May 14

The Municibid Team Celebrates 18 Years of Quirkiness, Innovation, and Growth

In a special episode of the Municibid Podcast, the team comes together to celebrate Municibid’s 18th anniversary and share their experiences, memories, and hopes for the future. Founded in 2006 by Greg Berry, Municibid has become a leading online government auction platform, connecting buyers and sellers across the United States. The company's success is rooted in its commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, and community impact.

Navigating Challenges

Throughout its 18-year history, Municibid has faced its share of challenges, but the team's resilience and adaptability have always shone through. One of the most significant tests came during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jameel noted that “In 2020, when the pandemic hit, I was in my second year on the job, there was an initial level of uncertainty. And also I think just questions amongst all of us as to what direction are we going to take or what are we going to do, or what impact is this going to have? And Greg had come up with this idea where he had this sentiment that don't worry, we're going to ride through this and everything's going to be okay. And we're going to find ways to innovate.”

The team launched Municibid Connect, a free service that connected government agencies with suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE). Greg Berry recalled the team's unanimous support for the initiative, stating, "There wasn't a single person who had any hesitancy or pushback on it. Everybody just agreed that it was the right thing to do." This moment exemplified Municibid's commitment to serving its customers and communities, even in the face of adversity.

The Power of a United Team

Despite their diverse backgrounds and personalities, the team members have formed a close-knit bond. Jackie Blaskovich, Director of Customer Success, shared a heartwarming story about how her colleagues attended her wedding, demonstrating the depth of their connection.

Greg and Jameel at Jackie’s wedding.

The company retreats have been a cherished time for the team to come together in-person. From arcade games to sailboat adventures, there’s never a dull moment during the Municibid retreats. Jackie said, “So my favorite memories are definitely the times that we get to be together and bond. We also spend a lot of that time talking about our ideas for Municibid, which I think is great. It's easier to discuss our ideas when we're face to face and everyone's able to chime in. But also being off the clock and enjoying time together. My favorite thing that's coming to mind is when we went to see Greg and we went to that place that had the game. We played skee ball and all those games. And I had a really great time that night.”

The Municibid team playing Skee Ball at a company retreat.

One particularly amusing story involved a team sailboat outing that turned into a rocky adventure. Jackie recalled being thrown across the boat into the captain, fearing she might go overboard.

The Municibid team on their sailboat adventure.

Despite the chaos, the team emerged unscathed and with a stronger bond, as Jameel noted, "It was, in some ways, a good team-building exercise in the sense that we all somehow survived fear and panic together."

Memorable Moments

From Jameel's humorous story about asking about backhoes on his first day to Greg's chance encounter with a Municibid customer at an Apple store in Las Vegas, these moments have become cherished memories that reflect the company's quirky and niche business.

The team tackles challenges, innovates, and grows together, all with a bit of quirkiness. As Jameel Farruk, Director of Sales, put it, "Our quirkiness is our strength because it allows us to think outside the box." The team's ability to work harmoniously has been a driving force behind the company's achievements.

Innovation and the Future of Municibid

As Municibid looks ahead to the future, innovation remains at the forefront of the company's plans. The team is excited about the potential for growth and the integration of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to enhance the platform and user experience.

However, the team also recognizes the importance of maintaining a balance between technological advancements and personalized service. As Sam Penkacik, Head of Design, pointed out, "Good design shouldn't really be felt. It shouldn't be something that people really notice because you kind of get into the site and it's a tool that's so ergonomic that you're building out of a website that it just kind of fits."

The team's commitment to innovation is matched by their dedication to their customers and mission. Sophie Eden, Director of Marketing, expressed her excitement about the Share Your Story annual contest and the podcast, where she connects with bidders and sellers and learns about the creative ways they utilize the items they've won, showing their impact on communities nationwide.

The team hoping to reel in a shark off the NJ coast at one of their company retreats.

The Municibid story is one of innovation, growth, and community impact. Through the hard work and dedication of its quirky yet united team, the company has become a leader in the online government auction industry, consistently pushing the boundaries of what's possible and setting the standard for excellence. Municibid has not only helped government agencies maximize their returns on surplus assets but also provided countless opportunities for buyers to acquire unique items and give them new life.

This sense of purpose is what drives the Municibid team to continue innovating and growing. As Greg Berry stated, "Municibid offers us as a company endless opportunities for growth, for innovation, and to be able to provide better services or new services and the opportunity to help governments and help buyers."

As Municibid looks to the future, the team remains committed to its mission of supporting local communities and businesses, while also embracing new technologies and opportunities for growth. With a strong foundation built on 18 years of success and a talented team dedicated to making a difference, Municibid is grateful to continue to serve and positively impact communities for years to come.

