SMK History

A Long History of Personalized Service


A Long History of Personalized Service

SMK provides valuations to assist with numerous types of business transactions (particularly in the area of transferring family wealth), annual valuations for businesses with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and valuation support for litigation and contested business matters. Our clients include tax and estate attorneys, CPAs, business brokers, business owners and businesses of all types and sizes.

Understandably, not every valuation assignment fits neatly in a traditional box. Over the years our firm has been involved in assignments that require a creative or non-standard analytical approach in reaching an appropriate, defendable conclusion. It is this flexible valuation perspective, expertise and insight that makes SMK unique, and this attribute has been a major contributor to our long-term success.

Our clients know us and often recommend us to their friends and associates primarily due to the quality of our work, personalized service, quick turnaround time and fair pricing. The entities we value range in size from small start-up companies to multi-billion dollar privately held corporations.

We believe our 75 plus years of service to our clients is a testament to the quality of our work, professionalism, and competitive pricing. The firm ownership has been successfully passed through three generations, and we have a working style that most often leads to a long-lasting working relationship. Once you’ve worked with SMK, you too will see the difference.


The firm was founded in 1946 by Ray Sheldrick. At the time one of his primary clients was Ed Ball, brother of Jessie Ball duPont, the wife of Alfred I. duPont, whose family founded DuPont chemical company. Mr. Sheldrick provided valuations and other services to Mr. Ball to assist the DuPont family in acquiring land, banks, companies, and other assets throughout Florida.

In 1974, Ray Sheldrick was joined by Collier McGehee, whose family founded Jacksonville based Mac Papers Company, and in 1982, Richard “Dick” Kohler joined the firm. The company was renamed Sheldrick, McGehee & Kohler, Inc. (“SMK”).

SMK continued on evolving into a full-service valuation firm with primary emphasis on ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans), gift and estate tax work, and transactional work. Mr. Kohler acquired ownership interests from both Ray Sheldrick and Collier McGehee upon their retirement.

Dick Kohler sold the firm in 2005 to Steve Rosenbloom, Jess Wright, and Steve Smith.  In 2022, Steve Rosenbloom retired, and the firm was sold to tenured staff.  Jess Wright, Matt Berger, Karen Koch, J.P. Morgan, Jr. and Risher Smith will continue providing the highest level of valuation services.

SMK has grown from completing approximately 125 annual valuation assignments in 2005 to over 300 to 350 valuation assignments annually today.  A primary component in the volume growth has been in the estate and gift tax (wealth transfer) area. The firm has continued to expand its client base and now works with more than 200 tax attorneys and over 100 CPAs, primarily throughout the Southeast. SMK valuations are attached to approximately 10 to 20 Form 706 and/or 709 filings a month, which we believe makes us one of the largest stand-alone, independent valuation firms in the southeastern United States.

In addition to the estate and gift tax, and ESOP valuations, SMK has been involved with some interesting assignments, a few of which are listed below:

  • In 1997 Philip Moore, an SMK partner, was hired and prevailed as an expert witness in a $50 million antitrust action against Anheuser-Busch involving the alleged forced sale of two Budweiser distributorships owned by the family of baseball great Roger Maris in Gainesville and Ocala, Florida.
  • In 1999 SMK was retained in arbitration proceedings to assist in determining the fair market value of the Zapruder tapes from the Kennedy assassination. The tapes were being sold by the Howard Zapruder family to the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
  • More recently, SMK provided valuations for the estates of two separate plaintiff lawyers involved in the 1990s Tobacco Settlement Agreement.

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