This year marked 75 years for life of the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association (PAA). From January 10th to the 13th, they held their annual Conference and Trade Show for the 75th time. The PAA is one of the largest Auctioneer Associations in the United States, meeting once a year in Harrisburg, with local chapters meeting multiple times a year, to host educational seminars, an Auctioneer Competition, Advertising & Marketing Contest, and a Fun Auction. The PAA is dedicated to making the auction industry stronger. The membership of the PAA is made up of auctioneers, trade members and other auction professionals who are passionate about the auction industry and the auction method of selling.
Focusing on educating the auction professional, the PAA provides continuing education points to the many auctioneers who maintain advanced auctioneer certifications or auctioneer licenses held in other states that require ongoing education. These events will allow the attendees to better serve their buyers, sellers and the industry as a whole. Over 200 auction professionals were in attendance, including auctioneers, apprentices, auction students, support personnel, vendors and presenters.
18 Presenters from around the country offered a wealth of information. Some of the presenters were from the PAA membership itself, including past Auctioneer Competition Champions Matt Hostetter, J. Meryl Stoltzfus, and John Stauffer who led a “Bid Calling Workshop”, where auctioneers could bid call and get some pointers. Virginia auctioneer Josh Barfield spoke about decoys and oyster cans; Ken Byler of Higher Ground Consulting Group LLC of Souderton PA spoke of managing time and the power of listening. Members Mike Calvert and Mike Keller led a roundtable discussion about digital marketing and Bob Dann spoke on marketing and selling real estate online. The Associations own legal counsel, Attorney Anthony Cox, Jr., discussed and answered questions during a session on various current happenings affecting the auction industry. Lancaster County attorneys Patrick Deibler and Sam Goodley spoke on the importance of utilizing an attorney (and liabilities if not) when selling real estate at auction. The group heard from the PAA’s Governmental Affairs consultants David Feidt and Jessica Kemmerer of McNees Strategic Solutions Group several times throughout the event, hearing about the legislative goings on and how they affect our industry as well as the importance and reason for Political Actions Committees. Paul Gibson of Shipping Saint led a discussion on valuable shipping tips.
The PAA also hosted the National Auctioneers Association President (and PAA Member), Sherm Hostetter, who spoke on Auction Company Management and Growth. His NAA appointee Chris Rasmus of Virginia covered topics such as how to build your brand. Member Jason Reed spoke on Marketing and Analytics while the 2022 President, Jamie Shearer, shared some valuable “tricks of the trade” regarding communications with potential and current clients. Member Stephen Turner gave an informative presentation on a currently high market category, Mid-Century Modern items. Deliciously, Seltzer Smokehouse Meats supplied, not only a wonderful presenter who spoke about their family run business, but with with some sample products including Lebanon Sweet Bologna.
Of Course, this event would not be what it is without generous sponsors. The highest-level sponsors included E. R. Munro & Company (Corporate Registration Sponsor) and Platinum sponsors United Merchant Processing Association, Shipping Saint, Shearer Printing & Office Solutions, Sanford Alderfer Real Estate, Lancaster Farming, Bidsquare, and AuctionTime/AuctionFlex. There were many other sponsors at various levels, all of which will be listed on www.PAAuctioneers.org.
Several awards are given out to honor some of those who have dedicated their careers to the industry and who have made the industry better for all. Daniel A. Trace of Trace Auction Service in Meadville PA is the newest inductee into the PAA Hall of Fame. This award is given to an individual based on integrity, honesty, high moral character, acute fairness, and distinction, and is bestowed on an auctioneer each year who, over the course of his or her profession, has committed him or herself to fostering excellence in the auction industry. Additionally, the title of Auctioneer of the Year is given to an auctioneer who has shown excellent leadership, high ethical standards, willingness to share with others, participation in community affairs, and outstanding contributions to the PAA and the auction profession. This year’s recipient is Kimberly K Douglass of Kimberly K Auction, LLC in Boyertown PA.
Annually, the PAA hosts the Pennsylvania Auctioneer Competition Championship at the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex during the week of the PA Farm Show. This year, as always, there were hundreds in attendance and participating in the auction. The competition was held on Wednesday evening, January 11th, highlighting the best auctioneers licensed in the state of Pennsylvania. 17 contestants competed, with Brian Burke II of Meshoppen PA coming out as the overall Champion. The Runner-up was Shawn Carbaugh of Spring Grove PA; the Rookie (licensed for less than 2 years) was Spencer Karns of Claysburg PA; and the Top Female Competitor was Dana Balsamo of Princeton NJ.
2023 also marked a significant year in that the PAA held a Champion of Champions Auctioneer Contest. This is a contest that is only held once every five years in which competitors consist of past PA Auctioneer Competition Champions. This year there were 10 contestants. Coming out on top as the Champion of Champions was J. Meryl Stoltzfus of Newport PA, Runner up was John Stauffer of Robesonia PA and in third place was Patrick Morgan of New Holland PA.
Several auction companies were given awards in the first-place categories within the PAA Advertising & Marketing Contest, including Patrick Morgan Auction Services, LLC; Alderfer Auction; Hurley Auctions; Les Longenecker; L & H Auctions; H.K. Keller; Lane Ryan Auctions; Pook and Pook, Inc; Ken Geyer Real Estate Auctioneers; and Hostetter Auctioneers. The "Best of Show", strictly a judges' award, was bestowed on Hostetter Auctioneers, who also won The Advertising & Marketing award of “Auctioneer's Choice", which was judged and chosen by all auctioneers attending the conference.
Officers for the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association for 2023 include: President Lon Clemmer of Harleysville PA; President-Elect Thomas Saylor of Felton PA; Vice President Michael Calvert of Linesville PA; and Treasurer Robert A. Ensminger of Harrisburg PA. Jamie Shearer of Downingtown PA will serve on the PAA Board as the immediate Past President. Kimberly K. Douglass of Boyertown PA is the Executive Director for the Association. To find a PAA Auctioneer in your area or to find out more about the association, go to www.paauctioneers.org or contact the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.