The dean of them all

I'm pretty slow on the uptake sometimes. I just learned that Shannon Pratt died over Thanksgiving weekend, at his home here in Portland. He was 88 years old.

Pratt was the most prominent business appraiser in the country, maybe the world. He led the way in turning what was an almost comical trade into a true profession. He literally wrote the book on business valuation – the one that his fellow valuators cite and quote as gospel. To which he added several other books and many, many articles over the years. 

Once a professor at Portland State, he started his own appraisal firm, upstairs from a pawn shop downtown – that's where I first met him – and today that firm is a big national deal. Dr. Pratt, as he liked to be called, also started up his own professional newsletter, which is still going strong many years after he sold it (although they took his photo off the masthead). His opinion was sought-after on the values of countless businesses, and he appeared in court as an expert in many cases where major bucks were on the line. He won some, he lost some. It's how it goes.

Pratt gave quite a few fledgling appraisers a start in the business, and most of them have gone on to great success on their own. A lot of fond remembrances have been posted in various places. You could Google.

Pratt helped me out quite a bit as I worked to write my own book and become an expert on valuation of property for tax purposes. He was always kind and supportive. A few times, he came in and lectured to my valuation seminar. As I told my students then, he was the real deal, the GOAT.

He had a lot of other things going on in his life besides work. One of his hobbies was model trains, and I gather he was a name there, too.

Anyway, farewell to a real character. He did Portland proud.