"Talk with the people not down to the people and never tell the guests what you are raising money for, they know. The speakers before already set the stage for that. I let the auction take on a life of it's own, and when it does, it becomes as much a show as an auction. I love it!"
"Maybe emceeing and auctioneering go hand in hand. They do for me anyway. People ask if I'm an auctioneer and I say, I do about 10-15 auctions a year, so I guess I am.", says Tom.
Like just about everything Tom has done in the last 30 years he credits the resort of Waterville Valley.
"I remember we had a big celebrity event going on in the early to mid 80's. It was the Christa McAuliffe Ski Invitational. I had announced the race and was looking forward to hearing Jack Williams (WBZ-TV4 Anchor) do the auction. Well it turned out to be a serendipitous situation for me. We had a big Nor'easter snowstorm going on and Jack either had to go back to Boston or never made it up so I was called upon to do my first auction and it went great. We had a ton of laughs and made some money for education. I remember auctioning off Vice President Dan Quayles cookbook, but there was nothing in it, it was just blank pages. I did have some fun with that one."
Thus began my journey as an auctioneer.
"Some of the more memorable auctions were selling the phys-ed teacher they called 'the coach' for $100,000 at a benefit to raise money for a school. It was wild. I had the audience throwing these long stemmed roses onto the dance floor where 'the coach' and me were hanging. What a night! Like so many auctions, it took on a life of it's own."
"Some of the more entertaining auctions are when there's not a lot of money in the audience. You just have fun and get what you get. At the Sgt. James Noyes Memorial Ski Race one of the most entertaining items is when I auction off a dump truck of mulch, well, it doesn't get any better than that!"
"Auctioned off Michael Bolton's hair at his event. A group of ladies pooled their money to buy it, and then they divided it all up over cheesecake at the table. Oh man! At least it wasn't a group of guys."
"Auctioned off a set visit with Ben Stiller at the Lance Armstrong 'Live Strong' Gala. The bidding bottomed out at $4,000, but I had Ben on stage with me so I kind of put him on the spot every time it stalled. By the end, not only did you have the visit, but also you were in the movie Meet The Fockers! We added lunch, a dinner, an 8x10 color glossy, hotel, air, limo service, you name it. You had everything but a speaking part in the movie, and we came close on that one. I think we made $65,000 on that. Not bad considering it originally ended at $4,000."
"It's all about having fun and making the audience feel comfortable. You get what you get and have lots of fun doing it, that's the recipe.", says Tom.
Auctions Tom has been asked to do: