The Williams legacy of auctioneers begins with the birth of John Bradshaw, an auction pioneer who became, as he later put it,
“the originator of auction methods for farm land and city property.”
John’s father, Tuncel, was a Civil War veteran who fought for the Union side and settled into a quietly rural, farming lifestyle when it was time to have a family. John grew up on a farm and quickly learned the techniques of farming, but it wasn’t long before he was drawn to the fast-paced, exciting world of auction.
John’s brother Archie is born. Though he is sixteen years the junior of his older sibling, he eventually becomes a prolific auctioneer in his own right.
John, by now a renowned livestock auctioneer, speaks before students at the Jones School of Auctioneering and Oratory, thought to be the very first auctioneering school in the United States. He tells the students: “The public expects and the age demands that you prepare yourself for a work in which dollars and cents are at stake by those who employ you,” words which still inspire us to this day.
||“...prepare yourself for a work in which dollars and cents are at stake by those who employ you...”
John, having made the switch from livestock to real estate, demolishes all known individual land sales records, performing 36 farm auctions in a single month, opening the floodgates of his business. For the next 20 years, sellers from around the country will flock to John to help them get the best price for their properties.
Archie, already a successful livestock businessman, broadens his repertoire and attends the Reppert School of Auctioneering, setting a precedent for his future son-in-law and grandson, who will both attend this same school.
Sixteen-year-old Tommy graduates from the historic Reppert School of Auctioneering to officially join the distinguished ranks of Williams family auctioneers.
With a degree in hand from Penn State University, and well into a career of national cattle shows and judging livestock, Tommy Williams moves his young family to Colmar, Illinois. There he develops a purebred Angus cattle herd and forms Lowderman & Williams Auctioneers with partner Jack Lowderman.
From offices in Macomb, Illinois, Lowderman & Williams Auctioneers emerges as one of the preeminent farm, ranch and estate auction companies in the Midwest, setting several records in land sales that receive national attention.
Tommy Williams and his son Dean establish Williams & Williams Auctioneers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They make their company’s focus one of specialization, selling large farms, ranches and notable residences throughout the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast.
Williams & Williams expands its focus and creates a private real estate fund that invests in rural properties throughout the United States, completing successful transactions in over 20 states with over $100 million in total sales.
It’s a big year as Williams & Williams conducts several prestigious private owner sales:
• 9 Bar, originally developed by the Cox family outside Houston, Texas, sells for $10 million.
• Woods and Water, the historic William G. Skelly estate outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, sells for $8.5 million.
• World-renowned Arabian equestrian facility L’Esprit outside Louisville, Kentucky, sells for $7.25 million.
• All the real estate holdings of Texas Land Group, LLC, sell for a total of $27 million.
We branch out even farther and open our REO (Real Estate Owned) sales division to provide the nation’s largest banking institutions a means for the disposition of foreclosed property. Our REO division includes all management, marketing and brokerage from start to finish, from security and preservation through to the sale, all on a 75-day timeline from assignment to closing.
It’s another big year as we grow in even more directions. Our REO disposition volume triples from our inaugural year, while we also pioneer and launch a new service called eContracting that allows electronic contract completion at all our auction sites. This year we also deploy nationwide security services to facilitate auction open houses and make them go even more smoothly.
This is the year we explode and go national, first by naming Pam McKissick as our new Chief Operating Officer. We also launch a national strategic brand program, which includes a new logo design and multi-level advertising campaign. On the earnings front, our third-quarter volume sets a new record and our fiduciary sales grow so rapidly that we add full-time General Counsel and Human Resource Director. Additionally, we develop our PRO (Preferred Realtor Organization) to enhance both client and corporate relationships with Realtors®, while our CEO Dean Williams is named as a “Future Leader” by the Mortgage Banking Association.
With national attention comes even more growth as we sell a then-record 1100 properties in a single month, partially fueled by our new capabilities of providing simultaneous on-location and online auctions that allow buyers to bid from their home computers. Our staff doubles and we add more executive positions, as well as sophisticated call center and customer service representatives. During this time we also create ASAP, the Assisted Sales Auction Program, to address lenders’ needs for pre-foreclosure loss mitigation. And finally, our company’s co-founder and Chairman Tommy Williams is named President of the National Auctioneers’ Association.
Our rapid growth shows no sign of stopping as we sell three-quarters of a billion dollars in real estate in one year alone, doubling our volume of properties from the previous year. The median home value of our auctioned properties also rose over 56%, despite declining home values in the market, and we drew in over 28% more bidders per property compared to the prior year. Pam McKissick, founder and CEO, debuts Auction Network the only 24-hour Internet and cable television network that allows viewers to participate remotely in live auctions taking place throughout the world and bid interactively using TV, internet and mobile devices.
In response to market demand we launch our dedicated Commercial Real Estate division to manage the sales of all types of properties.
The first Williams & Williams real estate auctions debut on Auction Network allowing bidders to bid in real time from anywhere in the world against bidders bidding in person at the auction. “Live From The Lawn” auctions with competitive bidding on site and on Auction Network lift high bid performance 9-11% on average.
Dean Williams, co-founder and CEO of Williams & Williams, and Pam McKissick, founder of Auction Network and President of Williams & Williams, enter into a definitive agreement for the formation of WWM (Williams, Williams & McKissick), LLC. The two media and auction executives share ownership and control of all the companies they have grown and developed together over the past six years including Williams & Williams, Auction Network and WWM Exchange.
The company auctions $2 Billion in real estate and builds new auction platforms to sell bulk portfolios and creates an innovative opportunity for investors of all sizes to build their own portfolios.
The company sets a record for sales for the first half of the year and continues to evolve the category of live auctions in partnership with sister company Auction Network. More than 80% of all auctions on site enjoy bidding among Auction Network bidders and over 20% of the high bidders are through Auction Network.
Williams & Williams auctions “The Nation's Smallest Town” - Buford, Wyoming, pop. 1. The auction garners global media attention, including on-location coverage on the day of auction by CNN. Viewers from 46 countries tune in to Auction Network to watch and bid live. The town sells for $900,000.
Williams & Williams launches the Sell Your Home portal – a way for homeowners nationwide to decide for themselves if auction is right for them.
Williams & Williams forms a partnership with international real estate player JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) to hold a series of live, combined online and on-site global commercial real estate auctions.
Williams & Williams is awarded the year’s highest marketing honors in the 2013 National Auctioneers Association/USA Today marketing competition. Out of the more than 800 entries received, Williams & Williams wins Grand Champion, Auction Marketing Campaign of the Year and Best in Show for advertising and public relations.
Founder Tommy Williams is inducted in the Auctioneer Hall of Fame.