About Us

Messner & Smith, founded in 1984, has provided investment counsel to clients in San Diego and nationally for more than 25 years, achieving numerous professional accolades for long-term investment performance. 

Our portfolio managers and client service managers work with clients and prospective clients to determine their needs, suitable investment strategies, provide counsel and manage the process of setting up and maintaining investment accounts. The firm’s two founding Principals, John Messner and Ellis Smith, and the firm’s Director of Research, Kevin Dukesherer, function as co-managers for all equity strategies, forming a creative and collaborative team approach to evaluating securities and building and managing client portfolios. 



About Us
Ellis Smith

Ellis Smith led the retirement fund of a large California construction company as Portfolio Manager and Administrator prior to founding his own investment firm in 1974, Ellis C. Smith Investment Counsel, Inc. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Business Administration, University of California Los Angeles, in 1965, and pursued graduate studies at San Diego State University. Ellis is a former Chairman of the Board of the San Diego Downtown YMCA and President of the Executive’s Association of San Diego. He also served as a commissioned officer in the United States Naval Reserve.

John Messner

John Messner has been directly involved in the investment industry for more than 30 years. He spent eight years in New York City before making his home in San Diego, where he founded Meridian Capital Management in 1977. During his time in New York City, Mr. Messner held positions with Nuveen & Company and White Weld & Company, working as a financial analyst and institutional marketer, then as a Vice-President and shareholder of William D. Witter.

Mr. Messner received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Government from Miami University in Oxford and completed graduate work in Finance at Case Western Reserve University and the New York Institute of Finance. Mr. Messner has served on the Board of Governors of the San Diego Foundation. He is Past President and Director of San Diego’s Society of Financial Analysts. He served as a Board Member and as Chairman of the San Diego County Retirement Board, and President of the San Diego Chapter of the Estate Planning Council. Mr. Messner has also served as Director of the San Diego Opera and Chairman of the Board for the San Diego Repertory Theater. He currently serves as Treasurer for the San Diego Library Foundation, LaJolla's Anthenaeum and Investigative Newsource. 

Kevin Dukesherer

Kevin Dukesherer joined Messner & Smith in 2002 as an equity analyst and portfolio manager, becoming the firm's Director of Research in 2006. He began his career in Chicago with Harris Associates L.P., which managed the Acorn and Oakmark Funds, before joining investment banking and brokerage firm Kemper/EVEREN Securities as an equity analyst in 1991. Thereafter he was an equity analyst and portfolio manager with RNC Capital Management in Los Angeles. Kevin has a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce from DePaul University and completed graduate work at DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. Kevin was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1993, and has been a member of the national CFA Institute and various local CFA chapters since that time.