your head what you have to deliver,
but you just have to do it. That’s always
inspired me—when people can do that.
Q What have you learned along the way that you wish you had known
when you started your career?
There are two things I’ve
really learned that I still apply today, one
of which is don’t assume everybody
does it like you do. I’m really incredibly
passionate about the auction business
and working for clients, so I just assume
the passion I have is the same as the
passion of the people that I hire to work
for me. I’ve found that’s often not the
case. They may be a very good,
dedicated worker. They may be very
committed to their job, but they’re not
going to love it like I do. I don’t see it as
work, I just enjoy doing what I do.
The second lesson is that in a service
business, you really have to spend a lot
of time understanding that when you
hire somebody, you hire them for the
skills they can bring to your business
and not hope that they have the skills
that you need. It’s really about putting
the right people in the right jobs to do
the right tasks because you’re delivering
a service, an intangible. It’s not like
you’re asking them to put two widgets
together and put them in a box. You’re
asking them to think and to deliver
on their thoughts. That takes a lot of
time and a lot of training. So really
developing the people you hire, to make
sure that you hire them for the right
job, is extremely important as well.
You’d never use your laptop computer
to bang a nail into a piece of wood.
Even though you could, you
wouldn’t. It’s the same thing. You
wouldn’t use a person who has no
accounting skills to do accounting.
You just want to make sure you get
the right people in the right place.
Q What role has your TMA membership played in
TMA has been the most
important professional association that
I’ve been part of since I’ve been involved
in the business. First, I really like that
TMA has a diversity of members—the
attorneys, the bankers, turnaround
professionals, and other auctioneers.
That has led to a significant amount
For instance, David Fiegel used to be
president of the Upstate New York
Chapter. When I was president of the
Chesapeake Chapter and would go to
the presidents’ meeting, I would see
David. While he was a competitor, we
always liked each other and would
talk to each other when we’d see
each other at TMA conferences.
Then he ended up going out on his
own and reached out to me to work
together on a deal. To this day, we’re
still doing auctions together. We’re
working together on the Truland
Systems auction. It’s a company that
used to do $600 million in revenue a
year here in Northern Virginia, and
David and I are selling close to 300
vehicles for them. David’s my partner
on the deal. But most importantly, he’s
become a good friend of mine as well.
There have been a number of other
deals. I sold 700 acres for another TMA
member when I lived in Oklahoma.
I received a call from an attorney in
Baltimore, Joe Bellinger. He said,
“You’re not going to believe it, but
I’ve got a case for you in Oklahoma.”
It was all because of TMA.
There’s another attorney who was giving
business to one of my competitors. I ran
into him at one of the TMA networking
events. I asked him, “When are you
going to give me a try?” He said he
had one deal for me. The auction was
a success. He gave me a second one,
and that auction was also a success.
He just told me that his client told
him that they want to give me more
auctions because it’s been so successful
working together. I would not have
been able to rekindle that relationship
had it not been for us meeting again
at the TMA networking event.
TMA did not become really significant
in my business life until I was able
to take on a leadership position in
the Chesapeake Chapter. One piece
of advice I give to everybody who
asks, “Should I belong to TMA?” is,
you don’t just join, you have to be
part of it. The only way you can get
to show other people your skills
is by being a leader in TMA.
For instance, I used to be very
involved in running programs for the
Chesapeake Chapter prior to moving
to Oklahoma, and I’m still involved in
running programs in Chesapeake. So
I’ve been able to demonstrate that I
have the ability to develop a program,
help market it and get people there,
and do everything that you need to do
to be successful. That transcends into
what I do in the auction business.
It’s really about being involved in your
local chapter. Truth be told, that’s
where most of your business is going
to come from. I certainly like going
to national events. I might meet an
attorney from Arizona who is the nicest
person, but chances are he’s not going
to have a deal in Northern Virginia.
But my fellow members that are part
of the Chesapeake Chapter? Those are
the people that I’m here to service.
Q What other advice do you have for people who are new to the
industry or are just thinking about
getting into the industry, besides join
TMA and get involved?
It’s more than just getting
involved. It’s about actually being a
leader and taking on responsibility. I’ve
certainly seen a lot of people volunteer to
be part of a committee, and then they
don’t do anything. They’re looking for
the title, but it’s not about the title. If you
can truly help people get business from
other people, and they know that you
helped make that happen—even though
you’re not involved in the transaction—
then you’ll always be somebody that they
want to know.
The insolvency business is all about
trust and about relationships. I only get
those phone calls because people know
they can trust me and they know that
I can deliver on what I say I’m going
to deliver. If a turnaround professional
continued from page 46 Whenever I know I need to make a
recommendation for any client for
any transaction, I’m going to refer
them to somebody I know in TMA,
first and foremost, every single time.