National Auto Auction Association honors industry veteran and past NAAA president
SCOTTSDALE, AZ.— Bob McConkey has become the newest member of the National Auto Auction Association Hall of Fame. The president and chief executive officer of the McConkey Auction Group and Auction Edge board chairman was inducted at NAAA's 70th annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, this month. Past association president and 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Dave Angelicchio made the presentation.
McConkey, who grew up in the wholesale auto auction business, received the honor for his leadership roles in the industry as ServNet's chairman of the board, Western Auto Auction Association president and on NAAA's board of directors as well as several committees. Following in his father's footsteps to serve as NAAA president in 2009, his championing of Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR), and the establishment of a universal Electronic Condition Report, national Arbitration Policy, and Wholesale Certification Program.
Membership in the Hall of Fame, established in 1968, recognizes individuals whose long-term service to the auto auction industry and NAAA has contributed improvements to remarketing as a whole, has worked with the trade organization to benefit its members and has consistently followed the high standards of the association's Code of Ethics. NAAA represents more than 340 auction members and 100 associate members in North America.
Today McConkey oversees auto auctions in Spokane, Kansas City and Seattle with combined auction sales of more than 100,000 units annually, and leads the executive team in the development of relevant future strategies. Regularly calling bids on the block, McConkey is considered to be one of the finest auctioneers of autos in the West.
It was at South Seattle Auto Auction, co-founded in 1954 by his father Robert McConkey, Sr., that the young McConkey began his remarketing career. He learned how to drive at age nine and spent his summer vacations doing everything around the lot until heading off to Washington State University.
Shortly after beginning his freshman year in the fall of 1980, McConkey's father and older brother needed him to leave the university and return home to help run the auction, which had fallen on hard times during the recession. Five years later the family sold the now revitalized business to General Electric Capital — the first auto auction acquired by that firm. GE retained McConkey, relocating the 25-year-old and his newlywed wife, Sandy, to Los Angeles where he was to be the general manager of Southern California Auto Auction, another recent GE acquisition from the Brasher family.
Three years later, under McConkey's management SCAA had doubled its size, becoming the world's largest volume auto auto auction, selling 108,000 units in 1988. Yet not everything the young GM did proved a success, such as continuing his family's tradition of the Fall Classic Moose Sale, where after the hunt the moose is barbecued and shared by the dealers in the lanes. McConkey learned LA was a little different than his native Seattle when the dealers began fighting over the tasty grilled game and riot police had to be called in to restore order.
In 1992 McConkey along with his friend Greg Mahugh, his former middle school math tutor and work colleague at South Seattle Auto Auction, moved their families north and founded Dealers Auto Auction of Spokane. Within four years the struggling five-acre, two-lane auction in eastern Washington State had grown tremendously and relocated to a newly constructed facility. Its grand opening celebration included a concert featuring the legendary Jerry Lee Lewis and launched an annual affair that has become the auction's signature "Rock & Roll Sale" promotion with big name musicians headlining the now two-day event.
Expanding from five lanes to eight and adding wholesale detail, mechanical, auto body and paint shops on site, the auction was rebranded as DAA Northwest to more accurately represent its extended geographic market. Motorsports and RV sales were later included.
McConkey continued to develop and innovate, utilizing digital sales of every consigned unit online, with photos, to increase his customer base, pioneering the post-sale inspection process and being one of the first auctions to provide condition reports. In 2006 DAA Northwest formed a strategic partnership with Idaho Auto Auction and Brasher's auto auctions that gave birth to what is now Auction Edge, a leading provider of auction management systems and online marketplaces for independent auctions.
In 2008 McConkey became a co-owner of Kansas City Independent Auto Auction and El Paso Independent Auto Auction in 2011 (which was sold in 2016). Then in 2013 together with Mahugh he started DAA Seattle. These auctions now comprise The McConkey Group along with its flagship auction DAA Northwest, which today occupies 90 acres and averages weekly sales of 1,700 units.