Hurley receives top honors in dream job

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Matthew Hurley has a plaque and six small trophies for winning awards at a state convention. He was named Auctioneer of the Year in Pennsylvania.

Greencastle auctioneer Matt Hurley took home the top award at the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association 68th Annual Conference and Convention.

The owner of Hurley Auctions, Hurley was nominated by a select group of auctioneers, and elected by his peers. Criteria included excellent leadership, high ethical standards, willingness to share with others, participation in community affairs, and outstanding contributions to the PAA and auction profession. Hurley also received first place in six of the twenty marketing categories. He earned the most awards of any participant at the convention. Judges reviewed several hundred entries in the competition.

The event was held in Harrisburg Jan. 11-15, with over 300 people attending.

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Hurley was shocked to achieve the premier recognition.

“It’s a real honor. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he said.

He especially appreciated the fact that it was professionals in the field who voted for him. In the past, he has also won the bid calling contest, and then  became champion of champions.

His career is in his blood, something Hurley has wanted to do since he was a tot. His dad introduced him to farm auctions, with the boy propped high on his shoulders. As a child, and all through school, Hurley told people he was going to be an auctioneer when he grew up.

Hurley graduated from Penn State University with a degree in agriculture and education. He started in the auction business in 1993 and eventually landed an apprenticeship with Bob Benchoff of Waynesboro. After two years of learning, he founded Hurley Auctions in 1996.

“I’m very fortunate,” he said. “I have fun every day of my life.”

The business, of course, has changed over the two decades. In the past few years, sales have shifted dramatically to online. It is what clients ask for, and draws thousands of lookers compared to hundreds.

“I love live auctions,” Hurley said. “Our real estate auctions are still live, but 98 percent of the personal property auctions are online.”

He keeps his rapid speech pattern sharp, though, even if it is talking to himself while driving. Calling was something he taught himself instead of getting schooled for it.

“The good Lord gave me the talent to talk fast,” he said lightly.

The business

Hurley Auctions has expanded operations with two satellite offices. Marjorie Hartman, an employee who moved south, leads the Fort Myers, Florida office. She has coordinated auctions in California and Kansas for Hurley, as well. Jay Lawyer calls auctions in the Berkeley, W. Va. area. Hurley also owns Legacy Realty.

Hurley Auctions specializes in auctions for commercial, farm, residential, sporting preserves and developmental real estate; and estate and business liquidations of manufacturing and industrial companies, aircraft, medical equipment, farm machinery, antiques and collectables.

Hurley and his wife Shannon have six children. Three are interested in continuing on in the business. They all help out and some have handled online auctions by themselves. He is glad the younger generation wants to take the next step.

Looking at his life, Hurley said, “I consider myself extremely blessed to do what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”