What truly differentiates J.S. Held is our people — world-class talent driven by a common set of core values. Together, these shared values inspire a culture of integrity, excellence, teamwork, and service.
Aaron Smith is based in Louisville, KY, and joined J.S. Held in December of 2018 with over 23 years of experience in the disaster restoration industry. As a Senior Consultant in J.S. Held’s Building Consulting Practice, he is experienced in estimating, scoping damage, invoice review, conflict resolution, and project management. “I get to help people in some capacity everyday which I see as a blessing, not a job,” says Aaron.
Aaron specializes in fire, smoke, and water damage claims for residential and commercial properties of all sizes. Having personally experienced losing his family home and personal possessions in a house fire many years ago, Aaron is uniquely able to understand the grief and struggles his clients are facing. “Many of my professional and personal life experiences have helped me to be more empathetic to others’ situations, which I feel creates a stronger bond, belief, or relationship with someone,” he says.
“Aaron helped out on a difficult file that was behind on the deliverables. He was able to jump in immediately and complete an estimate in time for the adjuster and gain his trust which has led to future work. His willingness to assist and diligence to get the estimate complete were instrumental in serving our client. This is how he takes on all of his assignments, and we are very grateful to have him on our team.”
Aaron originally worked in landscaping; however, he quickly realized that this wasn’t suited to him and joined the United States Navy, becoming an Aircraft Firefighter, Petty Officer 3rd Class. He travelled the world for the next four years, seeing Europe, South America, and the Middle East, particularly enjoying visits to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and swimming in the Dead Sea.
Following his time in the Navy, Aaron began selling roofing, siding, and doors and evolved his career from there—becoming a Construction Division Manager, then a Senior Estimator for a restoration company, then an Independent Adjuster for six years. Eventually, his experience led him to a lunch meeting with Dale Wood, a colleague he had previously worked with during his tenure at the restoration company. Aaron learned about J.S. Held while speaking with Dale and became keenly interested in everything the company offered. “I asked Dale to keep me in mind if there ever was an opening, and a week or so later, he contacted me. I am very grateful for staying in touch and having lunch with him that day,” Aaron says.
Aaron has worked on various projects including some involving the Polar Vortex in 2019, tornados in Texas, and the California Wildfires. Aaron performed in-person interviews with the families that lost their homes in the wildfires to obtain information enabling him to accurately determine replacement cost. His advanced knowledge of residential structures and his personal skills helped him to keep the families at ease while they described their property in detail.
One of Aaron’s standout projects involved the evaluation of a rickhouse storing 46,000 barrels of bourbon that was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Aaron was able to apply his knowledge of specialized wooden structures to assess damages and develop a repair estimate.
Aaron, who often travels for work, feels fortunate to have the understanding and support of his family. When he is home, Aaron spends time with his wife and four children, enjoying good weather by the pool and an occasional round of golf.
“Every project brings a different set of challenges. I enjoy sorting through the details of each assignment and applying my expertise to provide reliable and efficient information.”