Great Plains Realty-Auction Sells It All 7/11/14 07/11/14 12:26:29 AM
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|As owner of Great Plains Realty-Auction Co., Randy Fleming is carrying on the Fleming family tradition. His father Dean and two partners founded the company in 1964.From Big to Small
Great Plains Realty-Auction Sells It All
Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
The name Fleming has become synonymous with auctioneering. Inducted into the National Auctioneers Association, Dean W. Fleming, CAI, worked in the industry for 43 years, before he passed away in 1996. A graduate of Iowa State, he was the former owner of and instructor at the Nebraska Auction School, and held a variety of leadership positions, including President of the Nebraska and National Auctioneers Association.
His son, Randy, carries on the Fleming family tradition, as owner of Great Plains Realty-Auction Co. The company was founded in 1964, by Dean and two partners. But tragedy struck – one partner was killed in a plane crash; the other died from a heart attack – and in 1983, not long after graduating from Certified Auctioneers Institute in Bloomington, Indiana, Randy took over the business.
During the last three decades, Randy has auctioned automobiles, trucks, real estate, personal property, farm equipment, and more.
“In the last 20 years, we’ve sold between $50 and $60 million worth of vehicles,” he said. Since 1999, he has had a contract with the City of Omaha, to auction off surplus machinery, such as dump trucks, as well as stolen and impounded vehicles from the Omaha Police Department impound. (Just to put this into perspective, according to the web page for the Omaha Vehicle Impound Facility, every year approximately 10,000 vehicles are towed by order of the Omaha Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department. More than 2,800 vehicles find their way to a public auction, and Great Plains Realty-Auction Co. is the one making sure that everything runs smoothly.)
“Once or twice a year – when the items are declared surplus – the City has an auction,” he said. And then typically every Saturday at 10 a.m., the City offers vehicles for auction from its impound lot.
“Some of the vehicles run; some don’t.” And buyers don’t know in advance which it is. Also, some of the vehicles have keys; some don’t. The auctions are open to the public.
The next surplus annual auction on Fleming’s calendar is the Douglas County Surplus Auction, which begins at 9:00 a.m. on August 16. It will be held at the Douglas County Garage located at 156th and West Maple Road. Fleming is expecting to auction vehicles, trucks, office equipment, cameras and video systems, mowers – the typical and not-so-typical mix.
One might not think that the auctioneering business would undergo much change over the years, but that’s not true. As in most industries, the biggest change to occur is related to technology.
“More people want to do this online,” he said. “Ten years ago, it was mostly live auctions. Now, most auction companies are computerized. We use a local company for our online bidding services.”
That said, he still values the personal touch. “I really enjoy working with people,” he said. “All kinds of people. I feel a real sense of satisfaction when the auction runs smoothly; when everyone goes home happy.”
Even after more than three decades in the industry, Fleming still finds his job interesting, because every day brings a different challenge.” For instance, one day he might be auctioning off sheet music, like he did last month at the 25th Anniversary United Methodist Men’s Scholarship Auction in Lincoln, and on another day, he might be auctioning off corvettes that sell for $30,000 to $40,000.
Today, he oversaw the Omaha Public Schools Auction, during which attendees bid on everything from treadmills to stoves.
One of his most memorable auctions, he said, was for equipment owned by a recycling center that went out of business. “We were hired to liquidate their assets,” he said. The biggest dollar item? A cardboard bailer that went for about $175,000.
During the last three decades, Fleming has auctioned automobiles, trucks, real estate, personal property, farm equipment and more.
Why might someone use Fleming’s services? He explained that throughout the years, the auction method of selling has been the most positive way to liquidate large amounts of merchandise at the highest possible price. Also, the scope of merchandise that one can sell at an auction is limitless, and a good auctioneer can liquidate large amounts of merchandise quickly and effectively at minimal expense to the seller. Fleming can and has done it all – settling estates, dissolving businesses and moving and liquidating surplus inventory.
Fleming enjoys giving back to his community, and he has done that by establishing endowments through the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation, the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation and the Methodist Hospital Foundation.
In addition to serving in various positions with the United Methodist Men organization, he was past president of the Nebraska Chapter of Certified Auctioneers Institute and past Vice President of Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska. Along with being a Certified Auction – Institute Graduate, he holds a Nebraska Real Estate Broker’s License.
For more information about the Springfield-based Great Plains Realty-Auction Co., go to gpsold.com or call Randy at 402-210-4885.