NAA Conference & Show 2015 fun auctionJuly 23, 2015 - As a newcomer to the industry, the 66th International Auctioneers Conference & Show, held in Dallas, Texas was to be my introduction to the world of auctioneers. I'm a marketing guy by nature. I've spent the last 15 years working for various financial institutions, primarily in marketing or digital marketing/product related roles. I had no idea that for the last 66 years, the Conference & Show existed.

We had planned to arrive Tuesday, but mother nature decided to thwart those efforts. Our connection through Chicago was canceled and there was no hope of re-routing. That meant no Eddie Deen's Ranch for me. After another pre-dawn wake up on Wednesday, the planes were on time and I was on my way.

I was very much excited for the seminars. The topics were intriguing and I was excited at the prospect of finding that one piece of information that would spark an idea. Digital marketing and social media are hardly new trends, but Dahlia and Tess from The Meeting Pool had tons of great information at the TECHbar, and gave some great suggestions for apps that can help with productivity, collaboration and efficiency.

Another great seminar I took was "Branding: How it Makes You Money." Being that Blackbird is a boutique firm, it's often relationships that bring in business, but branding is the bridge that we have between our relationships and client experience. It reinforces the permanent mark that we want to leave on clients and a refresher can never hurt.

The thing I was most pleasantly surprised about was the President's Gala / Hall of Fame Awards. Through a bit of networking and general conversations, I got the sense that the NAACS was more than just a meeting place. For some, it seemed like a family reunion and the speeches at the Gala solidified that ideal. Getting the opportunity to have this serve as my introduction to the industry was very enjoyable and I'm looking forward to seeing what next year's conference has to offer.

—Michael Leahy