Jake claims prestigious agency award

Gundagai Elders’ Jake Smith has taken out a prominent industry award by winning the ALPA Agency Award for 2020.

Elders Gundagai agent Jake Smith is the winner of the 2020 Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA) Agency Award, with the prestigious award acknowledging an innovative marketing campaign from an agent with less than 10 years industry experience. 

Jake travelled to Orange for the announcement of the award at the ALPA annual general meeting last Friday. 

The award celebrates unique marketing and innovation initiatives within the rural agency industry. It recognises the hard work of candidates and allows them to showcase their marketing talents. 

Jake was one of six finalists from across three States, with the nomination process assessing the candidate’s expertise, largely focusing on innovative marketing, industry awareness, business relations and ethical behaviour and presentation and elocution – all imperative qualities of a well-rounded marketing professional.

Jake won for his work on the sale of Heavin Farms, four adjoining properties all fronting the Murrumbidgee River, owned by Texans Diane and Gary Heavin, the co-founders of the fitness franchise company, Curves.

The properties went under the hammer at the AuctionWORKS rooms, Sydney, on July 28, selling well above expectation at $18.22 million, with all properties going back into Australian farming hands.

Jake was the Heavin’s livestock agent and became involved with the sale of the property in conjunction with David Nolan from Webster Nolan Real Estate.

This was Jake’s first real estate sale and he conducted an extensive marketing campaign that encompassed a variety of mediums including social and print media.

There were nearly 100 inspections of the property, the majority of which were handled by Jake.

Other finalists in the race for the Agency Award included Jane Alt (Nutrien Ag Solutions, Glen Innes), Cooper Byrnes (AWN Langlands Hanlon, Parkes), Sam Levett (herdonline.com.au, Queensland), Tracey Nisbet (Creek Livestock, Mount Gambier, South Australia) and Mitchell Swain (McCulloch Agencies, Tamworth).

While being very honoured to win the award, Jake was quick to acknowledge the support of the team at Elders as well as heaping praise on his fellow finalists.

“It was absolutely a team effort, not just one person. I am surrounded by good people and the sale all came together with a great result in the end,” he said.

“I didn’t really expect to win. I was reading through the other candidates and they’ve done some great things and really deserve recognition for what they’ve achieved. The likes of Sam Levett whose campaign raised in excess of $300,000 for the North Queensland Farmers Flood Drive in 2019. Everyone that was nominated excelled across a variety of fields.

“I am very honoured to win and a big thank you must go to everyone I work with because the support I’ve received is unbelievable.”

Gary Heavin said a key factor in maximising the sale of his property and minimising the challenges was the involvement of Jake.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Mr Heavin could not be in the country during the sales process, and said selling the four farms that totalled almost 10,000 acres with equipment, livestock and other details was an immense undertaking.

“Jake took on any and all of the challenges. He made sure he was very involved in every aspect,” Mr Heavin said.

“He knew the lay of the land and was instrumental in showing the properties effectively. He understood and could explain the details regarding fertilising and weed control. He knew the homes and other improvements in great detail. He even made sure that the livestock was sold at maximum value.

“We could not have achieved the best outcome had Jake not taken responsibility for so many things in our absence.

“As the founder of Curves, I have worked with thousands of people all over the world and I greatly appreciate people who treat their responsibilities as if they were the owner of those responsibilities. Jake is solution conscious rather than problem conscious. That is a great attribute that will take him far in his career.”  

The Agency Award, now in its 16th year, was inaugurated in 2005 by ALPA and Rural Press Limited, following the untimely death of Mike Nixon, Victorian Stock and Land rural journalist and livestock commentator. 

In recognition of Mike’s involvement with the agency industry, the award was originally created to reward excellence in livestock marketing but has since evolved to incorporate all facets of agency marketing including livestock, property, wool, merchandise, agronomy and insurance. 

Jake was presented with the ALPA Mike Nixon Shield for Excellence in Marketing, $1,000 cash, and a fully paid trip to an agriculture tour of his choosing, compliments of Quadrant Ag Tours and ACM.

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