Longboat Key Election 2013: Profile on Irwin Pastor
Editor & Publisher
At-Large candidate Irwin Pastor remembers vividly in 2000 when he and his wife, Sylvia, drove over the Ringling Bridge toward Longboat Key and had that archetypal “wow” moment.
Pastor, who spent many years as President of PepsiCo Bottling and Distribution company in Buffalo, said it was a feeling that eclipsed all the other destinations he had visited worldwide.
While Pastor at the time was thinking of retiring and had visited many possible retirement locations, both he and his wife had rejected Boca Raton and the east coast and said the enchanting and relaxing feeling they got on Longboat Key is what closed the deal for them.
But the Pastors had a minor dilemma in that they had a Standard Poodle and were not sure where the ideal place to live on the Key might be.
Ironically, they were having a conversation about the matter at the former Chinese Restaurant at Avenue of the Flowers and another person in the restaurant told them they had dogs and lived at L’Ambiance.
Later they walked in to L’Ambiance and they immediately decided this is where they wanted to spend their years after retirement.
Pastor says living at L’Ambiance is like living in a family and his wife has even become the social chair. Sylvia also has become very involved at Temple Beth Israel and along the way Pastor became Vice President of the Islandside Property Owners Coalition.
For Pastor, he hopes that the whole redevelopment process will be corrected and handled properly going forward.
“The Commission got it all wrong from the start. When you have divisiveness you have to look at all the options. You serve the people first. They forgot that they serve the people first.”
Pastor says the right role for the Town would have been to help bring the parties together.
“Instead, they took the side of outside interests.”
Pastor also faults the Commission for not following the advice of their own Town Attorney, Dave Persson. Irwin credits Persson as being more responsible than anyone for Longboat Key looking like it is today.
“It’s sad when you get the advice of your attorney and property owners and don’t listen,” said Pastor.
Pastor says the fallout means all major development on the Key is stalled.
As for whether he is for redevelopment or revitalization, or merely sees it as a threat, Pastor is adamant that he has been redeveloping all of his life. But he says not at the expense of property owners. Pastor says redevelopment and revitalization can successfully be accomplished without trampling on private property rights.
As for other areas on the Key, Pastor says he has an overall plan and within that plan are smaller plans relating to north, south and mid-Key concerns.
Pastor says that the needs on one end of the island are quite different than another end. He says he has been spending a lot of time on the north-end to better prepare himself in the role of a commissioner.
He says that the process is one of creating an economic model in which you build value for everybody.
“They all have an investment in their lifestyle – they paid a premium. You can do wonderful things in all these areas,” said Pastor.
When asked if he is running on a slate with two other candidates who were both opposed to the previous Key Club redevelopment proposal, Pastor says that there is no slate, and that such a situation is not healthy and can’t be.
Pastor was born on September 20, 1942 in Bronx New York as one of two children, with an older brother named Sydney. Pastor’s dad was a former featherwight Golden Gloves champion from 1927 who then went on to become a professional fighter. Later, his father became a taxi cab driver and then an independent distributor of Pepsi-Cola in the Bronx with trucks delivering to various retailers. Pastor’s dad and uncle got an opportunity in the 1950s to take over a distributorship in Buffalo.
“As a family we moved in 1954 to Buffalo. I was a 12-year-old kid. It was a big culture shock for us all. The snow was so deep in Buffalo. It was quite a change,” said Pastor.
“I went to high school in Buffalo and then I started in the family business in about 1960 part-time, and by 1963 I got married.
He said the reason he is running is he has experience in public service and business to deal with the issues at hand.
That experience began after he received a degree from State University of New York at the Buffalo Business School with a Bachelor of Science degree. His career centered in many aspects of the beverage, bottling and distribution industry.
His longest held position was in the family owned business as President and CEO of Pepsi-Cola Buffalo Bottling Corp. But his interests in the distribution markets included running several other companies in New York State and New Jersey.
Pastor also sat on HSBC’s Bank of N.A. Buffalo Board of Directors as well the advisory Board for both Stroh’s and Miller Brewing Companies.
As for not for profit and philanthropic work, Pastor was on the Executive Board of the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, the Variety Club of Philadelphia, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the United Way of Atlantic County. He is also the founder of the Buffalo Niagara Sports Foundation and was appointed to the Board of the Buffalo Convention Center.
The purpose of forming the foundation was to bring the NCAA final-four to Buffalo amongst many other national and international tournaments.
In 1996 the Pastor family and its Pepsi-Cola Buffalo Bottling Corp. won naming rights at the Amherst skating and recreational center.
Hockey and the family had been linked since 1956 when Pastor’s family bought the Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League. That laid the groundwork for the arrival of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres in the 1970s.
In an interview with Buffalo’s Business First Irwin Pastor, Pepsi-Cola Buffalo president, who at the time was 55 and still playing recreational league hockey, said his company’s bid for the Amherst naming rights went beyond love of sports.
Pastor looked at the rink as a regional attraction and envisioned the rink hosting AAU and NCAA tournaments and weekend adult and youth figure skating and hockey events, all creating a regional economic impact.
On the home front, Pastor met his wife Sylvia during his senior year of college at Buffalo State and will soon be celebrating their 50th anniversary. The two have four children and 12 grandchildren and are soon expecting another granddaughter and a fourth great grandson.
Their son Scott lives in Sarasota and owns the Sarasota Yogurt Company on St. Armands.
Their two daughters Lisa and Victoria live in New York State.
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