Auction Academy’s Class 4 Group met at DAA Northwest in July, where they heard lectures on auction culture and staging promotion sales while watching the largest auction promotion in the country unfold before them. (PHOTO: TPC Management)

Auction Academy’s Class 4 Group met at DAA Northwest in July, where they heard lectures on auction culture and staging promotion sales while watching the largest auction promotion in the country unfold before them. (PHOTO: TPC Management)

Auction Academy completed three separate sessions this summer and looks to finish the 2015 curriculum with a joint-class session in Detroit for the fall.

In mid-July, the Auction Academy made its fourth annual trip to Spokane, Washington, this time with the Class 4 Group, to participate in the DAA Northwest Rock & Roll Sale as well as to interface with key managers from the auction – all while the biggest auto auction promotion in the country unfolded before them. 

The first day focused on auction operations, led by Len Roll, DAA Northwest’s Manager of Reconditioning Shops, who also led a tour of the auction facility. Students heard lectures on auction culture and staging promotional sales by auction Co-owner Greg Mahugh and Marketing Manager Mitzi VanVoorhis.  They also participated in an interactive exercise led by Gonzaga University Professor of Leadership Studies, Dr. Shann Ferch, who spoke about Leadership & the Millennials.

The next day’s agenda included a discussion with Dave Woods, Director of Remarketing for Harley Davidson, followed by the Harley auction at DAA Northwest.  Next was an industry overview presentation by Charlie Vogelheim, and later an outline of auction technology by Scott Finkle, President of Auction Edge.  The students then headed back to the auction for the Rock & Roll concert headlined this year by Heart. 

Said Penny Wanna, Auction Academy’s Vice President of Administration, “We cannot thank Bob McConkey, Greg Mahugh and the entire staff of DAA Northwest enough for once again allowing the Academy to participate in their largest sale of the year.  It is amazing to see how the team is able to handle record breaking consignment volumes and so graciously accommodate us being right in the middle of all the auction action for the entire week.”

Later in July the Academy held its first “Seminar Series”, with a Digital Managers Session in Chicago.  Said Academy CEO, Pierre Pons: “We felt there was a need in the industry for a shorter term training program with an intense focus on specific topics.  Our initial projection was to have 20 Digital Managers meet and discuss internet sales in great detail. We were overwhelmed by the interest and had to cut off registrations at 33, as we began to run out of meeting room space.” 

The single-day session was held in Chicago, where the group spent the morning hearing presentations from six technology platforms:  Auction Edge, OVE, Smart Auction, Open Lane, WhannTech and Liquid Motors. That afternoon, the platform representatives left the room and the Digital Managers discussed the challenges and opportunities that all shared with selling vehicles over the various internet platforms. 

Added Pons, “That afternoon was the single most dynamic discussion session I have ever witnessed in our industry.  I am convinced that due to the interactions of that afternoon, the state of online sales for Independent Auctions has been enhanced dramatically.”

The Academy will look to host another Digital Managers Session in early 2016.  In addition plans are in the works for sessions on additional topics, including Dealer Consignment Sales, CFPB Compliance, Fleet/Lease and Commercial Account Sales, and Safety/OSHA topics.

In late August (August 27-29), Auction Academy’s Class Group 3 ventured west to Salt Lake City where Brasher’s Salt Lake Auto Auction hosted the group, providing an auction tour and several discussion sessions led by auction owners and key managers. Jeff Brasher of Brasher’s Reno Auto Auction opened the session with a presentation on the dynamics of working for a family business and detailing how the Brasher Auctions were founded by his grandparents 66 years ago in 1949, not far from where the class group was meeting.  The next day Brasher’s Salt Lake auction owners Rob Brasher, Don Rowley, and John McPhie each reviewed their particular areas of responsibility after which the group toured the 70+ acre auction facility which hosts sales for a number of large commercial accounts, including Ford, General Motors, Santander, Ally and Subaru. The class later met with Charlie Vogelheim, who presented an overview of the industry, and John Weaver of Capital Automotive Reconditioning, who discussed how detailing and overall vehicle reconditioning fit into the auction process.  The next day Lee Anglin, Fleet/Lease Manager at Brasher’s Salt Lake Auto Auction, walked the class thru commercial account operations, while Auction Academy CEO Pierre Pons led a discussion on formulating budgets and forecasts.

Said Wanda Jowers, an academy student and 23-year employee from Carolina Auto Auction: “In all my years at the auction I thought I had seen just about everything. But over the course of my Academy experience, which allows me to visit so many other facilities around the country, I have picked up something new each and every time. The Sale Lake City session was my favorite to date – but quite honestly I have loved them all.”

In October the Academy will hold its final session for 2015 in Detroit, Michigan, where it will be hosted by Flint Auto Auction.  This trip will include a visit to General Motors and ONstar as well as the Ford Rouge Manufacturing plant where Ford F150 trucks are made.

The Auction Academy is a continuing education program developed by TPC Management Company (TPC) for professionals in the auto auction industry. It provides a two-year training and development experience for automotive auction professionals, structured like an Executive MBA program. With faculty drawn from expert practitioners around the country, Auction Academy’s programs are designed to enhance essential skill sets, promote best practices and yield better auction performance. The curriculum includes site visits, field trips and work with industry experts in all areas of auction operations.