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Hemmings Auctions: Meet the Team

Published in blog.hemmings.com

With the pending launch of Hemmings Auctions and the opening of our submissions beginning next Tuesday, July 16, we have promised a white-glove level of attention for our customers, an unprecedented level of service in an online collector-car auction. You can’t give white glove service without someone to actually wear those gloves. Let us introduce the members of the Hemmings Auction team.

If you offer a car on Hemmings Auctions, your primary point of contact will be with our Listing Specialists, each of whom is a veteran of the Hemmings customer support staff, as well versed in the lingo of the collector-car hobby as they are in knowing what is required to properly take care of a customer. 

Nicole Deuel, Listing Specialist

A part of the Hemmings team since 2013, Nicole loves to share what makes the Hemmings experience so rewarding for her and her customers: “We’re real people in Vermont. There’s zero to minimal wait with our responses to our customers’ questions and concerns. Our phones and emails are always readily available to be answered with whatever question or concern they may have. We’ve got them covered in a timely manner and we have plenty of resources and knowledgeable staff to address any given situation at hand.” Nicole also says that she has “given countless advertisers my personal cell phone number to send me pictures of their vehicles to be advertised.” We didn’t ask her to—she just did it to get the job done.

One of those customers was a gentleman “cooped up in a hospital bed on a weekend due to an unforeseeable illness and knew the office was closed until Monday but needed answers ASAP,” says Nicole.”He texted me and I answered all of his questions while sitting at one of my children’s little league games. The bonus is that I have a new-found friend that I speak with regularly and not just to discuss business. We now know each other on a more personal level. I don’t have to call him and say, ‘Hey, it’s Nicole from Hemmings.’ I call him, he sees the number on his caller I.D. and he answers with ‘Hey, Nicole! How are ya?’”

Nicole is enthused to be a part of the Hemmings Auctions teams: “Hemmings’ loyal readership is huge and promising!” she says. “Our customer base is no joke. They’re serious people in the collector car market looking to buy the classic car they want or deserve. Our resources and customer support will make it that much more seamless to happen. The possibilities are endless!”

When we asked Nicole what her dream car would be, she didn’t hold back: “Being a mother of two young children, I would love for our family’s daily driver to be a Ford Fairlane with some fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview.” Without the kids and wanting to punch the throttle, she might go for a Dodge Challenger.

Chris Drayton, Listing Specialist

A nearly seven-year veteran of the Hemmings headquarters in Bennington, Chris believes that the human element at Hemmings it second to none. Chris should know as he “basically grew up with the company” as his mother has been part of the Hemmings family for 25 years.“I think just the fact that we’re real people, actually trying to help the customer, is what sets us apart,” he says. “A lot of other places you call, you get a machine, or at least a machine runaround until, after an hour, you finally get a person on the phone.” We can’t promise we will pick up every single phone call on the first ring, but it’s certainly our goal, and Chris’s too. 

How does Chris go the extra mile? “From taking ads in person, to helping some customers figure out about what their vehicle is worth with the resources I have,” he tells us. He is also excited about the introduction of Hemmings Auctions: “The personal attention we’re going to provide will set us apart. I doubt the competition can do that to the extent we’re planning on doing it. Plus, we’ve been around much longer than any of them.”

Chris’s “cost no object” dream car? A Nissan Skyline GT-R or a Jeep Rubicon. One for the highest on-road performance and the other for the highest off-road performance.

Raina Burgess, Listing Specialist

Part of the backbone of Hemmings customer service and classified teams since 2014, Raina knows exactly what the appeal of Hemmings is all about. “I feel we are all down-to-earth people just trying to help people promote and move their cars,” she says. “We treat people with respect and are honest with them.” What more can you ask from the team? Well, according to Raina, there is no such thing as above and beyond. “From placing ads for sellers that don’t fully understand computers to reminder calls for our monthly advertisers, taking ads in our lobby, or helping with the overall experience, it’s not above and beyond, it’s just what we do to help.

As part of the inaugural team at Hemmings Auctions, Raina knows that her role as a Listing Specialist is integral to its success, but she has a pretty good idea of how we will distinguish ourselves. “We already have a good relationship with the people involved in the auction and we all make a good team,” says Raina. “The biggest thing we have is communication with everyone involved, from co-worker to bidder to sellers—we are involved!”

Raina’s dream car: a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. Is there a Mopar thing going on with the customer service team at Hemmings? 

