Hi, my name is Gary Hanna. I was born in 1958 in Oxbow SK. The question put forward to me was, “how did you get into auctioneering?”. Well, this is my story.
I was 10 years old when I went to my first auction sale—it was Septs Auction Mart in Leduc, Alberta. I certainly enjoyed the burgers! The sound of the auctioneer, Herb, impressed me the most. When I was in the bleachers a cow came into the ring. Herb sold the cow for $100. I turned to my Mom & Dad and asked how did the auctioneer get paid? They explained he got 10% of the selling price. That’s easy math—he made $10 in less than 15 seconds. Well, I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life! From that day forward I went to auctions and I practiced every day. Finally, in 1977, I went to auction school in Lacombe. The next few years I chased auctions and tried to get a job. It wasn’t easy. There were not a lot of auction companies and they did not need anyone.
Finally an auctioneer by the name of Wes Spencer gave me the opportunity to work part time. I offered to work for free just to get some block time. After the interview Wes asked me if by any chance my Dad was Jim Hanna. Of course he was so Wes told me to get that SOB to call him. I didn’t know what to do so I told my Dad what happened. He said well let’s go see that SOB. I didn’t know if I was in for a fight or what. Turns out the two old dogs were friends and glad to see each other!
My first auction with Wes was on a Saturday. I got there early and I worked the floor all day. Wes and Jack Parsons sold all day long. I was so impressed with them—boy, did I have a long way to go just to be half as good as them. At the end of the day and I was about to leave when Wes called me into his office. I thought he was going to tell me I was done, but that wasn’t the case. Wes slid some cash to me. I told him no, that I had told him I would work for free just to get block time. His words to me went as follows: “I am going to give you your first lesson in the auction business—if a man works for you, pay him.” Well, I have lived my life by his lessons and for being honest and to always be fair. Although Wes was not my dad he was, and still is, my mentor and friend. So thank you, Wes.
Over the years I have owned a few auctions and worked for a few. I have worked for Wes Spencer and Allmart Auctions, but I owned Cougar Auctions, Jenco Auction and was partners with Andy Osman in Osman Sales & Liquidation. When Andy sold out from Osmans I purchased his half of Osman Sales and Liquidation and started Gary Hanna Auctions. After I started GHA Sid Braaksma and I had a chance to buy a repo company. After some time Sid sold his half to me. I know he got involved just to help me out, so thank you, Sid.
Well, that brings us to today, 38 years later. I know, just another over-night success! In closing, I thank God for my talent and opportunities, my wife & kids, Lee Flavell, Wes Spencer, Sid Braaksma, my sister Gailyn, and the rest of my family and dear friends who have all been there for me my whole life. Without them who knows where I’d be today. So for that I say to them thank you and I love you all. God bless.