Chad Bailey Leads National Auto Auction Association

Chad Bailey, President of Akron Auto Auction, was inaugurated as NAAA President in early November during the 2018 Conference in Arizona.  Among the past presidents of the NAAA are several of ServNet's own who have set a precedent for involved, active leadership: Henry Stanley (Carolina and Indiana Auctions), Raymond Nichols (BSC America), and Bob McConkey (the McConkey Auction Group).

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As he spends the upcoming year at the helm of the NAAA, he will be joined by a number of ServNet auction owners, who serve in various capacities with the national association to nurture the health and growth of the industry, lending their expertise and voices to establish policy, explore solutions to common challenges, and consider the innovations that will benefit the wholesale buying and selling process.

Bailey heads a family business founded by his grandfather in 1973.  Born and raised in Canton, Ohio, he earned a B.S. in Mass Communications at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and went on to received his MBA at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.  After college, he returned to Ohio, working for one uncle at the auto auction by day, and for another uncle as a restaurant bartender by night. Out of the blue he received an offer from Hilton Las Vegas to take over its marketing department, an opportunity he declined, realizing that he enjoyed the auction business.  It was a decision that fit. He soon became the auction's general manager, then a minority partner, and acquired majority ownership of the company in 2011.

Early in his auction career Bailey saw the benefits of active industry involvement, which helped him gain leadership skills as well as find solutions to challenges he faced in operating his business.  He credits Dave Wescott with getting him started, when Wescott invited him to participate in a Twenty Group, his first exposure to the industry outside of Akron, Ohio.

"That experience really opened my eyes to the conference world," remembers Bailey.  "I got to meet auction owners from other parts of the country who really understood the benefits of collaboration. Dave and those auction owners showed me how association involvement could directly benefit my business."

Bailey participated in an NAAA-sponsored leadership program in 2011 that was created in conjunction with the Disney Institute, which offers training programs based on the insights and best practices of the Walt Disney Parks and Resort.

"That training was invaluable to me," said Bailey. "It focused on team building and how team members work together by recognizing and drawing one another's strengths. That not only captured my attention, but has stayed with me, and has absolutely helped me become a more effective leader of my own business."

From that first Twenty Group, he hit the ground running and has never looked back. Bailey has been actively serving in NAAA executive leadership for over a decade, first as Midwest Chapter President and then as a member of its Board of Directors.  Leading up to his inauguration as President, he chaired the Safety, Dynamic Leadership and Political Action Committees, and served on the Editorial Committee and the Independent Auto Auction Services Corporation Board.

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"I'm used to volunteering and have always felt the urge to give back, whether it's my local hometown football program or the NAAA." says Bailey. "If you see a problem or the need for change, get involved and do something about it. When they asked for volunteers at those industry meetings, I was the first to walk up there and ask, ‘What do you need me to do?'  I've learned a lot about how things work since that first meeting, and I've kept asking for more." 

In outlining his agenda for the coming year, Bailey places at the top of his list the need for continued emphasis on auction safety. Ever a leader by example, he notes that his own auction employees are among the 36,000 nationwide who are safety certified, and he estimates that a total of 50,000 will be certified close to year's end.

"Just one accident can be catastrophic on so many levels, and it's great to see how many auctions are taking this so seriously," said Bailey.  "As I visited auctions around this country this past year with Warren Claus and Frank Hackett, I observed the passion, dedication and commitment to making auto auctions a safe place to work."

"Auto auctions are prepared for the many challenges that lie ahead as they continue to be at the center of remarketing industry," Bailey states. "Our auto auctions do make a difference, they deliver, and they are led by talented leaders we trust.  We can be proud of the difference we make to the thousands of employees throughout our industry. Our customers have long trusted our member auto auctions as the place to conduct business. In fact, that trust is demonstrated by NAAA auctions having the best year in our 70-year history, selling a record 10 million units. We can't be complacent, so we must work even harder to maintain that trust."

As President of the NAAA, Bailey will also focus his attention on working with members of the association to solve the current shortage of technicians, a problem faced by auctions across the country. 

"There are a lot of great minds in our industry who need to get more involved to help us find solutions to the issues that face us all," urges Bailey. "Great people in our business are doing good things on every level -- from management and marketing, to auction arbitration and standards, to dealer relations.  Those people need to talk, to share their ideas, and to be heard.  My ultimate goal as NAAA President to is connect with those sharp-minded, energetic, passionate people and get them involved, to keep our industry going, and to ensure its continued success."