Auction group's new president reflects the rank and file

The leadership of an association should reflect that group's members.

That's why it is appropriate that Jack Neshe will take over as president of the National Auto Auction Association on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Consider the National Automobile Dealers Association. The NADA chairmanship seems to swing between dealers who run large dealership groups and those who run one- or two-store operations. There's such an awareness of the need to rotate among differing interests and backgrounds that it became notable when there were six straight NADA chairmen from west of the Mississippi. David Westcott, owner of David Westcott Buick-GMC in Burlington, N.C., broke that string in February when he became chairman at the NADA convention.

For its part, NAAA has had a string of sound leaders recently, but they have a similar background. Call it the headquarters syndrome.

Paul Lips, the current president, is executive vice president of operations and finance at ADESA Auctions Inc. He will become the association's chairman when he hands over the gavel to Neshe.

The current chairman -- and president before Lips -- is Charlotte Pyle, who owns Capital City Auto Auction in St. Albans, W.Va., and Mountain State Auto Auction in Shinnston, W.Va.

Neshe: From down in the auction lanes to president of the National Auto Auction Association.

Don't get me wrong. Lips and Pyle brought an extremely informed viewpoint to the task of leading NAAA. They understood the broad issues of the industry across regions and management responsibilities. I've been consistently impressed by them as representatives of the auction industry.

In contrast, Neshe holds a lower-level position: general manager of ADESA Boston, an auction in Concord, Mass.

In my opinion, there's something to be said for NAAA's having a president now and then whose job puts him or her right down in the auction lanes, rather than at corporate headquarters. An association benefits when its top brass includes folks who serve on the front lines.

You can reach James B. Treece at jtreece@crain.com

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