Morgan Riat


"When I was four years old, I attended my first auction. The auctioneer had a big smile on his face and appeared to genuinely love his job. Intrigued, I thought I might love it, too, and I decided then and there to become an auctioneer.

Because there’s no formal educational requirement for this profession, my training came from talking to other auctioneers. At the age of 7, I began to help at auctions. By age 12, I was able to run the microphone and auctioneer a sale. I observed seasoned auctioneers, taking note of their best traits and incorporating them into my own unique style.

Now, as an auctioneer at Foundation Realty in Manhattan, I manage a crew of six to ten people depending on the auction size. I oversee the sale from start to finish, and handle the bookkeeping as well. I love planning the auction and making sure it’s executed smoothly, so my seller, bidder and crew all go home with smiles on their faces. Ultimately, I want to build a legacy in the auctioneer business that’s long lasting and successful.

For anyone considering a career like mine, preparation begins in high school. Be sure to take agriculture classes — these classes improved my ability to problem solve, and without problem-solving skills, it’s impossible to be successful at running your own business. Other important classes are English, Spanish and technology. If you’re going to work with the public, it’s important to use proper English and to have a large vocabulary to communicate with sellers, buyers and other professionals in the industry. I didn’t take Spanish, though I wish I had — I often find myself working with Spanish-speaking clients. As for technology, it allows you to promote the efforts of clients efficiently, so it’s important to be comfortable using it.

In addition to the educational advice, I also have a few general recommendations. First, listen to the old dogs when they take a minute to explain something to you, because it’s a gift and you might not get that chance twice. Second, don’t let setbacks discourage you. You’re going to fail in life; just make sure you fail with grace when you do. Finally, build a good work ethic. Make sure you put in the hours you need to be successful, even if it means giving something else up. The end justifies the means."