Richard Shanahan, 2016 president of the Marco Island Association of Realtors, and his wife Debra, having fun during a recent social event.
MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — Age doesn’t mean a thing to Richard S. Shanahan, a sales associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty in Marco Island and 2016 president of the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors®. He was also president in 1997, 2000 and 2004.
The fact that he’s 89 years old and has technically been retired since 1988 isn’t “that interesting,” he says. “Age is a matter of mind. I am having fun doing what I’m doing. I retired a couple of times, but that’s uninteresting.”
Shanahan has accumulated a lot of experience and expertise through all those birthdays. He spent 36 years with one corporation, retiring from a position as vice president of sales and marketing in 1988.
“I sat around at home for a couple of months trying to decide what to do,” he says. Decision made, Shanahan ran for political office. He was elected to the Collier County Commission in November 1989. There, he helped develop the county’s land development and served as chairperson of both the Southwest Regional Planning Council and the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
He retired a second time in 1993, at which point, he laughs, “I sat home again. But, I have a lot of energy, so I decided to get my real estate license.”
That was in 1993, where he found a niche selling marina boat slips and residential properties. “I spent my entire real estate career doing that. I suggest people look for a niche and concentrate on it,” Shanahan advises.
His biggest challenge once he got into real estate, he says, was learning the industry. “When I placed my license, I didn’t know anything about real estate other than what I learned in real estate school and through buying personal homes,” he says.
Since the 1990s, he’s seen the cyclical nature of the business and realized that “you have to be on top of your game to keep up,” says Shanahan, who has a supportive wife, Debra, who serves as his “computer guru.” The two also work together on marketing.
In 2007, boat slip sales died along with the rest of the market. “They grew with the housing market explosion, and when the market fell through, no one had money for a boat,” he says.
Since he was already retired, Shanahan decided to concentrate on becoming involved with his local Realtor association, where he moved into leadership quickly because of his strong work ethic and moral character.
He credits his parents for serving as powerful role models for him at an early age. Shanahan spent summers as a teenager working in construction and other labor-intensive jobs.
“Those jobs convinced me that I needed to improve intellectually so I could develop a business career. Labor is an honorable profession, but I needed and wanted something else,” he says.
Loyalty is important to him as well. That’s why he’s still with the same office (it’s changed names and owners since he first started) and can’t think of a better way to spend his “retirement.”
He keeps an active community life, and served on the boards of 19 local organizations over the years. He’s been recognized by the Naples Daily News as 2001 Citizen of the Year and was Marco Island Area Association’s Realtor of the Year in both 1999 and 2009. He earned the Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
As he approaches his 90s, Shanahan says, “I have no desire to slow down. Real estate is a solid industry, and it’s great to be a part of it.”