If you don’t know the name Dick Friel, well then you simply need to re-evaluate how much money you give to charity, because it’s not enough. There’s a small number of A-list auctioneers in this town, so if your event was any good, you had about a 1 in 3 chance of seeing Dick and Sharon Friel at the mic.
The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Mr. Friel has passed away at the age of 76. I had the pleasure of working with him and his wife on the Cure Autism Now Auction back in the early 2000′s. He was a genuine professional, with a jovial smile and demeanor that was all about business – the business of making money for charity.
I was naive to how auctions worked when I first saw him prepping. He asked for the attendee list and list of items. He then ran through his mental rolodex as easily as I remember baseball stats. ”Oh, Mr. Brown loves vacations. He’s good for $1000 every event so let’s save this Italy trip and focus on him.” “The Jacobsons would go nuts for this necklace, but they always leave by 9:00. Let’s move it to Item 3.” “I know Mike and John are Pearl Jam freaks. Let’s get a bidding war on that studio session and then convince Eddie to let them both in.” From a marketing perspective, it was a thing of beauty to watch. And the winners were always the charities.
Farewell, Mr. Friel.