In 1989, Joe and Joni Pavich left the big city life of Chicago and moved with their two sons, Joe Jr. and Jason, to a small town in the subtropics: Estero. They saw the vision of what Estero could become, and the Pavich family continues to be a pillar of the local community. J. Pavich Real Estate has sold over a billion dollars in Estero properties, but Joe Pavich Sr.’s greatest impact has been through community advocacy and service.
Through the years, he has served in leadership roles with both the Estero and Bonita Springs chambers of commerce. He is a charter member of the Rotary Club of Estero and a founding donor to the Estero Community Improvement Foundation. Pavich currently serves as president of the Bonita Springs Estero Association of Realtors and continues to be involved in many organizations focused on maintaining and improving the quality of life in Estero.

1. What was Estero like in 1989, and how did you see the vision of what it would become?
More cows than people! Population 850. I give all the credit to my wife Joni, who found Estero High School (for son Joe Jr., who was 14 at the time) halfway between Naples and Fort Myers. In our hearts, we knew that the population would grow towards us from both directions. In the meantime, we couldn’t get a  pizza delivered to Fountain Lakes.

2. How did you get into real estate?
My real estate career started in 1992 when the salesman who sold us our house asked me one Sunday to sit in the Fountain Lakes model home for him. He called again the next week and the rest is history! We still live in Fountain Lakes, and I have had over 500 transactions in this community.

3. How has the Estero community, and its real estate market, changed over the last 20 years?
Estero has gone from an unincorporated community with average priced homes to an upscale community with a median price range in single-family homes close to that of Naples. We now have 32 gated communities, mostly newer construction, kindergarten through college education, great shopping and restaurants, easy access to the airport and a beautiful landscape.

4. What is it like working with your wife and both of your sons in the family business?
I’m the luckiest guy in the world to be able to work with my wife and sons. Our real estate company has 35 agents who we treat as family. Family is everything to us. We have seven beautiful grandchildren, all born in Estero, and two gorgeous “daughters-in-love” who live within minutes of us. My best designation is “Papa Joe!”  

5. What do you see as Estero’s biggest assets, and challenges, in the years ahead?
As a long time Estero resident, the challenges I see ahead of us have to do with roads east of I-75 — namely Corkscrew Road — water and schools. Our biggest assets are Florida Gulf Coast University, Estero Fire and Rescue, The Estero Council of Community Leaders (which has helped design a beautiful community) and our new Village of Estero government, which came through with all the promises they made to us as we were deciding whether to incorporate!

6. What is your source of daily motivation?
My inspiration starts with a call from Joe Jr. at 5:30 a.m. every day for our daily workout at the gym. The next stop is morning mass at Our Lady of Light with my wife, Joni. I take care of my body and soul first. Then I’m ready for the day!

7. How do you define success?
My definition of success is the love that our family has for each other, watching my successful sons, and the beautiful business I started by answering the call to sit in that model home in 1992 instead of watching a football game! I go to sleep every night knowing that I did everything I can do to be fair and honest!

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