Newly appointed Julio Guzman is enjoying his service as a first term Homestead councilman.
Baseball and football trivia fans can probably reel off the names of all the
athletes who successfully played both sports at the professional level. While the legendary Jim Thorpe was one of the
original eleven who did so, few others have had the ability and opportunity.
That statistic, however, doesn’t keep someone from aspiring to the goal and Julio Guzman was willing to make the effort. His parents came from the Dominican Republic in the 1970s and later made their way to Homestead when Guzman was three years old.
With his love of sports and athleticism, he divided his time between Little League Baseball and Football. After Hurricane Andrew’s devastation of Homestead, he transferred to Coral Gables Senior High School where he continued on his dual path and was awarded a football scholarship to Carson Newman University in Tennessee. His schedule allowed him to stay with baseball as well and the Arizona Diamondbacks liked what they saw. He learned a great deal in his two years as an outfielder to include what they like initially doesn’t change the fact the odds are still against an entire career in professional baseball. “I didn’t really know anything about negotiation at the time,” he said, “but I had negotiated into my package they would pay for my return to college.”
He came closer to home and not long after completing his studies at Florida International University (FIU) he joined his family in their restaurant business. His concern with rent prices they paid led his mother to give the simple advice of, “Then get into real estate and buy your own building.” He wasn’t quite ready for that step, although he did see the potential of Quiznos Subs. He opened a franchise on Highway One and then added another store as the first restaurant in the shopping center near the newly built Homestead Hospital. Leading franchises do not care for new players to edge too deeply into their market share and the sub sandwich business is no exception.
In closing the franchises, he did get his real estate license in 2003 and he also took to heart when the bubble burst with home prices plummeting. He navigated through helping homeowners who faced foreclosures and short sales as much as he could, and in learning these difficult aspects, he was poised for the recovery. He became involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the Miami Association of Realtors and was confident enough to go with his own brand. Essential Realty has grown to forty agents and is a family affair with wife Emily alongside him. His community focus includes being a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) listing broker and he frequently provides educational workshops promoting home ownership and entrepreneurship. His presence on the Residential Board of Governors of the Miami Association of Realtors is a first for a realtor from Homestead. In working to bridge what has often been a lack of understanding of the potential of this area, he was instrumental in collaborating with the South Dade Chamber of Commerce and Miami Realtors for a January 2019, “Spotlight on South Dade”. Business and civic leaders joined a range of company owners and representatives to showcase and learn about initiatives and opportunities for local growth.
This was an especially busy time as he had decided to submit his application for consideration to fill the open seat on the Homestead City Council when Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley became Mayor. “I had seen the synergy of the Council and what they were accomplishing, and I thought I could help fill the gap.”
As was reported in the February 22, 2019 edition of the South Dade News Leader, Guzman was unanimously selected by the City Council to fill the vacant council seat for the months from February to election time in November. On his questionnaire, Guzman said it was a “sense of relief” that the commitment was less than a year. “During that time, I can analyze and determine if I enjoyed public duty in that capacity or not,” Guzman had responded.
Guzman’s approach during his short tenure as a Council member is straightforward. “I always put the citizens first. If that is what we focus on, we attract people who like the way we are developing the community. We want this to be the place they want to live, work, and play.”