennial discussions over the pros and cons of bricks and mortar and Internet auctions underscored the value of both, in the end.

   There’s no getting away from the fact that socializing glues relationships and some serious elbow exercises ensured that connections were made and kept. Indy’s local economy benefitted greatly from the travel and entertainment budgets of attendees. St. Elmo’s and Tony’s steak houses got a workout with some sinuses being cleared by St. Elmo’s cocktail horseradish sauce! Of course, no one outdoes Black Book at their reception for the size and quantity of their shrimp spread.

   The hotel did a pretty good job with steaks too; we had a Fred Flintstone sized strip – for lunch! At my age that means hibernation, never mind a nap. All the hospitality was worthy of the mid-west – large helpings of everything from food to friendship. Even some of the Wolfe family showed up again!

   Guest speakers did a fine job making presentations from outside and within the Association, flexing minds to deal with our rapidly changing world of wheels. When I heard that Deion Sanders was giving the post-luncheon address I thought we were in for another head-banging session on teamwork and fair play. Not! The man is a humane genius, having seen every stripe of life from the inner cities to the top echelons of society; unfazed by wealth and fame he exudes kindness and passion from every pore. It was an inspiring hour and time well spent.

   I have to observe that some of the old sense of camaraderie crept back into the meeting. That’s not to say that the auction business is insular or even inward looking. It’s still a vibrant and important part of a nationally enabled vehicle redistribution industry, maintaining its connections to all the other moving parts.


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Last modified on Wednesday, 23 October 2019 13:35