Transcript »

Greg Berry (0:01 - 1:10)

Hello there, this is Greg Berry, Founder and CEO of Municibid. If you're listening today, May 15th, 2024, then you're listening on Municibid's 18th anniversary. We have a very special episode today featuring my truly amazing management team here at Municibid that I'm incredibly grateful for.

We share some fun stories and memories over the years and share a little peek into what's to come next. Whether you're a government or a school selling items, a buyer, or someone who loves browsing all of the items up for auction on Municibid, our considerable and consistent growth would not be possible without you. I thank all of you deeply for your support of Municibid over the last 18 years.

It's been an absolute pleasure and privilege to serve you. So thank you again, and I hope you enjoy today's very special episode. Join us as we dive into the wild world of government auctions and take you behind the to uncover the cool and unique ways bidders from across America are utilizing the items they've won on Municibid.

Like an ambulance repurposed into a work truck, to a city bus converted into an RV, and so much more. Welcome to the Municibid podcast.

Sophie Eden (1:14 - 1:25)

Welcome everyone to the Municibid podcast. This is a very special episode today where we are celebrating the 18th anniversary of Municibid.

Greg Berry (1:26 - 1:27)

We're adults now.

Sophie Eden (1:30 - 1:47)

Yes, Municibid can vote. So to start off, maybe let's do a round robin of everyone introducing yourselves and how long you've been with Municibid.

Greg Berry (1:48 - 1:50)

I guess I'm the one to start, huh?

Sophie Eden (1:52 - 1:52)

Yes.

Greg Berry (1:53 - 2:18)

Well, I'm Greg Berry. I'm the Founder and CEO. I've been with Municibid way too long.

Well, 18 years. And yeah, I came up with the idea sometime in 2005 and then got it launched in May, on May 15th of 2006. And here we are 18 years later.

Super exciting.

Jackie Blaskovich (2:19 - 2:37)

I'm Jackie. I am the Director of Customer Success here. I've been with Municibid for eight years.

My position has changed and shifted a lot over those eight years. I've pretty much worn every hat here, but I'm excited to be here celebrating 18 years of Municibid today.

Jameel Farruk (2:39 - 2:49)

My name is Jameel Farruk. I'm the Director of Sales. I have been here for a little over six years and I'm happy to be here for our 18th birthday.

Sam Penkacik (2:50 - 2:55)

I'm Sam Penkacik. I just joined this last week. I'm Head of Design.

I'm really happy to be here.

Sophie Eden (2:56 - 3:19)

And I'm Sophie, Director of Marketing. And in August, it'll be my fourth Municiversary here. And I'm very excited to celebrate the 18th anniversary here today with everyone.

So when everyone joined Municibid, did you all know what government auctions were?

Jameel Farruk (3:20 - 3:38)

Yeah, so I actually did. So I've had the pleasure of being really good friends with Greg for going on over a decade. So I've known him since he was a few years into starting the business.

And I had an introduction to it long before I had the opportunity to join the team.

Jackie Blaskovich (3:39 - 4:04)

I definitely didn't know anything about government auctions when I joined Municibid. I remember reading the job posting and it just seemed up my alley. And I had always wanted to work in Center City, Philadelphia at the time.

I was in like my mid-20s. I learned very quickly what government auctions are. And now I would consider myself a little bit of an expert at least.

Greg Berry (4:04 - 4:05)

I know you're an expert.

Sam Penkacik (4:06 - 4:13)

Yeah, myself, I didn't know they existed. So it's definitely new to me.

Sophie Eden (4:13 - 4:25)

Yeah, I didn't know either. And it's been really interesting to learn more about them over the years and all of the crazy things that sell at government auctions.

Greg Berry (4:26 - 5:21)

When I started it, I was not an expert in government auctions at all. I'm not sure I've attended one or bid on anything online. But there weren't that many options online at the time, very few, especially in the Northeast and Pennsylvania.

And in 2006, the state of Pennsylvania passed this Electronic Bidding Law Act, which basically enabled municipalities and governments in Pennsylvania to be able to sell their surplus and no longer needed items online, as opposed to just sealed bid or a live auction. I've been to many auctions. I love auctions.

But it was never a government auction that I attended. So I'm more of a technology guy. And that was my background.

And I'm a problem solver. And I saw the problem that governments were having and set out to solve that using technology. It just so happens it's in online government auctions.

Sophie Eden (5:24 - 5:28)

Aaron, what's your favorite item that has sold on MinasBid?

