Below you will find brief biographies for the principals and valuation analysts who will be assigned to work on your engagement, as well as our support staff. SMK applies a team approach to valuation assignments, typically involving two professionals, including a Senior Appraiser, to work on each project. As a firm, we emphasize our “hands-on” time as former operators of and consultants to privately owned businesses. Our exposure to many actual sales or acquisitions over the years gives us a very practical base in assessing and understanding the ingredients of value and the negotiation process. We are qualified to teach continuing education courses to CPAs and attorneys in the area of valuations.
As president and equity shareholder in SMK, Steve handles the overall management, marketing and customer relations efforts. The firm’s valuation services are marketed to a wide range of attorneys, CPAs, business owners, wealth planners, financial advisors and other clients.
Steve’s extensive experience in the financial services industry began when he was a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. He managed their office in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and later managed offices for Alex Brown & Sons and UBS. As senior vice president and chief investment officer for Florida Physicians Insurance Company, he oversaw a $400 million investment portfolio and managed their initial public stock offering.
Deeply committed to the Jacksonville area, Steve volunteers on the investment committee of the Ronald McDonald House. He also has a rock ‘n’ roll claim to fame: in 1965, Steve was the drummer for a local band. Their lead singer was Ronnie Van Zant, who later became a prolific singer and songwriter for the southern rock group, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Steve specializes in valuations of closely held business interests for corporate planning, sales/purchases of businesses, gift and estate planning (IRS Form 706 and 709 filings), Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPS) and contested values. With SMK since 2005, he also provides business, strategic and management planning for privately-owned companies as well as assisting with term negotiations for the sale or acquisition of business interests.
Prior to SMK, Steve served as a senior executive with major public insurance companies, responsible for underwriting, acquisition analysis and day-to-day operations. He began his career in the accounting field. Steve earned an MBA from the University of North Florida and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from the University of Florida. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Florida and a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) through the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts.
Steve and his wife have a son and daughter. He is treasurer of his church, and enjoys fishing, boating and diving.
An equity shareholder in SMK, Jess started with the firm in 1992. Jess oversees all valuation projects performed at SMK, and is experienced with every facet of our business, including the valuation of closely-held business interests for estate planning (IRS Form 706 and 709 filings), Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and other ERISA plans, sales/purchases of businesses, and intellectual property valuations. In addition, Jess performs valuations for litigated matters and has been an expert witness for court, deposition and mediation testimony in many jurisdictions.
Previously, Jess analyzed mergers and acquisition for a diversified investment holding company, examined acquisition candidates, performed due diligence reviews and made investment recommendations to management. Earlier in his career, he served as an internal auditor. Jess has a Bachelor of Business Administration-Finance degree from the University of North Florida and has earned his Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) designation with the American Society of Appraisers.
Jess and his wife have two sons. He enjoys golf, tennis and travelling.
Matthew V. Berger specializes in valuations of closely held or limited market interests for purposes associated with corporate planning, estate taxes, gifts of stock or equity interests and succession planning, sale and/or acquisition, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) or other profit sharing plan transactions, buy-sell agreements and litigated matters (stockholder disputes).
Since joining SMK in 2008, Matt has appraised a multitude of interests, including common and preferred stock, stock options, restricted stock, general and limited partnership interests, member interests of limited liability companies, debt instruments, and intangible assets.
Matt has earned both an MBA and Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of North Florida. In addition, he holds the Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) designation from the American Society of Appraisers and the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Matt is a Member of the American Society of Appraisers – North Florida Chapter where he has served as the Chapter Secretary and Treasurer since 2018. He is also a Non-CPA Associate Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
A college soccer player, Matt continues to play intermittently. He is married and enjoys offshore fishing, duck hunting and golf, and is the proud uncle to four nieces and nephews.
In her dual role, Karen oversees office administration and coordinates all valuation projects and deadlines. She manages gathering materials, information and research necessary to start a valuation project, and works with analysts to finish a valuation with proofreading and distribution of valuation reports. Karen has been with the firm since 1994.
Karen has an extensive background, having provided administrative, training and financial services support to a variety of profit and non-profit organizations in North Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration-Management and Marketing degree from Jacksonville University and is a Bonded Notary Public. Karen also holds an active real estate license.
Married with two daughters and three granddaughters, Karen is an active volunteer in her neighborhood. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and Golden Retrievers Riley and Dash, working in her yard and supporting the Jacksonville Zoo and Jacksonville Symphony.
J.P. joined the SMK team in September 2016, after having served the company for several years as a consultant. His 30 years of experience analyzing hundreds of companies competing in numerous markets has given him a keen ability to identify opportunities and risks businesses face in various market environments. He also has executive management experience in an operating business which provides yet another valuable perspective on the same dynamics.
In 1988, J.P. was a Co-Founder of Water Street Capital, Inc., a manager of several investment partnerships. There he was responsible for analyzing health care businesses for determination of investment merit. In 2000, J.P. founded and was President of Windward Consultants, Inc., which provided similar research to Water Street and other investment partnerships. In 2006, J.P. placed Windward on hiatus to work full time for a client attempting to manage rapid expansion during the period leading up to the financial crises which ultimately rolled through the economy several years later. During his tenure with PRAXEIS, J.P. provided valuable executive leadership in areas of marketing, sales management, market research and process improvement.
J.P. graduated cum laude from Duke University and earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the Owen School at Vanderbilt University with a concentration in marketing. He lives in Jacksonville with his wife and two children. He is active in leadership at Ortega United Methodist Church and volunteers with other local service organizations. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, sailing and golf.
With SMK since 2016, Stacy is usually the first point of contact for our clients. She is a multitasker and ensures the office runs smoothly, assisting with data entry and project coordination, as well as proofreading and distribution of reports. She also works closely with Steve Rosenbloom on preparing engagement letters and special marketing projects.
Stacy’s background includes accounting management for a convenience store business, automated fueling company and a tractor distributor. She has also worked as an executive assistant for an investment banking firm as well as an accounting clerk for a hotel.
She has one daughter who is married with two children living here in Jacksonville. When she’s not spending time with her grandchildren who she adores, she enjoys reading and gardening.
Risher specializes in the valuations of closely-held business interests, particularly for corporate planning, sale or acquisition, gift and estate planning, marital dissolution, contested values and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). He performs economic and industry-specific research and analysis, and is also responsible for the ongoing research and compilation of empirical studies and case law relating to the valuation of closely-held businesses and business interests. Risher joined the firm in 2007.
Risher earned a Bachelor of Business Administration-Marketing from the University of Florida. He is active in his church and enjoys all types of outdoor sports, including surfing, fishing, golf and running.
Ty values businesses, assets, debt instruments, equity interests, and derivative securities for taxation, litigation, capital funding, financial reporting, and transfers of interests. He serves as an expert witness and teaches university courses in corporate finance, securities analysis, and financial derivatives. He has expertise with complex securities, risk analysis, and statistical analysis. Ty joined SMK in 2010. His degrees and certification include: