NAC 2020: Past winners – where are they now?

NAC's past champions - where are they now?

11 February 2020

When you speak to past winners of the REINSW Novice Auctioneers Competition (NAC) there’s a common theme. All of them credit the competition for putting them on the map as an auctioneer.

So what exactly motivated these novices (at the time) to enter NAC, and what are they up to now? We spoke to five previous winners to find out.

Bryce Bevan, Auctioneer – auctionWORKS. NAC Winner 2019.

Bryce Bevan first entered NAC in 2018 and while he didn’t win his heat, he says he got a lot from the experience and was driven to come back.

“In 2019, I decided to give it another go and competed in the Eastern Suburbs, CBD and Wollongong heats, and finally took out the latter to gain a spot in the 2019 State Final,” Bevan says.

“Following each heat, the judges were very generous with their feedback and gave me something different to work on each time, so when the State Final came around all the pieces of the puzzle came together.”

Bevan says the competition also provided a fantastic networking opportunity.

“During the competition, I met Jesse Davidson from auctionWORKS who I shadowed a couple of Saturdays and met up with for training in the lead up to the State Final.

“He was very generous with his time and since winning the State Final I have joined auctionWORKS and am continuing my professional development with Jesse and his team.”

Oliver Burton, Auctioneer – Cooley Auctions. NAC Winner 2018.

Oliver Burton drew on his acting training from NIDA when he competed in NAC in 2018. It was his first-ever auction.

“I thought that auctioneering would be a brilliant use of my skills and the novice comp was a great opportunity to show the industry what I could do,” Burton says.

He describes the experience as “brilliant” despite leaving his auction ‘lot’ at home!

“I stayed for the briefing, raced home in the car and made it back just in time to go onstage. That’s not a mistake you make twice!”

“[NAC] literally gave me a was directly from my win at the State Final that I was offered a position with Cooley Auctions and I haven’t looked back.”

Michael Garofolo, Auctioneer – Cooley Auctions. NAC Winner 2017.

Michael Garofolo was a novice wanting to kickstart his career when he entered the Sydney East NAC heat in 2017 and went on to win the final.

Garofolo says everyone is supportive at the events making it a great experience.

“Entering the competition is a good way to work out if you’ve got what it takes.

In the heats, you have the least amount of pressure. Even though it’s a competition it’s not do or die,” Garofolo says.

He encourages anyone who may be “sitting on the fence” when it comes to entering the competition “to just do it!”.

“There’s no negative aspect to it. Only positive. You’ll get a lot out of it.”

Garofolo says NAC is responsible for putting him on the map and setting up his auctioneering career. Cooley’s Auctions were hosting the Sydney East event and after Damien Cooley saw him compete and win his first heat, he offered him a job.

Garofolo went on to work at Cooley’s and is now a partner after three years working there.

Jake Downs, Auctioneer – auctionWORKS. NAC Winner 2016.

Jake Downs was an actor and had just started some training with auctionWORKS when it was suggested that he enter NAC.

Downs says he was told there was no better way to break into being an auctioneer than to win the NAC.

Before the competition, he hadn’t called a real auction but after taking out his heat he put in some serious practice.

“After the heat, I began calling. By the time of the NAC Finals, I think I had called six auctions,” he says.

Downs describes the competition as a “lot of fun” and a way of building confidence.

“It was nerve-wracking to put yourself out there and compete, but the accomplishment of finishing was worth it.

“The NAC gave me the confidence to contact clients as their potential auctioneer, the confidence to be able to call myself an auctioneer.”

Downs works as an auctioneer at auctionWORKS but still does acting and voice-over work for radio and TV commercials – recently appearing in an ‘El Maco’ ad for McDonalds!

Alex Pattaro, Chief Auctioneer – Ray White NSW. NAC Winner 2013.

Alex Pattaro was just 17 years old and had his sights set on becoming an auctioneer when he competed in the NAC in 2013.

Pattaro says he watched the best auctioneers and worked with a mentor prior to entering the competition.

While he was nervous about competing, Pattaro says the experience was enjoyable and helped him establish his career.

“[The competition] reconfirmed my desire to become an auctioneer. It provided me with exposure within the industry,” he says.

“In the early stages of my career, it gave me confidence that I could conduct and complete an auction.”

Nearly a decade later, Pattaro is now the Chief Auctioneer for Ray White NSW.


If you would like to try your hand at auctioneering, register today and you could be named REINSW Novice Auctioneer of the Year 2020!

NAC heats will be held in Sydney (6 March and 8 May), Newcastle (2 April) and Wollongong (19 May) with the final scheduled for 18 June in Sydney.

Beat 23 March 2020.  Get qualified. Save time and money having your prior experience recognised with Recognition of Prior Learning. Discounts offered for groups of five or more. Learn more.