Julio Lemos’ entry into the insurance industry started by a chance sighting in his local newspaper, he said Tuesday.
He was a recent Hart High School graduate, and like many people at that age, he was trying to figure out what to do.
“There was an ad in the paper, and it said, ‘Insurance agents needed, ASAP,’” he recalled.
He applied, took the interview and was hired on the spot, he added.
As he reflected back on his career, prior to Julio Lemos Insurance receiving the Small Business of the Month award for the 21st Senate District from state Sen. Scott Wilk this week, he realized he’d been in the business 25 years.
In 2004, Lemos opened his first office before moving it in 2014 to the business’s current address on Lyons Avenue, near Peachland Avenue, not far from where he went to elementary school.
So, it looks like the chance he took is working out for him just fine.
Now he enjoys running a family business, a tax-preparation company started by his now-deceased father in 1987, which he combined with the insurance agency he started, where Julio Jr. also enjoys working alongside his younger brother Jesus.
He loves running a business in the community where he was raised, he said, which also gives him an opportunity to help and mentor others from families he grew up around — one of the community contributions cited by Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, in bestowing the honor Tuesday.
“I’ve always tried to be a part of the community, and just be a part of helping other businesses,” Lemos said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I feel I could be a good mentor. And I was just humbled and honored to be recognized.”
His work also recently earned him recognition from the industry with his agency being named 28th-best insurance agency of its size in the nation, he said.
For Wilk, recognizing small-business owners like Lemos is something he’s enjoyed doing throughout his 11 years in the Legislature, including his time in the Assembly and the Senate, he said. “It’s just not done enough in the Capitol,” he said.
“The agenda up in Sacramento, unfortunately, it’s big business, big labor and always bigger government. And the little guy is really kind of shut out of the process,” which denies small-business owners a voice they deserve, he said.
“Because two out of every three employees in the private sector come from small businesses,” Wilk added. “So, when you think of the California economy — it’s not Apple. It’s not Facebook. It’s not Disney. It’s small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.”