The Disaster-Smart Team is made up of construction industry professionals that have over 200 years in combined experience. Customer service is a BIG DEAL, we only use professional licensed, insured, and trained inspectors. Our reports are accepted by all of the insurance companies in the US.

Image of Darius Grimes

Darius H. Grimes, CRC, CSI, CDT, CWMS

President

Darius’ experience combines a diverse 25+ year career in manufacturing, distribution and construction with a talent for complex design and innovative solutions. His many contributions to the construction industry are based on a well-developed consultative approach reflecting years of hands-on experience, engineering understanding, and development of installation techniques and products earning him national recognition.

He specializes in the development and implementation of practical long-term solutions to natural and man-made risks through strengthening of building codes and implementation of common sense mitigation programs. Darius’ creation of Disaster-Smart is a more recent focus on the the utilization of inspection services to define and catalog data to develop a better process for communicating with consumers and underwriters. Darius is working with like-minded state, local, regional, national, and international organizations to promote long-term economic sustainability and implement new mitigation programs based on the successes of the My Safe Florida Home, SC Safe Home, and Rebuild NW FL programs.

“One of the biggest challenges facing coastal markets are the displaced low to moderate income populations that have become trapped in areas of rapid economic development. The resulting increases in property ownership costs, especially insurance, and is an issue affecting not only the local community but also increases the need for massive federal response following a disaster. Building stronger, safer, and more resilient homes is the first step towards building stronger, safer, and more resilient communities.”
Darius H Grimes- President

“Mitigation is not secondary to economic development; in coastal states it is elementary to economic survival.”
Lt. Gen. Russell Honore

Disaster-Smart is the largest inspections company on the North Gulf Coast. We are based in the Pensacola, FL area and service the coastal counties of NW Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina,  Louisiana, and Texas

 
David Hankins Headshot

David Hankins

Senior Field Underwriter

Florida Certified Home Inspector, FORTIFIED FEH Evaluator, Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector and My Safe Florida Home Mitigation Surveyor

David brings over 20 years experience in running his own remodeling company in NW Florida. Panhandle Renovations provided remodeling services including installation of exterior siding, hurricane shutters, windows, doors, garage doors, and more.

David’s experience in installation of hurricane shutters is valuable since many older shutter systems are not labeled and need to be identified for potential mitigation credits.

Brandi Hankins Photo

Brandy Hankins

Starting her Disaster Smart career in 2010, Brandy has been an integral part of the team.  Having worked in inspector Logistics,  and Customer Service, scheduling and auditing, she is now an FAA UAV 107 Commercial Drone Pilot  and Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector. She & husband, David, are avid sports card collectors and enjoy spending time with their wonderful children, grandkids, & rambunctious dog.

 

 

Rick Nelson Headshot

Ricky M. Nelson

Since 2010, Rick has worked with Disaster Smart. He is an experienced inspector and currently provides auditing services. He is a  remodling contractor for residential & commerical construction. In addtion, he has been a Florida Certified Home Inspector, IBHS Certified FORTIFIED FEH Evaluator, & a Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector.
 
Jason

Jason Bearden

IBHS FORTIFIED Evaluator, Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector, California Commercial/Residential Contractor, Construction Management degree from UCSD, Project Management degree from PMI, Disaster response/recovery and revitalization Coordinator AmeriCorps Beginning as a Helper directly out of the US Navy; Jason quickly moved up the ladder and continued his education from apprentice through Journeyman, to Foreman, Estimator, Project Manager, Superintendant, General Superintendent and finally on to Operations Management. This has provided Jason with a uniquely valuable and diverse experience in the industry.

Jason has currently volunteered over 1800 hours with Habitat for Humanity and received Habitat for Humanity’s“Golden Hammer”  award. Jason dedicated a full year as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity’s AmeriCorps program to develop and manage a neighborhood revitalization project called “A Brush with Kindness.” Jason currently serves as an active member of Habitat for Humanity’s Construction Committee Board and is the neighborhood revitalization consultant for Habitat.

Chera Federle headshot

Chera DeHoff-Federle

Chera DeHoff-Federle has been in the Insurance Industry for 17 years. 10 of those years were spent in agency as a Licensed Producer/Marketing Representative/Office Manager for American Family Insurance and State Farm. Her contributions to her team(s) aided in agency growth, high customer retention, thus lending to several Agent/Agency award achievements, including the JD Power Award for Excellence in Customer Service all 10 years. In 2016, Chera ventured into the claims arena, working as a Catastrophe Field Claims Adjustor for Wardlaw Claims Services. In March of 2018, she became a part of the Disaster Smart team. Prior to beginning her career in Insurance, Chera earned a BFA in Visual Communications from Indiana University and has worn many hats, including mother and grandmother. She lives on the road with her partner, Mike and their two French Bulldogs, Gus and Cleo.
Austin Bearden headshot

Austin Bearden

Florida Certified Home Inspector, Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector, FAA UAV 107 Commercial Drone Pilot,  My Safe Florida Home Mitigation Surveyor.

Austin began his career early, achieving his home inspector’s license at age 19 & Fortified Evaluator License at age 20. Since 2016, Austin has been an integral part of the Disaster Smart team.