Jameel Farruk (5:29 - 6:02)

Well, for me, it's not one particular item, but I will say this. I grew up in a family that was musical and I grew up in a family that flew around a lot. So anytime we come across the item categories of aircraft or musical instruments, I'm always excited to see those.

I think the first aircraft that I had the opportunity to sell was a really cool Cessna. And we sold everything from guitars, to pianos, to drums, to hand percussion instruments. So those always get me pretty excited to see them on the site.

Jackie Blaskovich (6:03 - 6:27)

For me, it was the 1970s Volkswagen Beetle bug that was a police car. That one was one of my favorite ones to see listed and watch the auction. And I had been to a couple of conferences while that auction was live and I would have it up on the iPad at our booth, which caused a lot of people to stop and talk to us just because they were interested in the item too.

Greg Berry (6:29 - 7:14)

Yeah. For me, the thing that I enjoy most is seeing the items that we're not expecting to come across MinasBid. So with governments, we see a lot of vehicles and heavy equipment and tools and IT equipment, things like that, kitchen equipment and gym equipment.

But it's the rare items like a two and a half carat diamond ring or a whole set of classic arcade games or sailboats, things like that, that just are kind of interesting, unique items. But more importantly, I find what people do with the items they win to be more interesting than the items themselves. And we have plenty of stories of those.

Sam Penkacik (7:16 - 7:43)

I haven't been with MinasBid long enough to see many items sell, but I think my favorite one I did see was, I think the first time Greg ever showed me the site, we saw on the homepage two vintage Blues Brothers statues, just life-size, sitting. And it was actually being sold in a town that was very close to where I grew up in New Hampshire. So that was pretty entertaining to see.

Did not expect to see that.

Sophie Eden (7:44 - 8:29)

One of my favorite items is the hovercraft that we sold the other year. One, I was surprised that a fire department had a hovercraft. I was like, what's, like a fire department is going out and buying a hovercraft?

But that wasn't the case. It was donated to the fire department. They used it in water and ice rescue and decided to sell it because of the maintenance and kind of specialty training that was involved in using it.

So that was one of my favorites. If you could go back in time to your first day at MinasBid, what advice would you give yourself?

Jameel Farruk (8:31 - 9:16)

Well, we all get the opportunity to laugh at an embarrassing story about me, but I guess I'll just go ahead and share it with our audience. My first day at MinasBid, I'm hired to sell. And, you know, growing up as a kid, I had my Tonka trucks in the sandbox, but I wasn't that familiar with heavy equipment.

So we were selling all different types of heavy equipment and listing them. And at one point, we kept talking about backhoes. And I said, what is a backhoe?

And I don't think I'll ever live to see the end of that. But yeah, that was probably something I should have known before the first day on the job. And I'm glad that everybody took it in stride and didn't chastise me completely for it.

Greg Berry (9:19 - 9:46)

My regret is not having a video of that. I'll never forget that day. Oh my goodness.

It was good. But you have since quickly learned all about the government equipment industry or the heavy equipment industry. Oh, for sure.

That's great.

Jackie Blaskovich (9:47 - 10:20)

I think the advice I would give first starting out, Jackie, is to not take things personal. I work in support. So most of the conversations I have are bitters that may not be very happy with something that happened.

And there's been quite a few unhappy emails sent my way over the years. And I used to get really bothered by it. It used to really upset me.

But I learned to separate their anger at the auction or the item, not me. And I no longer take it personally and get upset about it.

Greg Berry (10:21 - 10:25)

Yeah, that's definitely good advice. Sophie, how about you?

Sophie Eden (10:27 - 11:26)

The advice I'd give to myself back on my first day would be to start talking with bidders and sellers earlier. So we started the Share Your Story annual contest and we would get in written entries. And the second year was when I started doing the Zoom call interviews.

And that's something that I wish I'd started earlier because it's been amazing to hear from our customers, how they're using their items, how creative they are, and their ingenuity with repurposing items that I never would have thought could have been used that way. So I've really enjoyed doing the podcast too and getting to talk with our bidders and sellers and wish that I'd started it earlier.

Greg Berry (11:26 - 13:06)

Yeah, there's so many nuggets that we get from real conversations with our buyers and sellers. So I'm glad we got the podcast off the ground finally after a few years of discussing it. And the Share Your Story is one of my favorite things.

But advice that I would give myself going all the way back to 2006 is probably to move faster with it when I started. It was very hard because we had zero sellers and zero buyers and it's a double-sided marketplace. So it's like, what side do you try to go after first?

And it became pretty apparent and pretty clear that we needed to get the governments on board faster. And it's a tough sell when, one, they've never heard of government auctions, most of them. They were mostly putting an ad in a paper, a legal ad, and having people come down to the town hall and fill out paperwork.

