Franklin, TN — Auction Academy enrolled the largest class in the decade-long history of the program with the launch of Class Group 7. A total of 30 students from 17 states across the country represent a variety of disciples within the automotive industry, including auction operations, floorplan and finance, technology and remarketing.
This new Class Group is our largest and most diverse Class Group to date, and, following the opening session last fall in Nashville, we’re well into an exciting and comprehensive curriculum,” said Auction Academy President, Penny Wanna. “Now in our tenth year, we’re excited to see so many graduates of Auction Academy assuming leadership roles in the industry and, in turn, sharing their knowledge and experience by leading classroom and training sessions.”
Auction Academy has completed the first half of 2022 with its newest Class Group meeting together in a virtual classroom setting as well as in-person to pursue the academy’s in-depth training curriculum.
The Academy’s first Quarter of 2022 included a visit in February to Louisiana’s 1st Choice Auto Auction, a first-time host for the program, where the students observed auction operations at one of the country’s leading facilities.
The Academy’s visit coincided with the auction’s largest promotion of the year, the Rockin’ Mardi Gras Sale, and the group spent some time learning about the Louisiana concept of Lagniappe, which has been the cornerstone of the service offered at the auction over the past 20 years of its operation.
Training included a session with Joe Miller of AutoIMS and Glenda Gudiel of Auction Edge, as well as David Walsh of Training Services, Inc. who spoke on eRevolutionary Leadership Skills, Leveraging People, Process and Product to Achieve Goals. Presentations were made by several members of the LAFCAA Staff: Who Owns Your Customers by John Poteet, Ecommerce by Andy Poteet, and Auction Training with Matt Alombro (Andy Poteet and Matt Alombro are both Auction Academy alums).
In May, Auction Academy met together in Dallas, opening with CEO Pierre Pons speaking on Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, and making a presentation titled Where Do Cars Come From? Training sessions were led by number of industry experts, including Scott Mousaw of United Auto Credit, Brent Huisman of Exeter Finance, Doug Evans of Hyundai Capital America, Mark Lindenmuth of Caprock Auto Remarketing, and Casey Hughes of Toyota Financial Services. The following day Class Group 7 visited Metro Auto Auction – Dallas, where they were hosted by General Manager Scott Stalder, Controller Rob Gorman (an Academy Alum), Fleet/Lease Manager Joshua Mooney and Bill Westlake, Director – National Accounts.
The Dallas Session concluded with a field trip to the Union Pacific Railroad facility in Mesquite, TX, where the Class Group saw first-hand how vehicles are transported and unloaded from rail cars. The field trip was coordinated with the help of Jeff Grandstaff of Gold Star Resources, LLC.
Auction Academy’s in-person sessions during the first two quarters of 2022 alternated with three Virtual Classroom meetings, notes Wanna. In January the group meet online for a session on Digital Sales, in April for a presentation on Safety, Security, and Compliance with Privacy4Cars, and in June for a discussion on Electric Vehicles and how auctions can and should prepare.
Auction Academy then convened in Spokane, Washington on Monday, July 18, for three days of training that included DAA Northwest’s premier industry promotion, the 27th annual Rock ‘n Roll Sale, which culminated in a concert by Sammy Hagar.
The session began with a presentation by Len Roll of DAA Northwest, one of the industry’s top professionals in auction operations, who covered detailing, body shop services and condition reports. He was followed by Mitzi Van Voorhis, the McConkey Auction Group’s VP of Marketing (an Academy Alum) and Kaylen Bucher, Marketing Manager at DAANW and a current Class 7 student, who described the McConkey Group’s philosophy and process for its nationally recognized promotions in print and digital media. Completing the morning’s session was the McConkey Auction Group’s VP of Human Resources, Ashleigh Mathews, also an alum of Auction Academy, who discussed a topic that personally impacts most Auction Academy students as they assume leadership roles: making a seamless transition from coworker to boss with respect to all.
The Class was then met by two more graduates of Auction Academy — DAA Northwest’s General Manager Collin McConkey and MAG COO Dave Pendergraft — for a tour of the DAA Northwest facilities. Back in the classroom, the group heard presentations by Sandy Moon of NextGear Capital and Dan Diedrich of Auction Edge. The day ended with a barbecue at the home of Bob and Sandy McConkey, which was attended by a number of industry executives as well as the Auction Academy students.
Wednesday, July 17 was a second full day of classes and auction observation, beginning with IARA CAR Certification Testing. After watching the kick-off sale in the auction lanes at DAA Northwest, the group returned to the classroom, where they heard from Auction Academy President Penny Wanna, Academy alum Ben Caffee — AVP Digital Service at Manheim Express, and Dr. Shann Ferch of Gonzaga University. Then, the group joined auction customers and remarketers from across the country for the main event, the Rock & Roll Concert opened by The Cronkites and followed by headliner Sammy Hagar.
Later in 2022, Auction Academy will meet in Baltimore, Maryland for a full day of NADA training, focusing on the auction process through the dealer’s eyes. The Nichols family will host the Academy for day two at Bel Air Auto Auction, where classes will be held in the auction lane. Dr. Brittany Boone, an Auction Academy favorite, returns to speak on Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion. The group will also hear presentations from Smart Auction, DealShield, the Holman Group and members of the staff at Bel Air Auto Auction.