The National Auto Auction Association held a mock auction on Capitol Hill to interactively educate policymakers about the wholesale auction business and the role it plays in both the auto industry and the U.S. economy.
Staffers and legislative aides of the Senate Automotive Caucus joined NAAA in the Russell Senate Office Building on June 16, where NAAA first presented a 30-minute video depicting the entire auction process, such as vehicles arriving via transport truck, inspection, check-in, repair, painting and reconditioning and sales day bidding.
For the mock auction, NAAA brought its audience an auctioneer, eight colorful quarter-scale cutouts of vehicles and stacks of ‘NAAA bucks.’
"We call it 'Wholesale Auto Auctions 101' because we want to give our lawmakers a solid understanding of how auctions operate and how integral they are to the industry," NAAA operations manager and legislative director Tricia Heon said in a news release. "Promoting and protecting the interests of our members and the industry requires proactively educating as well as advocating."
Senate Automotive Caucus chairman Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio arranged the meeting with NAAA.
The caucus provides a bipartisan forum for senators to exchange ideas and influence policy concerning issues that impact the auto industry, according to NAAA.
In attendance were staff from the offices of Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, Sen. James Risch of Idaho, and Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama.
U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi of Ohio and chairman of the congressional Joint Economic Committee also sent representatives.
Following the mock auction, NAAA hosted a reception where staff had an opportunity to meet with NAAA members such as Independent Auction Group co-chair Charlotte Pyle and members from ADESA and Cox Automotive.
ADESA’s Paul Lips, Heather Greenawald, Elizabeth Murphy and NAAA President-elect Warren Clauss participated. And Cox Automotive members in attendance included Craig Amelung and Karyn Wrye.
"I was impressed with the genuine interest and enthusiasm shown by those who attended as well as by the support of the auto caucus," said Pyle, who served as ringman for the mock auction’s auctioneer John Nicholls. "It's rewarding to educate our lawmakers in Washington about our business."
Nicholls is the 2015 NAAA Auctioneer of the Year and president of the Nicholls Auction Marketing Group.
NAAA chief executive officer Frank Hackett, along with Heon and Sante Esposito, president of lobbying firm Key Advocates accompanied the NAAA member delegation for the Capitol Hill visit.
"We received a lot of positive back about our program and about returning to do another in the future," Hackett said.