Americo Borza

 


Then


Now

As most of you know, I came from a circus family. I traveled with the circus as a child and my parents put me into a new school each week as we toured.  That did not stop until we finally returned to Sarasota. I began my first permanent schooling in the 7th grade at Sarasota Junior High and finished up at SHS.

After graduation, came two years at MJC, night work as a janitor and ultimately an AA, but no jobs. I got work as a roofer, but concluded I had to grow up. So I volunteered into the Army in 1962, and immediately after training in specialized electronics, I shipped out to Vietnam. After a bit of ducking (bullets make a funny buzzing sound as they go past your head) I came back to the U.S. and finished up my Army experience teaching electronics.

Like many of our classmates, I then went to work at EMR. At the same time I joined Don Rineheart as co-owner of a company making electronic surveillance devices (bugs) for governments, spies and private investigators around the world. From EMR I went to work for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Labs just outside of Washington D.C. While there, I and two engineers designed and constructed the experiment that first measured the Van Allen Belt around the earth. Yup, it was rocket science.

Bored with staring at oscilloscopes and meters, I quit NASA and returned to Sarasota where I liquidated my interest in the bugging company to Don. Then I joined our classmate Joe Variot in a contracting business called Recon Concrete. We built various structures around Sarasota including part of the rain capture system for the Intercoastal Waterway and a variety of industrial and commercial projects. My favorite was the bell tower at the Episcopal Church at the end of Main Street.  Now, each and every Sunday, the German silver bells in that 77 foot tower ring loudly to call worshipers to service, all to the consternation of those not willing to be saved. I find it amusing that 45 years later, our phallic salute to Sarasota is still upright and raising a ruckus. I am proud of the work we did there. It was done with our own hands.

Unfortunately, that business did not prosper. I liquidated my interest in that company to Joe and started looking for something else to do. Investing in the stock market was one of my passions, so I wrangled myself a job as a management trainee at the home office of A. G. Edwards & Sons, a New York Stock Exchange Member Firm. While training in management, they provided me the opportunity for an education in security analysis through the New York Institute of Finance. I then became a security analyst. Then a portfolio manager. And ultimately I managed a fund for an insurance company. Then I met and married my beautiful and intelligent wife Judi and strode into the world as a broker. Things went very well and in a few years I was the 8th top producer in the country. But, I was not happy. I felt that I was not really contributing to the nation that accepted my parents as immigrants and gave me all the opportunities I enjoyed. A change was in order. I wanted to give something back. After discussions with my wife Judi, we jointly decided that we had better things to do than simply make money. I quit the firm and went back to school to finally get a degree.

My B.A. in clinical psych came from Florida Institute of Technology (now University of Central Florida).  From there I went to FSU School of Law.  During law school our marriage collapsed and Judi and I went our separate ways. After passing the bar in 1976 I came to Sarasota and hung out my shingle to practice law.

A few years later I met my second wife Vicki, another beautiful and intelligent woman. But that marriage did not last either. Neither of my marriages produced any children and I envy all of my classmates who have children and grandchildren.

During my years as an attorney I have been in and out of one thing or another. Once I went with a client to the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico prospecting for gold. We found it too. But that is another story. I also owned a couple knife-and-gun-club local bars. One on Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota was known as “The Horseshoe Inn” until I renamed it “The Corner Pocket.” Another in Bradenton on 14th Street was known as “The Desoto Lounge” until I renamed it “The Body Shop Lounge.”  They were successful enterprises and were sold. It was difficult to manage them and practice law at the same time. Also for a time I jointly owned a business with my brother. It sold fresh cut flowers from all over the world to local florists. It was called Blossom Express. 

Well, after 34 years of practicing law, what am I doing in my waning years? My law firm, Borza Law P.L.L.C. has a limited clientele. That clientele is a group of corporations in various states engaging in a variety of businesses, some of which are in medicine while others are not. My firm literally files thousands of law suits each year against insurance companies that fail to properly pay medical bills. My clients call me their “consigliere.” I even write some commercials for my clients. Depending on where you live, you may be familiar with “Roz” and “1-800-ASK-GARY” commercials.  Well, you can blame me for some of those commercials, especially the earlier Roz commercials. You know, the “Axe Gary” ones. I also recently helped start a Florida auto insurance company known as “AGIC Insurance, Inc.” I was the president of the company, but recently stepped down. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I am in the final stages of helping put together formal research of certain organic molecules that may be useful in the reduction of inflammation in humans and may inhibit the growth of certain cancers in humans. We will cross our fingers on those.

So I remain active. What do I do for fun? Mostly, I work some and laugh a lot. Last year I took one month off to go to Italy and Spain without prior reservations. I rented a car and drove around like an 19 year old kid seeing what I could get into. It was great fun. I wish I had done it sooner and more often.

So that is it for me. I hope this was not too long and thanks for reading.


 

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