Auction News

DAA Northwest


CARY, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2016) — There are four core values at DAA Northwest, says Mitzi VanVoorhis, the director of marketing at McConkey Auction Group, of which the Spokane, Wash., auction is a member.

Those are: integrity, excellence, professionalism, and fun.

“These values are listed in order of importance, and learning about them is part of every new employee’s orientation process. As our president Bob McConkey says, ‘We spend way too much time here at work not to have fun!’” VanVoorhis said. “Just the same, having fun should never compromise our professionalism, our commitment to excellence or our integrity.

“Living our core values and working in tandem with our teams while accomplishing goals together produces a certain camaraderie that our customers can feel when they walk in our doors. We are often told by customers that there is a positive energy here at DAA Northwest,” she said.

“They like to do business with us because we do the job right, and also because they feel welcomed and have fun while they are here with us. Ultimately, this leads to stronger customer relationships and more business.”

The culture at the company, VanVoorhis said, is somewhat rare. And that helps set it apart.

“DAA Northwest’s staff is very tightly-knit; many of us work and play together, and we genuinely care about what is going on in our co-workers’ lives. We collectively share a pride in work well-done, and as such, we lift one another up while holding each other accountable for providing excellence in operations and customer service,” she said.

“Another differentiating aspect is our employee tenure. A large percentage of our staff has been employed with DAA Northwest for over five years, and several members of our senior management team have worked together in the industry for more than 30 years,” she said. “DAA’s tenured staff welcomes new employees into the fold, effectively communicating and accomplishing our company’s ‘vital few’ initiatives together.

“I personally have been with DAA Northwest for 16 years, and I am often amazed by my co-workers’ ability to operate like a well-oiled machine. There is no better example of this than our annual Rock & Roll Sale promotion,” VanVoorhis added. “I attribute the initial development of our company’s unique culture to the leadership of Bob McConkey and Greg Mahugh, who founded DAA Northwest in 1992.”

A big part of success for any business in having a healthy workplace is communication, which VanVoorhis called priority No. 1 in managing her team.

“Effective communication is a top priority with the marketing team I lead. I am privileged to work with three highly talented individuals who produce marketing collateral, promotional events and social media for two auction locations and two retail auto body centers,” she said. “Making sure they have the right information to take to the market in a timely manner is critical. Also, making sure they are personally and publicly acknowledged for jobs well done is vital.”

And it’s a two-way street. That is pivotal in keeping morale high.

“The communication I mentioned in my answer above cannot be one-sided. Soliciting, listening to and acting on ideas suggested by my team is an important way to keep morale high. We have weekly staff meetings as well as quarterly off-site brainstorming sessions that have produced some amazing ideas! I trust my team and encourage them to make decisions, which leads to growth and boosts morale,” she said.

Implementing performance appraisals on a regular basis can be crucial in that regard, as well, VanVoorhis said, lauding the human resources team for a “terrific job” in that aspect

“And of great importance is to help my team understand we are part of something much bigger,” she said. “While we are all here to sell cars, ultimately our purpose is to help other people, whether by producing marketing materials that bring buyers and sellers to our lanes, or participating in DAA Northwest’s ‘Bite2Go’ program, which provides healthy weekend snacks to at-risk schoolchildren.”