And so taking their items and selling them online was completely new to a lot of governments at the time. And so maybe getting out there and telling the story of Municibid and what we're trying to do and what problem we're solving and get more municipalities on faster, I think, would have been an advice. So just kind of move a little faster than I did.

And probably, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs or founders have the same advice, is to hire sooner. So for many years, I was doing this all by myself with the subcontractors. And just to have another full-time person on it as well really allowed us to speed that process up.

Sam Penkacik (13:07 - 13:12)

And I just started working here last week, so I probably would just tell myself, you're going to have a good week.

Greg Berry (13:12 - 13:16)

That's always good advice. Just have a good week.

Sophie Eden (13:18 - 13:21)

Aaron, what's your favorite Municibid memory?

Jameel Farruk (13:23 - 14:51)

I think it's hard for me to pick just one. I would say that one of the most funny or interesting things that's happened to me recently is I was at a conference and a gentleman who was part of the maintenance team for the facility we were at walked up to our booth with a photo of me on his phone. And at first, I looked at it and said, what is going on here?

But he informed me that he was a listener of the podcast. He's purchased stuff through us and he's a fan of the service. And that was really exciting to see.

But I think about the memories that shine out to me the most are the ones that we are kind of out of the office together as a team. I know a lot of people will use this term as a cliche that they have their work family, but it truly feels like that to me. One of the highlights for that or a good example of that is Jackie's wedding.

I had such a good time. And in my whole career, I've never been so close to the people that I work with. Jackie and I were pretty much strangers when we started or when I started working here.

And fast forward a few years, and I'm sitting at a dinner table with her parents at her wedding. And I think that's just a really cool feeling. It speaks volumes to the family that we've created with one another.

And those memories we make as a family outside of what we do as a profession are typically my favorite moments.

Jackie Blaskovich (14:53 - 15:37)

I was going to say almost the exact same thing. My favorite memories are the times where we have the opportunity to be together. When I first started working here, we were in an office every day together.

And then everyone started moving away. So my favorite memories are definitely the times that we get to be together and bond. We also spend a lot of that time talking about our ideas for Municibid, which I think is great.

It's easier to discuss our ideas when we're face to face and everyone's able to chime in. But also being off the clock and enjoying time together. My favorite thing that's coming to mind is when we went to see Greg and we went to that place that had the game.

We played skee ball and all those games. And I had a really great time that night.

Greg Berry (15:38 - 15:39)

What about the sailboat?

Jackie Blaskovich (15:40 - 15:45)

No, the sailboat was a terrible time. I hated the sailboat.

Jameel Farruk (15:49 - 15:58)

For those listeners who weren't there, it was the seas were angry that day. And I was surprised this boat didn't capsize. So Jackie, I don't blame you.

Jackie Blaskovich (15:59 - 16:12)

It threw me into the captain at one point. I was launched across the boat into the captain. I thought for sure I was going overboard.

Greg just kept laughing and saying, you're fine. Trust me. You trust me.

Jameel Farruk (16:12 - 16:22)

Well, it was a good, it was in some ways a good team building exercise in the sense that we all somehow survive fear and panic together without a scratch.

Greg Berry (16:27 - 18:25)

That's funny. To kind of add on to Jameel's story about the meeting, the maintenance guy at the casino, I was in Vegas for a conference and I had to go to the Apple store for some reason to get a phone or something. And the sales person there, we were just kind of chit chatting, small talk, and he asked me what I did.

And I told him that I run this online auction site for governments. And he's like, Oh, which one? And this was back in 2009 or 10, maybe.

And so we were still relatively unknown and pretty small. And I'm like, well, you, you never heard of it, especially out in Vegas. We had nothing happening on the West coast or much outside the Northeast at the time at all.

And so I, I, you know, I said, yeah, you've, you've never heard of it. And he's like, well, what's it called? And I said, it's Municibid.

He's like, I know Municibid. I'm like, no, you don't. And he's like, no, no, no.

He's like, I'm a customer. And I'm like, how are you a customer? Do you live in Vegas?

And he's like, yeah. And I'm like, well, what are you, what are you buying? And he's, and he basically started saying how he buys these computers from these towns in Massachusetts and then, you know, kind of resells them, fixes them up and resells them.

And so that was pretty cool. That was the first time I looked them up and he was actually a customer. And, uh, it was the first time that I've run into anyone kind of in the public that I didn't know who knew about Municibid.

So that was all that, that story will always stand out. And there's been a few times since, you know, when I am in Pennsylvania, I have seen people wearing our Municibid t-shirts out in the wild. So that's been kind of cool.

