Joseph Mast: 2011 International Auctioneer Champion
“Now he’s the tops in all the land”
‘You’d find him at the local auction barn.’
The story of Joseph Mast and his meteoric rise within the pantheon of American Auctioneering begins in the humble setting of a northeast Ohio dairy farm. Born to Jon and Rhoda Mast, Joseph grew up with his older sister Rachel and younger brother Jonathan as the 7th generation to live and work the land. When the dairy farm was sold and Mast graduated from high school his father suggested auction school by bringing home a Missouri Auction School brochure.
“The only time I went to auctions was when I took the cattle up to the sale barn and dropped them off,” recalled Mast when speaking of his early auction experience. “I was intrigued by Steve Andrews (OAA Hall of Fame Auctioneer). He was my mentor and I spoke to him about school and the business. I don’t want to say my career was by chance but it was not a career I had planned on doing as a youngster.”
After returning home from Missouri, Mast went to work with Andrews and any other auctioneer who needed a hand. Initially Mast’s focus was estate, chattel and real estate auctions like those he was familiar working during his apprenticeship.
“I watched Steve Andrews conduct lots of auctions and I thought it would be good if I could just get folks to start calling me to do those auctions.” Mast recalled. “I soon found out there was a lot more to it than just selling at the auction.”
‘Gotta make my mark and be an auctioneer.’
Mast’s introduction to the auto auction business came while he was spreading manure. Mast was atop an IH 1256 when auctioneer John Kline called and offered, “They need a ringman in Detroit, Michigan tomorrow. I will pick you up at 4 in the morning if you want to go.” Mast was hired the next day as a regular ringman and then auctioneer and Mast began his association with the sale of automobiles at auction.
Mast has regularly worked as many as six auto auctions a week though he now has a more diversified auction schedule. More than working the lane Mast moved into a leadership role at his local auto auction. It was Chad Bailey, the general manager of the Akron Auto Auction that put Mast in charge of all the auctioneers at their regular auctions. This raised Mast’s status both in Ohio and around the auto auction circuit as not only a great bid caller but also an important part of the larger industry. Mast attributes his success in this managerial role to understanding the egos of auctioneers but also supporting them and giving them the tools to effectively do their work.
‘His fame spread out from shore to shore’
In 2004 Mast entered the Ohio Bid Calling Contest and set himself on the trajectory to become Ohio’s latest International Auctioneer Champion.
“In 2004 I placed either second or third and I was upset that I didn’t win.” Mast related. “When I got in the top three it was in my mind however that maybe I could win.”
That notion proved correct when in the winter of 2005 Mast returned to the OAA convention and won the contest.
Three time world champion auctioneer, Paul C. Behr used an analogy that recalls Mast’s days on the dairy farm to describe his winning chant, “As an auctioneer, his chant has a rhythm you could dance around the room to and his voice has that smooth and rich tone everyone loves to listen to. Smooth as whipped butter.”
“Bob Fry was at that 2005 OAA convention and he gave me an application for the NAA and he paid for my first year of membership,” Mast fondly remembers. “He said you ought to go out and experience what the NAA is all about. He didn’t mention the contest but when I filled out the forms for the national convention I completed the International Auctioneers Championship portion as well.”
Mast made the top 15 in the Men’s division of the IAC in San Diego, California. That taste at the top not only wetted Mast’s appetite for more but it gave him exposure to national auction firms looking for young, talented auctioneers. Mast place 2nd in 2008 and 2009 and 5th in 2010 before being named the 2011 Champion.
Mast enshrined his journey to the top by having the numbers 2-2-5-1 engraved on his championship ring. The 5th place finish was extremely important to Mast because after two 2nd place finishes the 5th place finish lead to some soul searching. Mast questioned his progress and his ability to achieve his goals. Mast credits that reflection and the results of it for allowing him to be more comfortable and relaxed in 2011 and finally entering the winners circle.
Mast acknowledges that competing in the IAC, attending the NAA Conventions and completing the Certified Auctioneers Institute were accelerators for his success in the auction industry. Mast’s philosophy on bid calling is to conform to the crowd you are selling too. Bidders need to understand the auctioneer and his or her increments to build confidence and comfort in the auction. Mast focuses on using language that induces a sense of a bargain in the minds of the buyers or confirms that the buyer is obtaining something of real value for his bid amount.
‘He had all he could do and more’
Mast continues to sell at the Akron Auto Auction and manage that staff of auctioneers. He also sells at Flint Auto Auction in Flint, Michigan. Formally focused more on auto auctions Mast currently enjoys a high profile and well rounded auction calendar that include selling at the nationally televised Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auctions, Yoder and Fry Auctioneers, Williams and Williams Real Estate Auctions and Fasig-Tipton thoroughbred horse auctions.
Mast’s increasing focus is on growing Real Estate Showcase Auction Company which he owns and operates with Andy White. The northeast Ohio firm boasts five offices, fifty agents and 11 of those agents also work as licensed auctioneers.
“For the first 10 years of my career I said yes to anything and everything that came along.” Mast stated. “In 2009 I conducted 324 auctions. Going forward I have decided to hone in on those things I like the most and that are the most profitable.”
The paring down on travel has allowed Mast to focus on a young and growing family and local business growth though superior service and attention to clients both large and small.
‘He’s the best of all the auctioneers.’
Mast’s fellow auctioneers and past champions offer consistent praise for Mast and his poise and presence on the auction block.
Justin Ochs, a fellow 2011 IAC contestant that works the block with Mast at Barrett-Jackson stated, “His crisp clear tones, and perfectly timed inflections tend to create frenzied bidding. He’s developed a selling style that is rhythmic, clear, and engaging all with a completely original sound.”
Business Partner Andy White focused on Mast’s presence, “No matter if he is selling classic cars at Barrett Jackson or a challenging piece of Real Estate at home, his poise never changes. His professionalism never sways and he can deal with any situation or client with a calm, common-sense, business attitude.”
2006 IAC Champion John Nicholls sums up the comments of many in the auction industry when he offered, “I was so proud of Joseph. It’s been very gratifying to watch him develop as a bid caller and a person. I know that the IAC Championship has been a goal of his for a long time, and I was thrilled for him and his family. In addition, Joseph will make an excellent ambassador for the NAA and auction industry.”
At only 31 Mast intends to continue to refine his business interests and projects while focusing on being a good husband and father. Mast and his wife Marie raise their three children, Emma, Mattie and Micah, in a beautiful home overlooking the rolling hills of Holmes County, Ohio. There are many chapters left to write on Mast’s career and many more millions of dollars worth of property to move across the auction block. For now, however, Mast is focused on present commitments and enjoying his year as champion while sharing his experience with auction groups across the country.Justin Ochs, CEO
Diamond Ochs Enterprises
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