Zack Krone is making the world a better place —
one bid at a time
By SCOTT ROARK
The lights dim. The microphone clicks on. The clamor of excited conversation, clinking glasses and laughter fades slightly. A prominent figure on stage begins speaking—a clear, rapid-fire dialogue that commands attention and generates an undercurrent of excitement as numbers are called out. First it’s a dollar, then $10, then $20, then $50, before accelerating to $100, $150 and $200. The amount increases exponentially.
Zack Krone (TAT ’05) is kicking off another successful benefit auction in his usual style – by selling a plain glass of water to encourage people into the spirit of giving. Sound far-fetched? At the CSUMB Have a Heart for Students auction in February, Krone sold a glass of water for $525. The glass was personally delivered by Krone to the winning bidder seated in the audience and included free refills.
Krone is the owner and operator of California Coast Auctions, an Orange County-based firm which specializes in benefit auctions. Since its inception, California Coast Auctions has raised millions of dollars for hundreds of organizations nationwide. Krone has worked with many high-profile charities and celebrities.
Why does he do it? Krone leans back in his chair at his company’s office, thoughtfully considering a desktop plaque that contains a favorite quote by Oscar Wilde: “It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.”
“There’s a great need for what we do … and I love being my own boss,” Krone said with a smile.
Krone is known specifically as a benefit auctioneer, a big difference from a regular auctioneer. Benefit auctioneers are involved early on in many aspects of the event-planning process, providing input on details such as timing, printed materials and seating arrangements. It’s a complete package – one designed to inspire an environment of inspired giving.
According to Krone, the tools and ability to create this environment came directly from the CSUMB Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department, now known as Cinematic Arts and Technology. The curriculum is hands-on and practical.
“Students had a camera in their hand from day one,” he said. “The lesson at TAT was to push yourself and see what you’re capable of. It cultivated drive and self-discipline.” He cites TAT faculty as significant influences, including Chris Carpenter, Steven Levinson, Benny Ambush and Hiromasa Konishi.
CSUMB’s emphasis on service learning played a role in Krone’s current focus on charity. He volunteered extensively, tutoring children at libraries in Salinas and San Juan Bautista. An avid surfer, he also performed many beach clean-ups while working 20 to 30 hours a week, acting in plays at CSUMB and living in a converted garage.
“I didn’t want to share a room with anybody,” he recalled fondly. “It was a very formative time.”
An impressive career followed. Krone has starred in more than 30 professional theatrical productions and dozens of commercials and guest TV/film appearances. Krone also worked as a production coordinator on TV shows such as “Southland,” “The Middleman” and several pilot productions for Warner Bros., ABC, NBC and Sony Pictures Television.
Becoming an auctioneer was almost a fluke. Krone was working in TV and serving as a master of ceremonies at an occasional fundraiser. One night, the auctioneer failed to show up. Krone filled in and discovered his true calling. Shortly after, he graduated from the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. He’s been looking for the highest bidders ever since.
Married to Dawn, a Chicago native, and back in Orange County where he grew up, Krone is living his passion. His father managed a car dealership. His mother was a nurse. For Krone, show business was always a true calling – and his performance makes an impact in a different way, providing resources to those most in need.
Now, it starts with a glass of water. Perhaps it’s symbolic. Some would call it a simple prop. Regardless, that glass of water can begin a night that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars, driving California Coast Auctions’ goal of uniting commerce and entertainment with charity, schools and nonprofits.
In the end, Krone is helping these organizations help themselves.
The world is what you make of it,” Krone said. “CSUMB definitely taught me that.” MB
More information: cacoastauctions.com
Photos by George Machun