Stacy Champion

Stacy Champion

Since 2016 Stacy has performed underwriting inspections for Disaster Smart. Stacy began her journey with our team, initially with her husband and general contractor, JR.

Stacy is an  FAA UAV 107 Commercial Drone Pilot, professional violinist, and happy dog mom.

Image of Joey Statska

Joey Stastka

Joey has been in the underwriting business since 2001. He joined Disaster Smart in 2016 as a field underwriter and as a fortified evaluator. Joey is a certified IBHS Fortified evaluator and has completed hundreds of evaluations.

For the past five years he has been instrumental in helping Disaster Smart receive the Spotlight Volume Award.  The award recognizes companies that complete 500 or more evaluations per year.  Joey holds a current FAA UAV 107 Commercial Drone Pilot license. Joey and his wife Kathy have lived in Daphne since 1982. 

Image of Mac McClendon

Mac McClendon

Mac is a native of Gulfport, MS and has been a licensed home inspector in Mississippi since 2017.

Having worked as carpenter,  job bid estimator, and FEMA adjuster, Mac has amassed extensive knowledge in the underwriting/inspection industry. Mac joined Disaster-Smart inspector 2018 & holds a current FAA UAV 107 Commerical Drone Pilot’s license.

Kaleb Federle Image

Kaleb Federle

Kaleb joined Disaster-Smart in June of 2019 as a Field Underwriting Inspector. He holds a FFA UAV 107 commercial Drone Pilot license and is currently working toward becoming a certified IBHS Fortified evaluator. Prior to working for Disaster Smart, Kaleb worked in Customer Service, Shipping/Receiving Logistics and Landscape Construction. Kaleb excels as a highly trained inspector and enjoys utilizing his customer service skills by interacting with homeowners, real-estate agents, property managers and tenants on a daily basis. He is Disaster Smart’s go-to inspector when it comes to training new hires. Kaleb lives in Mobile, AL with his girlfriend, their 2 dogs and 2 cats.
Brittany Hensley headshot

Brittany Hensley

Brittany joined Disaster Smart in 2021 with a background in the banking industry. During High School, she worked part-time for American Family Insurance where she gained knowledge of personal lines and health insurance products. After attending DeVry University for Accounting and Business Management, she obtained a position at Merchants Bank and Trust. When Merchants was purchased by Mainsource Bank, Brittany was one of the few employees they chose to keep. With Mainsource Bank, she served as a CSR selling both banking and personal lines insurance products. Brittany works remotely from West Harrison, Indiana where she lives with her husband, three children, and their array of pets.

 

Headshot of Whitney Whitman

Whitney Whitman

For over 25 years, Whitney has provided commendable customer service. Prior to joining the Disaster Smart team, she worked at Rebuild Northwest Florida for over 14 years in Grant Administration, and for a decade of that time she was the client access manager. She has worked with the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program (HHRP) and various construction companies, volunteering to help residences in Escambia & Santa Rosa counties to access funds to repair/replace their homes from damages sustained from Hurricanes Ivan & Dennis.  Whitney has substantial involvment with the Residential Hurricane Mitigation Program, which provides homeowners the means to fortiy their homes against hurricane force winds by utilizing funds from FEMA and state grants.
Headshot of Renea Dumas

Renea Dumas

Since 2015, Renea has worked in marketing and digital advertising, She specializes in web accessibility and is a certified project manager. She has provided superior customer service for more than 20 years.  Additionally, she is a comedy & technical writer, voice-over actress, content editor, manger of several local artist, advocate for environmental issues, social action & civil rights, and has a passion for science & technology.  Renea holds certifications in google analytics, adwords, & the microsoft office suite.  In her free time, she volunteers with national & local music & arts festivals, plays saxophone, sings, and camps with her children & sweet little dog.
Karina Firehart headshot

Karina Firehart

Karina has 25+ years of experience in customer service and accounts receivable, and 15 years in office management. She has been with Disaster-Smart for 1 1/2 years as a member of our scheduling team. Karina performed professionally for 12 years in musical theatre productions. She performed as a dancer, singer, actress in national and international touring companies, off Broadway, and on a cruise ship. Karina performed in several bands as a vocalist for 4 years and she is a beginning Flugel horn player. Karina has 2 sons, 4 bonus daughters and 3 grandchildren all who bring her great joy. Karina is a dual certified Health and Life Coach, and Self-Care Coach at Fireheart Coaching. Karina enjoys spending time in nature, especially at the beach with her partner Bob and tending to her ever-growing collection of indoor and outdoor plants.
Eric Shope headshot

Eric Shope

Since 2000, Eric has provided unmatched award-winning customer service. The latest administrative addition to the Disaster Smart team, you can find him making and answering calls to homeowners, responding to emails, and providing them with the information to schedule their inspections. Outside of work, Eric is a dog dad to two rambunctious Weimaraner’s. He enjoys time on his boat reading and fishing.  
image of Brad Folse

Brad Folse

Performing underwriting and Fortified inspections in the Louisiana area, Brad holds a degree in Business management and was the director of Director of Sales and Marketing at Cobalt Rehab Hospital. Brad has provided excellent customer service since 1998.
Skip to content