One of the oldest industries and professions – ever! - is alive and strong in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. One of the reasons is because of the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association (PAA). Back in 1948, the PAA was formed to help professionals in the Auction Industry to continually improve the standard of education, ethics and performance of its members. This month, the Association met yet again for their 76th Annual Conference and Trade Show.
Who is the PAA? 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. Did you know that anyone selling through the auction method in Pennsylvania (online or live) is required by law to hold a state issued license?
Focusing on educating the auction professional and beyond, 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. This annual conference allows 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.
25 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 Brian Burke II who led a “Bid Calling Workshop”, where auctioneers could bid call and get some pointers to prepare for the Wednesday evening PA Auctioneer Championship (results listed below).
Some of the other member-run sessions included “Fire Fighting Antiques and Memorabilia” put on by Brian Enterline; “Understanding our Auction Law” by Patrick Morgan; member Dave Conley spoke about Antique Farm Equipment; and the National Auction Association President, Lance Walker spoke about working with Real Estate Brokers.
Some other valuable sessions included “The Changing Marketplace and Evolving Buyer Expectations” by Paul Gibson of Shipping Saint; “Demystifying Stock Market Risks” by Tom Cichocki of Morgan Stanley; “How to Merchandise Dairy Cows and Understand a Cattle Catalog” by Adam Fraley; “Presidential Memorabilia” by Historian Dr. Larry Cook; Adam Amspacher spoke on a “Niche Auction Specialty of American Artifacts and Arrowheads”; and there was even a presentation on DOT and trailer hauling put on by the PA State Police.
The attendees got to hear from Charles and Scott Wehrly along with Shawn Carbaugh about an auction company going from one generation to the next, the history, and the progress of Wehrly’s Auction. The seminar schedule ended with a session by the PAA Legal Counsel, Attorney Ryan Gonder and Governmental Affairs Consultants Jessica Kemmerer and David Feidt.
Today auctions are just as, if not more so, prevalent online as they are live. One of the Vendors, BidWrangler, held a “Tech Talk” session. Some other online focused session included “Managing Multiple Platforms for Online Auctions” presented by Heino Koberg and Barb Smith with the assistance of BidSpirit who was also present as a vendor.
The PAA prides themselves on holding a Trade Show in conjunction with the conference. Attendees can come and speak with companies that provide products and services to help improve the industry. This includes vendors from online platforms, a moving company, various auction software, insurance, advertising (digital and print), auction sound, auction equipment and more. Of Course, this event would not be what it is without generous sponsors. The highest-level sponsors included E. R. Munro & Company who was the Corporate Registration Sponsor and Platinum sponsors United Merchant Processing Association, Shipping Saint, Shearer Printing & Office Solutions, Lancaster Farming, AuctionTime/Auction Flex and Auction Technology Group. There were many other sponsors at various levels, all of which will be listed on www.PAAuctioneers.org.
Several awards are given out each year to honor some of those who have dedicated their careers to the industry and who have made the industry better for all. Gerald Rader of Skippack PA and Kimberly Douglass of Boyertown PA were the newest inductees into the PAA Hall of Fame. This award is given to individuals 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 Dennis Wolgemuth of Leola PA. Retiring Treasurer Robert Ensminger of Harrisburg was acknowledged after 18 years of his dedication to the office of Treasurer.
Of course, a Conference would be nothing without a bit of Competition! Annually, the PAA hosts the Pennsylvania Auctioneer Competition Championship at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg during the week of the PA Farm Show. This year, as always, there were many hundreds in attendance and participating in the auction. The competition was held on Wednesday evening, January 10th, highlighting the best auctioneers licensed in the state of Pennsylvania. 23 contestants competed, with Shawn Carbaugh of Spring Grove PA as the overall Champion. The Runner-up was Nicholas Hummer of Manheim PA; the Rookie (licensed for less than 2 years) was Alec Hess of Hanover PA; and the Top Female Competitor was Kylee Hostetter of Beaver Falls PA.
The Group also held an Advertising & Marketing Contest with both print and digital categories. The "Best of Show", strictly a judges' award, was bestowed on Hostetter Auctioneers for a promotional video. The “Auctioneer's Choice" award, judged and chosen by all conference attendees was given to Pook and Pook, Inc. First-place category winners included Hurley Real Estate & Auctions (7), Alderfer Auction (4), Patrick Morgan Auction Services LLC (3), Pook and Pook Inc (2), Fortna Auctioneers, Cordier Auctions & Appraisals, and BL Oberholtzer Auction Service.
Officers for the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association for 2024 include: President Thomas Saylor of Felton PA; President-Elect Michael Calvert of Linesville PA; Vice President Brian Oberholtzer of Reinolds PA; Treasurer Kim Douglass of Boyertown PA; and Lon Clemmer of Harleysville PA who 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.
For more information contact:
Kimberly K. Douglass, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association
P.O. Box 686, Gilbertsville, PA 19525