Steve Uria, Owner of Eclipse One-On-One Fitness Center, Atlanta
by Robert J. Nebel, for Atlanta Jewish Life Magazine, March-April, 2002
With perfectly gelled hair, a healthy tanned complexion and an Adonis-type physique, Steve Uria strolls around his Eclipse studio in Buckhead with confidence and grace. Walls painted in contemporary hues, professional nude photographs of Uria flexing his torso and sporting his ripped abs, give an atmosphere of a Beverly Hills workout club in the heart of Buckhead. Decked out in an Eclipse muscle T-shirt, loose trousers and Nike slippers, Uria, the 32-year-old founder and owner of this trendy one-on-one health club has a lot on his mind.
“I was sitting in synagogue last April-uneasy, thinking, ‘this is a soft target,’” he recalls. “I felt that, ‘here we are, if anyone wants to make a statement, they have a pick of the day.’” Uria’s feelings, pre-September 11th, prompted him to start Delta Force Security, a premier agency dedicated to providing additional police protection to so-called vulnerable targets. “With a weak police infrastructure, bad economy, escalating violence in Israel and the war, now is the time for a company like Delta Force,” explains Uria, sipping on a bottle of Eclipse-brand spring water. He feels that his fledging security company is a way of giving back to a community that has helped him as a young entrepreneur.
Community is near and dear to this native South African. “Growing up in a tight-knit suburban Johannesburg Jewish community gave me a sense of who I am,” Uria says. “I feel it is important to know where you came from.”
A strong Jewish education combined with his parents’ guidance, inspired Uria to pursue bodybuilding at 16 and later, a sports administration degree at Rand Afrikaans University. He went on to serve in the South African Air Force, where he received training in Special Forces and life lessons. Early in his military training, Uria experienced anti-semitism first hand. “I do not tolerate hatred of any kind and I made my training officers aware of that,” asserts Uria, who points out that he earned the nickname “Muscles” from that incident. He went on to earn two medals for outstanding service and was in charge of advanced training.
Fresh from military duty, Uria landed in Los Angeles to work as a physical trainer for actors, musicians and psychiatrists. “When you become a trainer for the rich and famous, you get close. I could write a novel on these people,” Uria jokes. His celebrity credits include, professional boxer Oscar de la Hoya, the crew of the original Jurassic Park and Beach Boy, Brian Wilson.
After three years of smog, riots, attitude and an earthquake, Uria had had enough. He stumbled on Atlanta during a brief visit and never looked back. “It just seemed so green. I was immediately drawn to it,” Uria recalls. Seven years later, Uria has built a solid reputation in Atlanta. Aside from running a workout facility and security agency, he fills his spare time with his wife Robyn, a South African native he met in Los Angeles; his son Shane, 4, and daughter Jamie, 2.
Steve Uria is also media savvy-with a history of appearing in newspapers, magazines and television. Look for Steve in an upcoming infomercial. “The product we feature in this will revolutionize the world of exercise,” he promises. It seems that Uria, the son of a Johannesburg steel company owner, is living the American Dream. When posed with that description, Uria, sips more of his bottled spring water and says with a smirk, “America has been good to me.”
(C)Leader Publishing, 2002
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