Um, that's happened a few times. So that's just kind of a really neat, uh, moment, you know, when, when we hear people that were not expecting to talk about Municibid talking about Municibid.

Sophie Eden (18:26 - 18:36)

That's so cool. Especially out in the wild, like you weren't at a conference or, you know, other kind of like business event. That's pretty awesome.

Greg Berry (18:36 - 18:50)

I mean, and that's coming from conferences in Pennsylvania that are municipal conferences and people not hearing about us. So having someone, some random person in Las Vegas, tell us they know about us was pretty cool.

Sophie Eden (18:51 - 20:24)

A lot of my favorite memories are our company retreats. Um, I always remember the first time I got to meet you all in person and that was amazing. It was so cool to meet the people I'd been working with for a year, um, get to like hang out with you all, um, and like really enjoyed our dinners.

The arcade was a blast, um, and playing chess and, uh, the games that we played together was a lot of fun. Um, and there's definitely, you know, like Jameel, um, has said something about having that downtime all together, um, that brings out, you know, new ideas, uh, for what we can bring to the table at Municibid. And it's been a pleasure at the company retreats.

I was just looking at some photos from last year's retreat, you know, Jackie and I at the battle of the Valley of the Forge. Yeah. So, and it's so cool going to Pennsylvania and like seeing that history, um, you know, being out here in the Idaho and seeing, uh, the birth of the U S and all of the Liberty and colonial names and historic landmarks, um, out there in Pennsylvania.

That was really awesome. I really had a blast with both of those retreats and our epic chess matches for the age.

Greg Berry (20:26 - 20:31)

That's what we should record and put You got, we can, we can, we can live stream those next few.

Sophie Eden (20:35 - 20:40)

I did just buy a physical, like chess board to start practice.

Jameel Farruk (20:41 - 20:45)

Oh, nice. Oh, I'm coming for Greg.

Sophie Eden (20:49 - 20:54)

What's a municipal moment that you all are most proud of?

Jameel Farruk (20:55 - 23:06)

Well, um, in 2020, when the pandemic hit, I was in my second year on the job, there was an initial level of uncertainty. And also I think just questions amongst all of us as to what direction are we going to take or what are we going to do, or what impact is this going to have? And Greg had come up with this idea where he had this sentiment that don't worry, we're going to, we're going to ride through this and everything's going to be okay.

And we're going to find ways to innovate. But one of the things that he had kicked around was instead of focusing just on the business, what can we offer to the general public that will be useful and help in this moment in time. And we came up with this concept called municipal connect, where we were taking our government customers and connecting them to our public customers who are able to help provide PPE quickly without having to go through some of the issues that were happening within the supply chain.

And it was a service that we provided completely free of charge. It was just a public service that we decided to do. And when that was kicked around the team, there wasn't a single person who had any hesitancy or pushback on it.

Everybody just agreed that it was the right thing to do. And it was in that moment where I really looked around the group of people that I'm working with the organization that I'm a part of, and had this internal moment that, yeah, these are, these are the people that I want to be around. This is the type of team that I want to be around.

And it doesn't matter what we do moving forward or where we go moving forward. I know this team is always going to bound together and find the right way and, and the ethical way to do it. So that was a really proud moment for me that, you know, there was, there was, there was nothing really financially to be gained from that.

There was, there was nothing that we were hoping to get in return outside of just doing what we felt right. And everybody seemed to be completely on the same page and mindset of what that meant to do the right thing. So that's a moment that I'm always extremely proud of.

Jackie Blaskovich (23:07 - 24:02)

That's a tough one to follow up. It's very true. I feel the same way about this team.

And that is something I definitely look back at with pride. I think it's hard to think of just one moment where I've been the most proud here at Municibid and what this team does and how we're helping all of these government agencies bring their, their proceeds back into their towns to turn it around and improve things in their own neighborhoods. And we get to see that impact every day.

I think every time I hear from either a selling agency or a how whatever was sold or one has impacted their life and made a difference for them. I feel really proud that that's service that we provided and we helped them get to every time a customer says that we really helped them in any way. I feel really proud.

I'm always really proud to be part of this team and this company. And I love watching the impact we have.

Sophie Eden (24:04 - 25:11)

I completely agree. Like, I'm very proud to be at Municibid and the mission that we have of supporting municipalities and supporting communities and businesses with the ability to get the items that they need, either to put back in service at a nonprofit or other organization locally in their community or into their businesses to help them grow. I'm really proud to be here and very grateful to work with such an incredible team.

As far as like most proud moment, like personally as a project, I'm proud of the revamp of the Deals Near Me email and getting more personalized item recommendations by state and categories to our bidders, but definitely proud to be here at Municibid.

