The promise of a better tomorrow. It’s the dream that saw more than 20,000 Nicaraguans move to the United States in the 1980s. Among the thousands who fled their war-torn nation for a life in the new world was the family of seven-year-old Julio Gonzalez. And this coming Monday, the chance his family took by leaving their lives behind for a brighter future comes full circle.
Thirty-seven years after the Gonzalez family first set foot on U.S. soil, Julio will open Brightway, The Gonzalez Agency insurance office in Miami November 7. Raised in Dade County, the 44-year-old business owner will put his decades of sales experience to work in a business his parents could only dream of when he was a little boy growing up in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital.
“My dad, Carlos, worked all kinds of jobs to help our family, before building a sales career,” Gonzalez said. “He sacrificed his own dreams for us to be free and have better opportunities. That was his dream.” However, growing up in Nicaragua in the ‘80s was more of a nightmare. Like thousands of their fellow Nicaraguans, Carlos and his wife, Isabel, packed up their family and left the country.
In 1986, Gonzalez’ family made the trek from their Central American homeland to the United States. Throughout the decade, the Nicaraguan Revolution roared through the nation. An estimated half of a million Nicaraguans were homeless at the start of the decade. By the end of the decade, approximately 30,000 people had died at the hands of either the Sandinistas or the Contras; the two battling factions in the revolution. Today, decades removed from the conflict, more than 120,000 Nicaraguan Americans call Miami-Dade County home.
Among those are Gonzalez and his wife, Evelyn. Married for more than 21 years, family is at the heart of everything for this generation of the Gonzalez family. “Evelyn is a registered nurse at Baptist Hospital. She works lots of hours. By the time she comes home, she is exhausted,” Gonzalez said. “For 15 years, she has given so much of herself to helping those in need. I’ve been blessed to have so many examples in my life to help keep me centered and serve in the best way I know how. This Brightway agency is something my parents never dreamt of.”
Gonzalez has worked in the insurance industry for more than six years, all part of more than 23 years of sales and customer service experience. Holding an associate degree from Miami-Dade College, Julio has four children in Julian, 20, Jordan 16, Jayden, 13 and Emma, 11. Jordan, an 11th grader in Dual Enrollment at Miami-Dade College, says he wants to be a civics professor. “His desire to share with the next generation about the rights and privileges of citizenship is a proud reflection of our family,” Gonzalez added. “My parents are now retired. But seeing what our family is now doing is a true joy for them, one that was hard to imagine years ago.”
Brightway, The Gonzalez Agency offers customized Home, Flood, Auto, Boat, Condo, Renters, Personal Articles, RV, Motorcycle, Umbrella, and Life insurance policies from numerous insurance companies. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EDT) and Saturday/Sunday by appointment. Visit them at their office at 13301 SW 132nd Avenue, Suite 215, in Miami, online at BrightwayGonzalezAgency.com or call 786-539-0101.
Brightway’s corporate office staff provides expertise and support in areas including customer service, technology, accounting, marketing, distribution and business analytics. In addition, Brightway handles carrier relations and appointments, as well as support with personnel hiring, licensing, onboarding, training and retention. The company’s signature after-the-sale service empowers Agency Owners, like Julio, to focus on new business sales and provide customers the personalized service they deserve.
About Brightway Insurance
Established in 2008, Brightway grew to become one of the largest privately-owned property/casualty insurance distribution companies in the U.S. with more than 300 franchises in 30 states and over $900 million in annual premiums. Recently, Brightway’s success led to a private equity investment that has infused the company with financial and human capital, and data and analytics access, to accelerate growth and deliver new and exciting market opportunities.
Brightway produces winning outcomes for franchisees and their customers by offering access to customized coverage solutions from a range of insurers paired with full back office and marketing support. This winning model allows agents and producers to focus on addressing the needs of their customers to become trusted advisors and grow their businesses.
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