FREDERICK, MD – After being installed as NAAA president in October, Bob McConkey has hit the ground running, and recently spent a week with NAAA Vice President Dave Angelicchio and Executive Director Frank Hackett on the annual “President’s Tour” of the South.

McConkey’s first stop was Stockbridge, Ga., for a visit to Manheim’s Drive Center, guided by Executive Director Donald Foy. After a tour of the training facility, which includes a 180-seat bidding theater and interactive learning labs, McConkey took a first-hand look at Manheim’s condition report process.

“Manheim’s Drive Center is a remarkable facility,” said McConkey. “It demonstrates Manheim’s commitment to the industry, made all the more significant by the fact that Manheim has made the Drive Center available to all NAAA members. Research is being done at the Center now that will help shape the future development of the auction industry; as an association we owe much to Manheim’s vision and mission.”

From Stockbridge the group traveled to Manheim’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta, where they met with Manheim executives Dean Eisner, Mike Broe, and Jay Cadigan, also NAAA’s newly-elected vice president.

“Not surprisingly, we discussed at length the many challenges facing the industry during our meeting at Manheim,” noted McConkey. “Current economic conditions and the health of the auto industry demand our attention. But that’s not to say that our discussions were all doom-and-gloom. In the face of these challenges, we considered the opportunities and potential for the industry to band together on numerous fronts, not the least of which is the vital roll the auctions play in partnership with the dealer community.”

The next stop for the President’s Tour was Auction Insurance Agency in Birmingham, Ala. McConkey, Angeliccio, and Hackett met with Tom Adams, Steve DeMedicis, Chuck Redden, and John McAlrath to discuss safety issues as they relate to the auction industry, and to review the operations of AutoCheck and AuctionAccess.

“The accuracy of vehicle history data is becoming increasingly important to the NAAA membership and its customers,” McConkey said. “We appreciate the advances that AutoCheck has made in making that information available to the auctions, as well as the strides we’ve made in streamlining the dealer registration process thanks to AuctionAccess. They’re valuable industry partners, and we enjoyed spending the time with Tom and his team to discuss their continued roll in the auction process.”

To wind up the week, McConkey, Angelicchio, and Hackett traveled to Gainesville, Ga., for a tour of Black Book’s printing facilities and a meeting with Tom Cross, Tim West, and Ricky Beggs, where discussions centered on the dynamics of the current market in the auction lanes. The trio also taped a video segment for “Beggs on the Market,” where they discussed in more detail the NAAA’s services and benefits to its membership, changes in the industry as upstream selling continues to grow, and perspectives on the market for 2009.

“It was a fascinating and informative week of travel and discussion as we met with these important industry partners,” said McConkey. “There’s no question that we face many challenges as an industry, but with the strength, determination, dedication and vision of our membership, I have no doubt that we will find the answers and make the adjustments needed to find success in the year ahead.”

McConkey will head out again in early December for a trip to San Francisco, where he will meet with the NAAA Convention Committee to finalize the details for the 2009 convention. From there he will travel to Indianapolis to meet with Jim Hallett and the executive team at ADESA.