Greg Berry (25:12 - 25:16)

And Sam, I know you're only a week in. What are you proud of so far?

Sam Penkacik (25:18 - 26:10)

Yeah, honestly, I'm proud of being able to join this team. I mean, so far just there's nothing ever been a team like I've been working in this field for about, you know, 11, 12 years at this point. And as a designer, I've joined so many different teams over those years.

I've worked for large companies like Delta Airlines, small companies like startups that are growing really fast. And it's really cool to be able to join a team and immediately feel the chemistry and just immediately feel the group's mutual respect that they all have for each other and just see how easily everything flows. And as soon as I joined the team, it was pretty evident why there could be a company that has been around for 18 years and they've had some constant, just steady growth.

It just seems like a very healthy environment. And that's a team that I'm definitely proud to be a part of now.

Greg Berry (26:12 - 29:09)

Well, I'm proud of everyone's answers because it was essentially the same thing that I was thinking and or feeling. The team that we have here is our unfair advantage. There's this concept in business, and I guess that's going to be applied to life of, you know, kind of the unfair advantage.

Like, what is it about you or your company that, you know, is unique to you? And for sure it is our team. I know that there are many, many companies that do not have the level of, you know, sort of that, it's kind of a cliché when you hear, Oh, you know, we're, we're a family.

But as Jameel says, we actually are. And it really, it really does feel like that. We're very close with each other.

We work well. You know, we're pretty much all to the point, and this will probably be Sam in a few weeks or months, that we can finish each other's sentences. And, you know, we're on the same page.

We're all kind of moving in the same direction together. And that's something that I'm really proud of that has just come together. And I feel very, very lucky to be able to have such an incredible team that works together, communicates well, that has each other's backs when needed.

And that's the kind of atmosphere that we're trying to provide here or achieve. And in addition to that, to follow up with Jackie, Jackie's point, there's a ton of moments throughout the years that, that I'm proud of, but it's the, the little wins that I'm, I'm most proud of. So, you know, not only for us as a company, you know, when we won the State of New Jersey contract, that was a very proud moment.

And, you know, that that's, you know, a big moment, but it's those little wins for governments that sell something for way more than they were expecting. And that can fund new projects or buy new equipment that they weren't expecting to be able to do. When a buyer finds an item that they're, they've been really looking for, or, you know, they have a project in mind and they finally find the, you know, the perfect item for that.

Or they take an item they've won and they convert it to some new use that prevents that item from going into a landfill. There's so many of those little, those little moments over the last 18 years that I think about, and that's, you know, that's really why we exist. It's to, to allow the public to know that these auctions items are available and for the governments to have an easy way to get these items out to the public and just make it a lot more convenient and efficient for everyone.

And then the end result of that are these stories that we get to hear from governments and from the bidding public.

Sophie Eden (29:10 - 29:14)

And what are you most excited about for Munisibid's next 18 years?

Jameel Farruk (29:15 - 31:13)

I think as an organization, I'm constantly excited about the way that we move and the things that we achieve. And we're not a team that misses its mark often, if at all, at most points. So just like most businesses and most organizations, we have goals that are in the short term, goals that are planned far in advance, and we do a great job hitting all of that.

I think that one of the things that I always think about is, my dad always used to tell me that one of the things I should always practice and hone as a child that would help me as an adult is managing or creating or having foresight into something. And that's something that I think we've done really well as, as an organization in the sense that we're often in the products that we build, the services that we provide, the way that we think about things, leading our industry. And it's always extremely flattering to see our competitors following that and implementing the solutions that we build into their own.

So if I look down the next 18 years, I think the thing that excites me the most is really, who will we continue to become? We're always evolving and growing into something new, not just as a company, but as individuals. So that excites me a lot in the sense that, what are the possibilities that are out there?

For me, it feels limitless. And I know that we have a team that is constantly focused on staying ahead rather than falling behind and having that foresight to not just be successful for itself, but to make sure that our customers are getting the best value and the best service that they possibly can. So I'm constantly excited about who we are becoming and who we will become.

And I think those possibilities are limitless.

Jackie Blaskovich (31:15 - 32:30)

I really just answered this the other day when I recorded my personal podcast episode with Sophie. Really what it comes down to is just to see how much we continue to grow. In the eight years that I have been here, it has been exponential growth from my first day to today, which my eight years was just yesterday or the day before.

So it's interesting to look back at how much our company has changed and how much innovation we've had in the last eight years that I've been here. And in the next 18, 20 years, I can just see this company continuing to embrace technology and use it to our advantage, continue to find new ideas and bounce them off each other to perfect them, continue to listen to our customers and what they need and what they would like to see happen on our site and implement that. I'm also excited.

