Emory Smith is a wonderful man. Everywhere he goes, he brings his smile and fantastic attitude. He’s very passionate about what he does for a living and loves every second of it. The beautiful white beaches, the welcoming community, and the fantastic people are his favorite parts of living in the area. Emory’s passion in life is helping people. Some of you may not know, but Emory is not only Emmett Smith’s brother, but he also played football with the Dallas Cowboys, Greenbay Packers, and the Scottish Claymores, and was even named MVP of the Peach Bowl in 1993.
After football, he got into real estate. He started out as an agent, and made his way to being a respected lender. Emory Smith is a very interesting person and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down and asking him questions about his life. I hope you enjoy learning about him as much as I did!
What inspired you or led you to your current career/owning your business?
I am an independent contractor as a lender. Looking at things from the bank’s perspective has always been interesting to me. Like what they are looking for to qualify someone for a loan, not just for a business, but for a home loan as well. I’m not just talking about business loans, I mean home and commercial loans as well. My grandfather used to take me down to the bank with him and deposit money and get CDs and that just really got me interested in it. That part has always been right there in the back of my head.
God’s honest truth is I was in real estate in Dallas, Texas, and I got in at the wrong time. That’s when the financial housing crisis happened. I had some short sales that didn’t go through very well. I had some friends that were making some really good money doing refinances. They told me that I should get in on it too, that it was the side of real estate to be on.
I started out at Well’s Fargo. I learned a lot of things and when I was learning, I closed a couple of deals. People used me as their loaning officer. The feeling I got when they thanked me was amazing. I felt like I was giving back to the community. It was amazing getting the thank you cards, I could tell I really helped them out and it was really rewarding. Ever since then, I’ve been in this business and I’m very passionate about it.
How long have you lived or worked in Pensacola?
I moved back here about 4 1/2 years ago. I was gone since high school in 1992, until then.
Who is the most interesting person/business owner you’ve met here in Pensacola? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Pensacola?
I would lean on my pastor. His name is Pastor David Wesley. He’s very encouraging and inspiring. He challenges you with the Word of God. Not only challenging you, his word helps you grow spiritually and physically too. He’s such a great and influential man in the community.
What advice would you give a crowd of people? (Or someone starting their own business?)
My advice for someone who is trying to start their business, is to really dig down deep into the “deep why” behind wanting to start the business. Money is an important factor, but if you don’t have that passion behind it, it will become work to you. You want to have fun doing your business, because having fun while doing it takes a lot of pressure off of you. It’s important. My phone rings at 9 or 10 at night, and I answer it, because I love what I do.
What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about (or what is most iconic in) Pensacola?
Pensacola Beach. We have the best beaches in the world. It’s so relaxing to go out there. The pretty white sand, the blue water, it just never gets old. Every time I came back to visit when I was gone, one of the first things I did was go to the beach. To me, it’s a nice relaxing atmosphere, it keeps me grounded, humble, and helps me enjoy God’s beautiful creation that he made for us. It helps me reflect as well. I go out there to self reflect, as well as re-strategize my business.
Another thing that I think is amazing is going downtown and seeing the growth of Pensacola.
Where do you see yourself (and your career/business) in 5 or 10 years?
In my career I continue to see myself improve in the same industry, because I have a passion for what I’m doing. I also would like to see myself invest in multi-family assets. I’m becoming more of an entrepreneurial real estate investor. I love real estate.
What is your favorite restaurant in Pensacola, and what do you love there? (What is your favorite dish, and where do you get it?)
One of my favorites is Global Grill. When I was eating meat, it was the wagyu steak. It’s so good and it melts in your mouth. I also love Ruby Slippers downtown, south of Main St. They have the best breakfast in town. I love so much there. I also go to the End of the Line Cafe, behind the Crown Plaza. It’s the best vegan restaurant around.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
I would go to South Africa. I want to do a safari. Just to take pictures though.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
I can’t remember the first one I saw in theaters. My favorite movie is Gladiator though. That was a good guy that faced and overcame a lot of things that should have killed him. He died a martyr. He was someone that served his master and did everything right. The king asked him to be the king of the Roman Empire. Before he became king, the king’s son murdered the king. Another one that I like is Kingdom of Heaven. It has Orlando Bloom in it.
What is something on your bucket list?
I would love to go sky-diving. It’s something that’s always been on my bucket list. Jumping out of a plane sounds like a lot of fun.
What is your favorite thing or something unique about Pensacola?
My favorite thing and what stands out in my mind is the Blue Angels. I work downtown and they fly right over where I am. It’s great to see.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Pensacola would you have lunch?
I would choose Barack Obama. The reason why is because I thought he was so inspirational. It was inspiring to me to see him become the first African American president. There was a lot of push back, but he made it and served us for 8 years.
What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
My favorite music types are Christian/Gospel, R&B, and I listen to a little bit of Hip-Hop. I would love to see Michael Jackson and Prince. It would be so entertaining. They are iconic and so talented.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
It’s related to sports, but I think a lot of people probably don’t know that I was a 1993 Peach Bowl MVP. That was a very fun game. I can’t remember how many rushing yards I had, but I had a touchdown. We had to drive the ball down with only 2 minutes left. I caught a nice screen pass and I took it 50-60 yards and set us up to win the game.
What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
I would say peaceful, security, and relaxing.
If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
I’m thinking some sort of James Bond type movie. I would choose Halley Barry to be my co-star. That would be fun. She’s still got it! I just saw her in John Wick 3 and she was great.
If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
I don’t have any children, so it wouldn’t be a nanny. I would probably take a coach. They are important in our lives. I still communicate with my old football coach actually.
If you’re looking into purchasing property and need an honest and dependable lender, give Emory a try!
112 W Romana St, Pensacola, FL 32502
Office: (850) 499-4759
Cell: (214) 205-7793
Be sure to check out what our other nominees have to say!