Rhett Jeppson was given the first-ever title of Principal Deputy Director in January of 2015 and was nominated by President Barack Obama to become the U. S. Mint’s 39th Director. Though he was subsequently approved by a Senate Banking Committee, partisan politics prevented the nomination from coming to the Senate floor for a vote (in fact not one of the Banking Committee’s nominees was confirmed during the two years of the 114th Congress). As the nomination solidified his authority, it also activated the custom of submitting a resignation to the incoming new President.
Matthew Rhett Jeppson was born and grew up in Midvale, Utah where he was the only boy of four siblings. The family moved to Florida when he was sixteen and Rhett earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida, in 1987. In 1988, he joined the United States Marine Corps. As a Marine infantry officer he served as Riffle Platoon Commander, Principal Battalion Staff Officer, Mortar Platoon Commander, and led troops into combat in Kuwait during the Gulf War. From 1992 to 1994, Jeppson had to return home to run his father’s construction business, while his dad fighting leukemia underwent a bone marrow transplant. After his father’s recovery, Jeppson returned to duty and served as Operations and Exercise Officer at Special Operations Command Central from 1995 to 1999. Later, he worked for the State of Florida, until 2003, serving as Director of State Purchasing and Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation of the State of Florida.
When he finally retired from the Marine Corps, he had amassed 28 years of active and reserve service. During the latter part of that service, he served time as Counter-Terrorism Planner and Chief of Current Operations for Marine Forces Europe (‘01-‘03), Chief of Joint National Training Capability and European Engagements Lead at the United States Special Operations Command (’04-’08), Deputy Director of Operations for U.S. Forces Afghanistan (’09-’10), and Lead Crisis Response Planner at U.S. European Command (’10-’12). Jeppson joined the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2012, serving as Associate Administrator in the Office of Veteran Business Development (’12-’14) and the as SBA’s Acting Chief Operating Officer (’14-’15).
Like everything else on his resume, Jeppson’s stint at the U.S. Mint was critical, intense, and packed with accomplishments. Under his watch, 2016 American Liberty Silver Medals sold out within six minutes of their release, raw material issues with the popular Platinum Eagle were mitigated and regular production was returned, and to celebrate the United States Mint’s 225th Anniversary, he was responsible for the creation and release of a $100 2017 American Liberty Gold Coin, the first to feature Lady Liberty as an African-American woman. Though limited to two-years, he managed to reignite the excitement of numismatic collectors world-wide and to leave the Mint in a far better financial condition than when he arrived.