PSA News Update
Kevin Lenane Named PSA President
Kevin Lenane is the new President of Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). His appointment was announced on Oct. 26, 2021, by Collectors Holdings CEO and Executive Chairman Nat Turner, who touted Lenane’s hobby passion, entrepreneurial experience, and varied accomplishments as a collector and technology builder as important qualities in moving PSA forward. Lenane had been working as PSA’s Vice President of Product Management since April, shortly after his software company, Genamint, Inc., was acquired by Collectors Holdings, PSA’s parent company.
“As many know, we purchased Genamint for its technology in the field of computerized card diagnostics and analysis, which will be a major part of our focus from a product development perspective for PSA in the future,” said Turner.
Lenane assumed the helm at PSA during a simultaneous message from Turner in which he acknowledged that then-PSA President Steve Sloan had agreed to become the first-ever Chief Marketing Officer for Collectors Holdings. Said Sloan: “Kevin will continue our commitment to improving and advancing the quality of all we do. I pass the baton to Kevin and look forward to working alongside him in the years to come.”
Who Is Kevin Lenane?
Lenane, a former college football player, knows something about shouldering the load. The six-foot-four native of Concord, Massachusetts, played defensive tackle for Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Archaeology. Following graduation, Lenane pursued various archaeological projects but quickly discovered that wasn’t the career path he envisioned.
“I took some time and got involved in the entertainment industry,” he shared. “I worked for a couple of TV shows – Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Forensic Files. Since I was always into computers, I wound up doing a lot of the IT duties and editing of the video footage. As a side hustle to complement the low pay, I started a small website building business in the days when businesses were first coming online. I had so much passion for it and success with it, that I left the entertainment industry for technology instead and never looked back.”
In 2011, after working in product for several startups, he founded Veenome, a video analytics company that was considered a market leader in the machine vision world. Its primary function was identifying and indexing streaming video content from across the internet. Based on the success of its analytics platform, Veenome was acquired by Integral Ad Science in 2015.
A few years later, Lenane went on to found Genamint, Inc., a software company that uses machine learning to analyze and evaluate trading cards. Its AI technology inspects each trading card in real-time and provides diagnostics, measurements and detects alterations or other changes made to a card’s surface. Since his company was acquired by Collectors Holdings nine months ago, Lenane has worked on integrating some of the new technology to PSA’s card-grading process.
“The payoff on something like this takes a little bit of time,” said Lenane. “Our goal is to speed the [grading] process and expand our fraud detection capabilities without sacrificing the integrity of the PSA brand. PSA has been the industry leader in the authentication and grading of trading cards for 30 years and we want to use Genamint technology to support that.
“I consider it an honor to be in this position,” he continued. “I’ve been a collector forever, so this is just a real privilege to serve as PSA President. I’m super excited about it.”
As far as collecting, Lenane collects vintage Boston Red Sox players like Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx and Dom DiMaggio, and took a run at the Ted Williams Master Set on the PSA Set Registry. He also holds the No. 4 ranking on the 1951-1989 Topps Wax Pack Set Registry and actively collects vintage wax.
Priorities as President
He accepts his new role at PSA with open arms. First and foremost, Lenane knows the company needs to continue making progress on the massive backlog that has accumulated during the past two years.
“That goes without saying, and that’s part of an ongoing process,” he said. “Getting the PSA product to a price point and turnaround time that works for all collectors is my number one goal. Affordability and timeliness are crucial.”
Along those lines, after a nine-month shutdown of multiple service levels, Lenane reinstated PSA’s Regular service in late December at $100 per card. The reopening of this service comes with an increased declared value limit of $1,499, up from the prior $999 value limit.
“Our goal is to lower prices significantly below the current $100 rate,” he continued, “but we need to get through more of the backlog first. We will be opening more service tiers at lower prices over the next nine months.”
Asked about other priorities on his agenda, Lenane mentioned that improving the services that PSA provides is always a constant.
“Part of that is through our fraud detection capabilities where we can recognize trimming, recoloring and counterfeiting,” he said. “Since about mid-2021, every standard- sized card that arrives at PSA is imaged. In the near future, the plan is to utilize the technology made available through the Genamint acquisition to analyze these images and have our system register print marks and surface defects so that every card can be identified as unique. Each card has different combinations of major anomalies that we’ve identified, from big ones like creases, scratches, and stains to single pixels that are compromised.
“Based on learnings from every card, the technology will be able to tell if a card is trimmed or altered in some other way. The ultimate goal is to use machine vision to identify the cards, so once a card is finger-printed in our system, we’ll be able to tell.”
Another objective high on Lenane’s list is providing more card imaging across the board for PSA customers. The company recently expanded its SecureScan service to include Regular submissions. Since September 2019, the cost-free service – which involves taking front and back scans of PSA-encapsulated items (cards, tickets and packs) with high-resolution scanners and making those images available on the PSA website – was only available to Express level orders and higher.
“We’re also taking more images of cards raw before grading,” he said. “We’ve managed to automate the spec ID process and use computer vision to help identify the cards. This has helped shave a lot of time off the research stage. Now researchers often only need to double-check the cards against the computer findings, which saves time.”
Boosting PSA’s DNA (autograph) business is yet another goal of Lenane’s. “We need to think about ways in which we can do a better job of developing that side of the business as it has a ton of potential,” he said. “We will be putting some serious resources into growing and supporting that business in 2022.”
When asked about other long-term objectives, Lenane responded: “Improving our holders to accommodate odd-sized dimensions and thickness variance, like stickers which can move around if not properly secured, is another area we really need to concentrate on, as well as just improving the general quality of our holders and labels.”
Lenane is excited about his future and the future of PSA.
“I’ve spent the last month meeting people in all facets of our business,” he said. “Now we need to look for ways we can use technology and staff augmentation to make our business more functional. Getting our products more affordable and reliable is at the top of the list.”