We had Sam join our team and I've had the opportunity to kind of go over some of the web pages that we currently use and our bidders rely upon and how some of them are just a little bit too hard to digest when you first look at it. And I'm excited to see Sam's ideas for how the site can change and improve unfold as he continues to work with us.

Greg Berry (32:30 - 34:08)

There's a lot of opportunity in technology, especially now with AI. And it's really, I'm excited about is how we can blend the personalized service that we provide and that we will continue to provide in an age of AI. And so how can we both stay ahead of the curve when it comes to that and when it comes to being a human run organization and yeah, just finding that line.

So, I think in the next several years, obviously technology continues to move at an infinite pace or an exponential pace. And there's a lot that's coming at us like a fire hose that we have to sort of sort through and see what we can use, what is a distraction and really invest in things that will allow us to provide better service, more services, continuously improve the product, the website, and just in general provide a much better continuously improved customer experience over the years. So that's really, when I start thinking, okay, what's five, 10 years out look like, that's really where I see us is being able to navigate quickly and intelligently through this nonstop fire hose of technology that's coming at us.

And I'm excited for that.

Sophie Eden (34:09 - 35:40)

Like Jackie, I'm also very excited for these new ideas that we've been bouncing around and welcoming Sam aboard and the fresh ideas that he has for Municibid. Super excited about all the changes going on and where we're going to improve and take Municibid to the next level. I'm also very excited about the podcast and on like a personal level, connecting more with bidders and sellers and hearing more and more of their stories and what they're doing with items and how they're making a difference in their communities.

I think it just is highlighting the mission of Municibid. And us as a team, we feel like a family. And I think we've got like a secondary extension family with our customers and being able to support them in their daily lives, whether it be getting a car that's a daily driver to getting equipment that they need for their business.

So I'm very excited about all the things happening here at Municibid and for where we're going to go next in the next 18 years.

Greg Berry (35:41 - 35:46)

And Sam, you're a week in. What's the next 18 years look like for you?

Sam Penkacik (35:48 - 37:28)

I already have that planned, just 18 years ahead, always have that planned. So I'm going to say coming in, Municibid, it's already a proven success of a platform. So there's a lot that I'd love to change in terms of dialing it in and just polishing things up and making things easier and more understandable for the users.

But for the most part, I don't want to come in and change something that's not broken. So Municibid already works great. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I would love to just come in and help remove any things that are in the way of users just having an easy time using it. And as far as other things that we're working on as a company, I'm really excited for these other projects that we have just moving forward and other things that are innovations or just other areas to work on. But yeah, just all the different things that we're working on, I'm excited to move forward, finding ways just to make things easier for our users to get through and use the site.

Honestly, some of the best design advice that I was given by a mentor early on is just good design shouldn't really be felt. It shouldn't be something that people really notice because you kind of get into the site and it's a tool that's so ergonomic that you're building out of a website that it just kind of fits and they're able to do what they want to do without really noticing the website being in their way. So just trying to remove barriers and make things easier for everybody, I'm excited to do that and be a part of this team and do that.

Sophie Eden (37:29 - 37:38)

And to wrap this episode up for today, if you could describe MunisBid in one word, what would it be and why?

Jackie Blaskovich (37:39 - 38:19)

Innovation. I think that's the word that we have said a million times throughout this conversation. It is what started the company when Greg saw a problem with how items were being sold for far less than they were worth for these government agencies.

And it was innovation and technology that created this company and it is what continues to make our company great is that we are always finding new ways to help resolve the same issue. And as we see roadblocks and obstacles come up for our customers, we find ways to fix it and improve it and make it better. So when I think of MunisBid, innovation is the first word that comes to my mind.

Jameel Farruk (38:20 - 40:05)

So I'm going to go with a word that's probably not the best word to describe us, but it's something about the company that I love, which is quirky. You asked Sophie earlier, did we know about government auctions before we joined? And I think that question speaks to volumes of how we are such a niche business.

Most of my friends I talk to or the people that I meet are in the legal profession or they work in medicine or in finance or in IT. And the moment I say, this is what I do for a living, inevitably the response is sort of, huh? I didn't know that existed.

So I think we are in this niche and quirky business. But what I also think is really great is that we are in many ways a quirky team. I think if you put us in a panel and expected a stranger to think that all of us would be this close and friends, given how diverse of a group we are, they would be shocked.

But our quirkiness is our strength because it allows us to think outside the box. It allows us not to subscribe to any level of normalcy or complacency. It allows us to throw ideas that are completely wild out there and then discuss them together to drill down.

