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Auctioneers Give Back

Dave Webb and Kevin Borger have a lot in common. They are both auctioneers, they both attended MNU and together they recently gave the university a significant gift that will support student scholarships. Webb’s firm, Webb & Associates, handles the sale of all types of real estate and personal property throughout the Midwest. Borger, who works with Webb, is a champion auctioneer and bid caller, and holds the 2009 World Championship. He is also a past Kansas and Idaho state champion and is currently vice president of the Kansas Auctioneers’ Association (KAA). Webb is also a past vice president and president of the KAA.  

Kevin Borger, Dave Webb and President David SpittalLeft to right: Kevin Borger, Dave Webb and President David Spittal

Recently the two teamed up to help the university with a significant real estate sale. Through Webb & Associates they marketed and sold at auction the nearly 1,400 acres of prime farmland donated to MNU from the Edgar and Maron Moore estate. The firm handled research, advertising, marketing services, hall rental, and more. The event generated excitement throughout central Missouri drawing 125 attendees, 30 pre-qualified bidders and an online audience of 200. The September 13, 2016, sale culminated with proceeds of $4.1 million, all of which will benefit MNU because Webb and Borger chose to donate their sales commission to the cause.

“It’s a very significant and meaningful gift,” says David Spittal, MNU president. “I’d say our unique relationship with these nationally recognized auctioneers led to MNU realizing the best possible outcome from the land sale.”

Webb says it was a natural thing for him to do because he learned about giving at an early age.

“My mother and my uncle often said, ‘we make a living by what we earn and we make a life by what we give,’” Webb says.

Interestingly Webb had a special tie to the land he was selling for MNU. Edgar and Maron Moore, were friends of Webb. Webb and Edgar served at the same time in the Kansas State House of Representatives. They remained friends and in the later years of Edgar’s life, Webb would drive Edgar to the capitol. Webb also knows the Thompson family who farmed the land Moore donated to MNU. So at the auction, Webb relayed stories about the families, making their tie to and love for the land more personal. This technique is common in Webb’s auctions.

“I like for the buyers to understand more about the lives that are involved in the sale,” he says. “It’s not just about the number of productive acres of land, it’s not just about the money. I want them to know who owned it, why it’s being sold and what it will do for the people receiving the money (in this case the university).”

There is more to a sale than the auction itself, Webb adds. Hours of research at the court house and the US Department of Agriculture office starts the process. Once all the details about the property are gathered, a minimum of four to six weeks of advertising and marketing is required. Webb advertises nationally, regionally and locally. An integral part of the marketing includes walking the whole property to photograph it. Webb uses handheld and drone-mounted cameras to capture the best images. This kind of process proved helpful to MNU because originally administrators thought they would offer the property for sale in the spring. Webb suggested that this kind of property and crop in central Missouri would look its best in September. So the sale was set for that month. This also allowed the Thompson family to continue farming the land for this crop season. Webb says marketing the property for two months prior to MNU’s sale generated great interest in the property.

“I’m confident we received the best price possible for this property,” Jon North, vice president for university advancement says. “I’m extremely grateful to Dave, Kevin and the whole team of professionals.”

Webb has a long history with auctions and fundraising at MNU having been part of the university’s cattle auction that was popular in the 1970s through 90s. But when that event began to decrease in popularity, Webb encouraged university leaders to consider a new kind of event.

“Dave Webb was key component in encouraging us to start President’s Honors,” says North.

The annual gala which supports student scholarships has raised more than $2.5 million since its inception in 2012.

Humbly, Webb insists he simply planted a seed about creating an event that appeals to a broader audience.

“I knew there were better ways to generate more interest and donations,” Webb says. “Kevin (Borger), Jon and their team have done a great job with it.”

Borger is also a long-time auction supporter of MNU. In fact, he learned his trade, in part, at the Autumn Auction. The son of an Iowa pastor, Borger had a dream to attend auctioneering college. At 16 he was asked by the late Harold Olson, then director of admissions and alumni, to assist with the Autumn Auction, and he’s been calling auctions for MNU ever since. Borger’s vocation as a pastor eventually brought him back to MNU to be assistant to the president for church relations. It was in this position that he learned of the land gift that needed to be sold and suggested to Webb that they handle the sale and donate their commission.  

According to Borger it is unusual for an auctioneer to donate his or her commission to the organization selling the land, but he says Webb didn’t miss a beat, and agreed at once.

“They worked for months to prepare for the sale,” Spittal says. “Dave Webb and Kevin Borger love MNU and their generosity and hard work made the difference. The gift of their commissions gives further evidence of their commitment to the university and its mission. We are so grateful for the contribution of their professional skills and their remarkable generosity.”

Webb and his wife, Wendy live in Stilwell, Kansas and attend Church of the Resurrection. Borger and his wife, Beth live in Overland Park, Kansas, and attend College Church of the Nazarene. Borger boasts 15 family members (including his son) who have attended MNU.

For more information on giving to MNU, visit www.mnu.edu/giving

 

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