The athletes lined up at the water’s edge before the sun rose. There were 350 in all, most of whom were local but some who came from out of state. And at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, the first heat was off, dashing toward the Gulf of Mexico for the first Longboat Key Triathlon.
Tom Aposporos, president of the Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce, sees it as an example of what the chamber, which organized the event, can do.
“We learned a great deal in many ways from the experience of the triathlon,” Aposporos said.
The triathlon was not only a success in terms of drawing participants. It generated support from the community, with many residents and business leaders volunteering for the event. At the time of the triathlon, Aposporos saw the event as a practice run for what would become a bigger event. But, looking back, Aposporos feels that the inaugural event became what it set out to be: an elite, athletic event.
“Not only did we learn to manage an event of that complexity, but we realized its importance to the community,” he said.
The triathlon is just one example of how the chamber has served the community. As chamber president, Aposporos is a strong advocate for the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s $400 million Islandside redevelopment project. And Aposporos strives to use his role as a resource for all member businesses. For example, when Dr. Pamela Letts began exploring the possibility of creating a non-profit health-care foundation on Longboat Key, Aposporos and Commissioner David Brenner traveled with Letts to visit the Boca Grande Health Clinic. Now, Aposporos is an advisory board member for Letts’ clinic.
Aposporos, who is also a Realtor, has played a variety of roles that he draws upon in his role as chamber president. He’s a former politician, having served four terms as mayor of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (He was the youngest mayor in the city’s history.) He’s a business person, having started his real-estate business in 1972. He’s also a professional actor and founder of the Theatre Odyssey, a writers’ and actors’ company.
Aposporos’ theater background is apparent when he steps to the podium and speaks on an issue about which he feels passionate.
And his political background has made him an effective force at Town Hall. He has worked with a group that formed to increase awareness of the Longboat Key trolley route, and he attended Organizational Review Subcommittee meetings that discussed the town’s efficiency.
In the new year, Aposporos plans to continue to advocate for chamber businesses while fostering the positive relationship between the chamber and the town.
“I believe the chamber can effectively balance the needs of businesses, residents and visitors to Longboat Key, always striving for the win-win,” Aposporos said.
Hometown: Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Occupation: Realtor and president of the Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce
Hobbies: Acting, reading and film
Passion: A continuing desire to learn.
Interesting fact: Aposporos has appeared in television commercials, including a series of advertisements for Dattoli Cancer Center. Now, he constantly runs into people who have seen him on television.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]