Why do those ideas come up? What do they mean? And what are the merit in the things that we are conceiving and thinking?

So I like that we are quirky. I think that quirky is a very strong suit of this organization. And it speaks to the general nuances and weirdness of the business that we're in.

But it's a weirdness that I embrace, love. And at the end of the day, it's a business that provides a lot of value. So that's what I think.

Sophie Eden (40:06 - 41:05)

I've got two words that kind of bounce around. One is family. I really believe as a team, we're a work family.

And like a family, sometimes we butt heads. But it's all in the interest of we all love Munis a bit and want to see it continue to flourish and become the best version of itself that it can be. And so the other word that comes to mind is growth.

I think it's been phenomenal, the growth that we've had. And that's something that I see continuing to happen on the business level, but also for each of us on a personal level. I think all the ideas and the new projects that we're working on together challenge each of us to grow personally.

And I really love that. And I think we're all thriving at this company and in that environment because of that.

Sam Penkacik (41:07 - 41:15)

I feel like this is a really hard one, especially being so new, but I guess I'd say harmonic almost. Harmony.

Greg Berry (41:16 - 41:19)

By the way, I would expect that answer from the guy with the guitar.

Sam Penkacik (41:21 - 42:29)

Yeah. I was like, what's a good word? Just looking behind me, trying to think of some word.

But yeah, every company is made up of individual people and every individual person is kind of like, if you think of it like a circle on a Venn diagram, each person is one of those circles. And every company needs people that kind of overlap and everybody adds something different that's important, but we also can overlap and take over and help support each other in that Venn diagram. And especially when it's a small company, every time I worked at a startup, each person has to wear a lot of different hats.

It's definitely very true that in a startup, you have to be a jack of all trades. And it's really cool already to come in and see how much overlap and mutual support everybody has for each other so that somebody's working on this one thing and there's constant input. We'll talk about it, bring it up, and it's very casual and just flows naturally.

So I would say there's a lot of harmony in that, where there's all these different people that are overlapping in this Venn diagram, but it's all very harmonic the way it works together.

Greg Berry (42:30 - 44:23)

My word is opportunity. And, you know, Municibid is an opportunity for everyone. It's an opportunity for governments to get a true market value for what they're selling or exceed a true market value for what they're selling.

It's an opportunity for them to have a more efficient way of selling their used equipment and surplus goods. It's an opportunity for buyers to find items that they've been looking for that might be harder to find or a unique item or really the opportunity just to even know that these government auctions exist. And then, you know, Municibid offers us as a company endless opportunities for growth, for innovation, and to be able to provide better services or new services and the opportunity to help governments and help buyers, you know, by improving the experience that we're providing.

So, yeah, I think that, you know, opportunity is probably a summation of all these other words that we've shared with respect to just what is available. And, you know, it really kind of does feel like there's endless opportunities. And, you know, again, as a smaller team, we're able to try different things faster.

We don't have the big bureaucracy of a larger company or red tape that would hold us back. We can try things. We can learn quickly.

We can fail quickly and adjust and adapt and continue to move forward as a team.

Sophie Eden (44:24 - 44:38)

Absolutely. It's a very exciting time and historic moment for Municibid. Thank you all for joining the Municibid podcast all together here.

This has been a lot of fun.

Greg Berry (44:38 - 45:29)

Yeah. Thank you all for everyone listening, especially our team here. I just really appreciate it.

I appreciate each one of you for all your contributions, all your hard work, the late nights, weekends, you know, driving out to conferences and working conferences on a Sunday and be willing to at any time drop what you're doing to be able to step in to help someone else on our team. I just feel incredibly grateful and lucky to have such an incredible team. And I really mean that.

And I'm excited to see what happens in the next 18 years. There is so much possibility and again, opportunity that that really keeps me excited. And people ask me how, you know, like, are you still into it?

And I am. And a large part of that is the team that we have here from the team.

Jackie Blaskovich (45:30 - 46:08)

Just know that we have that same gratitude for you. I've been here a long time. My life has changed a lot in the years I've been here.

And the one thing I can say is that as a boss, Greg is always there for you. He is always listening. He cares.

Even just right now, what's going on in my personal life is I'm graduating college and Greg is flying across country to come to my graduation, something he supported me in. And that has been time and time again, no matter what's going on in our professional and personal lives, we have a boss who truly cares and allows us to have a true balance to our work and personal lives. And we are grateful for you.

Thank you.

Sophie Eden (46:08 - 46:16)

Awesome. Thank you all. Happy Municibid anniversary.

I'm sure we'll see you all again on the podcast in the near future.

Last Updated on May 22, 2024


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