You may know NSDCAR REALTOR® member Chuck Smiar as a member of NSDCAR’s Local Government Relations Committee (LGR). The LGR Committee focuses on how public policies can affect the local real estate industry. Its members also are involved in political advocacy and candidate endorsements. Chuck also served as the 2006 NSDCAR president and 2009 chair of the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Region 29.
He also has served since 2007 as the real estate industry representative of the North County Gang Commission, a seven-member, citizens volunteer group tasked by the County Board of Supervisors with finding ways to prevent and tamp down on gang crimes and violence. It’s believed North County is home to 22 known street gangs and more than 1,700 documented gang members.
“The Gang Commission is my give-back to the community,” said Chuck. “As REALTORS®, we need to give back to our communities. I’m the longest-serving member of the Commission. Unfortunately, the gang problem isn’t going away soon. Gangs are attractive because young kids don’t have a family and they are looking for a place to belong. We’re seeing more gangs arriving in our neighborhoods from South America.”
But did you know that Chuck spent 17 years working as a long-distance truck driver?
Before his truck-driving career, Chuck served in the U.S. Navy (1959-1961), including aboard a World War II aircraft carrier, the USS Shangri-La, which was decommissioned in 1971 and sold for scrap in 1988. After the Navy, Chuck started driving trucks throughout the Midwest. At age 24, he took a year off from truck driving to work as a deputy sheriff in Cuyahoga County in Cleveland, Ohio, but then returned to trucking.
At age 29, he was the youngest truck driver in the U.S. to hold a truck-train license. A truck-train, which Chuck drove from 1971 to 1977, refers to two or more freight trailers connected together. “Today, truck trains are not permitted in some states and on some mountain and city highways because it can be difficult to make turns,” said Chuck. “With some loads, it could take five lanes to make a right turn. But, truck-trains work very well on long stretches of straight, flat freeway and turnpikes. Some of the trailers I hauled would be loaded with 150,000 pounds of freight. I could make the Cleveland-to-Chicago run in eight hours without snow and ice.”
Then, in 1977, Chuck, wife Sharon and their three daughters (ages 13, 11 and 9 at the time) left Parma, Ohio, and moved to Escondido. “We wanted to get out of the snow,” Chuck said.
Chuck then began a 13-year career as a European auto dealer. “I worked in the grey market, which refers to cars built in Europe but not to American standards,” said Chuck. “I arranged for cars sold to buyers in Canada and the Middle East, and was considered an expert in determining the value of certain makes and models.”
Then, in 1990, Chuck earned his real estate sales license and became a broker in 2000. He also is a licensed broker in Oklahoma and has coordinated several transactions of ranches and properties in Sallisaw, Checotah and Tulsa.
Wife Sharon has worked as a licensed sales agent for 41 years. They have been married for 55 years and now have four grandchildren.
Chuck said he was honored to serve as NSDCAR president. “The focus of the Association is to do whatever we can to make life easier for our members and remind everyone about the importance of integrity and honesty,” said Chuck. “A person is only as good as their word. Serving as president was an enjoyable experience, but it’s not about the board. Rather, it’s all about our members. I would encourage all the members to get involved and stay involved in our Association.”