Supporting the NPCA Foundation Silent Auction through a donation has positive, long-lasting effects on the industry. And it’s fun, too.
By Matt Werner
If you could easily promote your business, would you? What if doing so also offered you the chance to generate business with a new customer and develop the future workforce of the industry? Seems like an easy decision, doesn’t it?
The NPCA Foundation and PCI Foundation silent auction, now held at The Precast Show, is a fun way to raise money for both organizations and support their missions for growing the industry. The auction has grown in recent years – both in donations and money raised – as more companies have become involved.
Ashley Runion, Haarup North America’s marketing manager, said Haarup has donated to the auction every year as a way to support the Foundation.
“We normally try to donate something that is local and supports a small business from our city/state,” she said. “All items are always things that we support, have tried or personally love; such as wine or craft items. We just want fun items that people will enjoy using while also being able to showcase our home state.”
For Amy Burnett of Barbour Concrete, being involved with the NPCA Foundation is personal since her mother, Daneen Barbour, was a big supporter of the Foundation, which awards a scholarship in her honor.
“When the auction came up as a way to support the Foundation, we jumped on board,” Burnett said. “You’re supporting the Foundation and getting something for your investment.”
Richard Isaacson, owner of iwi Concrete Equipment Group and a former Chairman of the NPCA Foundation Board, said his company has donated items ranging from tickets to concrete buckets and larger items.
“By donating product, we open up the door to a potential new customer,” he said. “It’s a win-win for the buyer and the seller since they get the equipment, and we have a new customer.”
Paul Bilson, Hyundai Material Handling’s manager of dealer development and national accounts, said his company decided to donate a short-term rental of a new forklift for this year’s auction.
“Since we keep a decent inventory of new, large forklifts, we were able to provide something of high value for the auction that most NPCA members could use,” he explained. “The result was good for everybody – the NPCA member received something of value, we were able to demo our product to an interested customer and most importantly, NPCA received a great silent auction donation.”
The lift caught the eye of Tindall Corporation’s Joel Sheets.
“Our team’s operations manager had reviewed the lift on the show floor, and we decided this would be a great opportunity for a month-long review of new equipment,” Sheets noted. “Buying items like these from the auction is a great way to both support the Foundation and try new products that can help your business.”
The experience opened the door for Hyundai and Tindall to do business together – allowing Hyundai to get a new customer and Tindall to fill a need. Bilson said Hyundai was also able to meet other NPCA Members by being involved with the auction and has consequentially began building more relationships.
If nothing else, participating in the auction often leads to a conversation. Runion noted many times the winner will ask questions about the vineyard or local items they donated. For Isaacson, the camaraderie of participating in bidding is another fun part of the auction.
“Sometimes, it’s not even about the value of the item but just outbidding your friends,” he said. “It brings people together. Say I see something, but I don’t want my friend to get it.
“I’ll go bid on it just to mess with them.”
This jovial interaction was something Burnett mentioned as well since precasters have a reputation for being playfully competitive.
“It’s a fun way to get involved,” she said. “The bigger the auction is, the more fun it is for people. There’s that competitive nature among precasters, so it’s really a good way to build support.”
All noted how easy it is to take part in the auction and encouraged others to do so.
“Whatever your budget will allow, just make it fun and interesting or something of value to the member audience,” Bilson said. “You might also ask members what they would like to see on the auction block.”
The money raised helps build upon the work both Foundations are doing, encouraging more students to become involved with the industry. Runion said Haarup will continue to support this important work as much as possible because it gives students the opportunity to learn more about precast and apply that knowledge within the industry.
“Getting involved and staying involved with the industry means more than buying some equipment or tickets,” Isaacson said. “If a student sees our name and remembers us, that’s the most valuable part of it to me.”
Matt Werner is the managing editor of Precast Solutions magazine and is NPCA’s communication manager.