CLINTON — It’s good to be Lance Schmid right now.
The fast-talking, quick-witted Clinton native has been urging people to spend money since he was 13 years old. Growing up in an auctioneering family, he realized a passion for the job early in life. He also learned to set goals and developed a work ethic to achieve them.
“When I was a freshman in high school, I joined the FFA and they had a statewide award called the Star Agribusinessman Award,” he said. “I told my advisors, Don Prather and Dean Adams, that I was going to win that as a senior. They both just kind of smiled at me.”
During the convention in June 1986, a month after his graduation from Clinton Community High School, Schmid was announced as the winner.
By then, he was starting his own auctioneer service, beginning with small sales and toy farm machinery auctions. He quickly moved on to community and farm sales and learned a knack for trying new things and reinventing his brand.
“I’ve been very fortunate, but I’ve had a lot of great help from great parents, great friends and great family along the way,” he said. “We’ve also had a little help from the good Lord, too. We’ve tried different things, and we’ve been lucky that a lot of them have worked out well.”
Schmid, who has twice placed in the top eight of the World Auto Auction Competition, graduated from the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. The school’s long-time president Paul Behr, who has also tutored Lance’s son, Logan, and daughter, Abbey, calls Schmid one of the top automobile auctioneers in the country.
In 2003, Schmid and his family established Clinton Auto Auction, which remains one of the top public auto auctions in Central Illinois.
“He loves the community,” says Dave Jackson, owner of the Clinton Save-A-Lot store. “He has a lot of energy with everything he does and the ability to see an opportunity and act on it.”
“He has such a big heart,” adds Marian Brisard, director of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. “Clinton is his home and when he does something, you know he is going to put everything he has into it and it will be first class.”
Schmid, 48, appears to have no intentions of slowing down. In the past year, he married and learned he is going to be a first-time grandfather next fall. He and wife Stephanie purchased the property that houses the Clinton Elks Club. The bar area will be leased to the Elks, but the rest will be a wedding/banquet center.
The Schmids named the new business The Abigail, honoring Schmid’s daughter.
“I have a friend through Mecum Auctions that I work with and he told me that he thought that my daughter, Abbey, is the sweetest and prettiest thing he had ever met and that I should name it after her,” he said. “We also asked for requests on Facebook, but The Abigail was easily the most popular. Family is very important to me, and my two kids are both amazing and it just fits.”