Allen Boulet, Listing Specialist

Allen takes great pride in the customer service work he has done at Hemmings these past six-and-a-half years as a Classified Advertising Representative, saying, “It is satisfying to help people who are passionate about cars find that special vehicle they have always wanted.” Moving to the auction team, Allen believes “Hemmings Auctions will be different from the competition because it will be managed by real people here in the U.S. who care about cars and have solid relationships with our customers.

Allen is also rightfully proud of the times he has gone above and beyond the call for customers, telling us a very relatable story: “I have an advertiser who started out needing a great deal of technical support. He was also always very last minute about getting me the description and photos I needed so I could get his ads placed online in time for the next issue of Hemmings Motor News. On several occasions, I managed his ads from home on weekends and even when on vacation because of the wonderful relationship I had developed with him.  It is relationships like that that make working at Hemmings special.” We love how Allen does what has to be done to take care of a customer, but, please do us a favor and get your submissions in on time and let Allen take his vacation—the guy doesn’t know when to stop helping!

When Allen’s ship comes in, it will deliver him a 1971 Dodge Charger R/T. It looks like our Listing Specialists most definitely have a thing for high-performance Mopars. We swear we didn’t coach them on the answers, but we may want to think about getting one across our digital auction block pronto. I can think of at least three bidders in Vermont!

Mary Brott, Customer Service Mediator

Any Hemmings reader who has a had a problem with an advertiser in recent memory and needed help from our end has probably dealt with Mary, who has spent the past 17 years of her two decades at Hemmings dedicated to handling disputes. “I facilitate dispute resolutions between parties, defuse situations, calm down upset callers, collaborate with advertisers and customers, offer guidance and suggestions for resolution or compromise, and refer parties to the appropriate consumer or legal agencies if needed,” she says, as if it’s all in a day’s work. Well, for Mary, it sometimes is. 

Mary readily recalls helping a reader who had hired a transporter from an ad in Hemmings. When his car didn’t arrive on time and he couldn’t get ahold of the company, he called Mary. During that conversation, he had a heart attack and Mary promised to follow through. The customer got the medical help he needed and Mary was able to determine that a storm had knocked out power and phone lines near the transporter. The reader got his car a few days late, but in perfect condition. Not every situation is of life-and-death caliber, and not every dispute involves a battle, but Mary has been there for us through them all. 

How much does Mary love our readers? Well, when push comes to shove and an unscrupulous or even fraudulent advertiser makes its way onto the pages of our magazines and we find out about it, Mary leaps into action, doing what she can to make sure our customers are taken care of, going so far as to fire advertisers—the bread and butter of this business—if she has to. She is a big part of why our reputation remains as strong today as ever. While not dedicated to the Hemmings Auction team, Mary will offer a backstop if the situation calls for it, her knowledge of the business and mediation skills available as needed.

Mary knows exactly dream car she would want to see in her driveway: a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible. She even has one already picked out: 1970 Oldsmobile 442

Jennifer Sandquist, Advertising Director

A member of the Hemmings team for 14 years, with the last two and a half heading all of our classified and display advertising, Jen has been an integral part of the Hemmings Auction team from its inception and build out, bringing her extensive experience and knowledge of the collector-car market to the conversation. She also knows what sets us apart as a leader at Hemmings. “Our customer service is special because we really are real people in Vermont, and we are surrounded in the office by amazing, knowledgeable car freaks, who help us understand cars, which in return helps our customers sell cars and parts.” That’s right, folks, we’re car freaks and we fly our freak flag proudly.

With her deep experience at Hemmings, Jen has had firsthand knowledge of what it means to “go above and beyond for everyone every day,” in her words. “Just today, we had another example, helping someone write an ad, helping her get a decent asking price for the car by using our resources and comparing it to others on our site. We walked her through placement on Hemmings.com and loading the photos. That’s just normal customer service at Hemmings, every single day. Then someone called looking for a speedometer gear for a Chevy—they all think we sell parts here at Hemmings! I looked it up in our database and gave them the number of an advertiser that sells the right part. There isn’t much we don’t do for our customers to make sure our advertisers are selling cars and parts. Jen sees this standout attention to customers’ needs continuing with Hemmings Auctions: “I think that our auction is going to be real cars, real people, real prices. Hemmings sellers and buyers have been asking for years for us to do this, they are ready!

Despite being a diehard “truck person,” Jen’s dream car is a Porsche 911, “any trim, any year—I wouldn’t be picky.”