John Weber, 58, moved to the island three years ago and hopes to bring new ideas to the Town Commission.
John Weber and his wife, Tracy, wake up every morning before sunrise for a walk on the beach.
It’s a ritual the residents of the Islander Club of Longboat keep to remind themselves of why they moved to the island: the quiet, white-sand beaches and blue water that drew them from Connecticut three years ago.
“We were both getting sick of the cold weather,” John Weber said. “This is a nice environment to live in.”
Weber, 58, said he’s now ready to contribute to the community that he’s enjoyed so much — hoping to be a positive force in his run for the District 3 commission seat. This is Weber’s first venture in town governance.
"Newcomers to anything have a special insight into things that perhaps people who have been entrenched in position don’t see." - John Weber
But this isn’t his first attempt at a leadership position on Longboat. Weber served on the Islander Club’s board of directors from 2015 to 2017 and as former president of the condominium complex for the past year, he said.
Weber had always been drawn to leadership, he said, dating back at least four decades to his time at the University of Connecticut, where he studied economics and psychology and served as president of his dormitory.
“I have a natural tendency to be a leader — I’ve never been a follower,” Weber said. “I ride to my own tune, basically.”
It was at a Ramones concert on UConn’s quad that he met Tracy, Weber said. The two dated for six years before getting married, which they have been for 28 years now, he said.
Weber had “fallen into” the insurance industry, he said, working for the Hartford Insurance Group for four years before leaving to join a startup risk retention insurer in Cheshire, Conn., Housing Authority Insurance Group.
For 18 years he examined catastrophic casualty claims at Housing Authority Insurance Group, where he spent time traveling to San Francisco and other west coast cities, often to participate in mediations to settle cases. Most of the claims he handled involved high-value, high-profile catastrophic injuries and fatalities, he said.
“There’s been just some bad stuff that I dealt with — it’s a job, it paid well and I learned a lot,” Weber said. “I’m just an optimistic guy, I thrive on positivity.”
But when the company went through a rough financial patch, his bosses laid him off, he said. He then found employment with Chubb International, where he worked with employment practice liability and directors and officers liability litigation for five years before he was laid off again, he said.
He was 54, he said, when he decided to call it quits.
“It’s a very confrontational business. You gotta be tough, you have to be mentally tough to do the work and you can’t back down. I just had enough at that point,” Weber said.
Now Weber, who’s volunteered with Sarasota County Meals on Wheels for the past six months, is ready to get back to work, he said.
“I’m a youngster here,” Weber said. “Newcomers to anything have a special insight into things that perhaps people who have been entrenched in position don’t see.”