?Scary as hell,? was how newly appointed American Numismatic Association executive director Larry Shepherd responded March 7 when he was asked how it felt to take the job.
?It?s exciting,? he elaborated. ?I?m just overwhelmed by the reception I?m getting out on the floor. The dealers seem ecstatic about this.?
Shepherd?s background includes starting coin collecting at the age of 10, being a dealer specializing in commemoratives and other high-end coins for the past 18 years and having solid banking experience in between.
?I can understand the needs and the wants of the collector community and the dealer community,? he said.
Currently the owner of Simco Numismatics and residing in Cincinnati, Ohio, the 59-year-old Shepherd came from Clermont County, Ohio.
He graduated Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in finance.
Shepherd was vice president and assistant to the CEO of the National City Bank of Dayton, Ohio, 1972-1977.
He was executive vice president of Irwin Union Bank and Trust Co., 1977-1989, and part of the executive finance committee of the Columbus, Ind., Irwin Financial Corp.
His numismatic career began in 1989 as owner and president of Shepherd Investment Management Co., Inc., and Simco Numismatics.
Shepherd mentioned that he had already spoken to ANA employees.
?I told the employees the collector community and the dealer community are the reasons the ANA exists.?
He said his operating philosophy would be guided by certain basic principles.
?I?m a very customer-driven person.?
He said everything we do from this point forward would conform to the basic mission.
Would it fulfill the ANA?s goals?
Does it help service the numismatic community?
Does it make financial sense?
His short-term priority is to stabilize the organization.
He said he would ?dig through some of the problems. They have made good progress.
?My first priority is to get the organization stabilized and on solid footing,? he explained.
Longer term he said that it was necessary to put things on a ?pay as you go? basis.
?Once we get the initial changes made, it is necessary to get the organization back on a solid footing.?
To do this he continued, ?I have a somewhat unusual capacity for thinking outside the box. We?re going to manage what?s inside the box.?
When asked why he was giving up a career that paid much more to come to ANA, Shepherd said he had a twofold answer.
?I kicked around the possibility of going back into banking, but you read the financial press and you know what?s going on.?
He said he had turned around a bank.
?Here?s the opportunity to go back into the business world using my management skills.?
But there?s more than just business involved.
?This is a hobby that has meant a lot to me,? Shepherd said. ?I?ve been doing it since I was 10 years old. I grew up in a poor family of seven. I collected dateless Buffalo nickels. I worked my way through college.
?In the 1980s I built what came to be know as the best commemorative collection of all time.?
He joked that this collection, which was pedigreed by the Professional Coin Grading Service, has led some people to tell him that they thought he was dead.
?My point is: this has been a hobby that?s been wonderful for me. I still think of myself as a collector.?
What will he tell ANA members now that he has taken the job?
?Better times are coming or I?m going to die trying.?
How hard can that be for someone who many think is already dead?