Mote Marine Laboratory is pleased to welcome Mr. Peter Horton to its Florida Keys Advisory Council supporting Mote’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (IC2R3) on Summerland Key and the growing number of Mote programs throughout Monroe County. In addition to its new advanced technology IC2R3 research facilities, Mote also operates The Living Reef aquarium exhibit at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Eco Discovery Center in Key West and will soon be opening a new Florida Keys Coral Reef Exploration aquarium exhibit in partnership with the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center in Islamorada. Mote’s Keys Advisory Council members serve as ambassadors for positive community relations, through informed and targeted communication of Mote’s research and education programs, initiatives and events.

Peter Horton, retired Director of Airports in Monroe County, Florida, began his aviation career as a private pilot right out of high school. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, he became a General Construction Contractor in Denver, Colorado, doing a large portion of his work at the Stapleton International Airport. Although he loved the lifestyle and spirit of Colorado, the state sadly had no ocean. In 1981, Mr. Horton relocated to the Florida Keys, where he could swim and dive in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Before his retirement in 2014, Mr. Horton served a total of 31 years in local government, including City of Key West Acting City Manager, Monroe County Assistant County Administrator, and Director of Airports. In his 16 years as Director of Airports, Mr. Horton’s accolades included:

  • Four Awards of Merit from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Three Project of the Year awards from Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
  • Air Carrier Airport Manager of the Year from FAA Southern Region (2012)
  • Distinguished Aviation Service Award from FDOT (2014)

Since retirement, Mr. Horton has concentrated his efforts on volunteer work, sitting on the Key West International Airport Ad Hoc Committee on Noise and serving as the Vice Chairman of the Audit and Finance Committee for the Monroe County School Board. For the last three years he has also been a dedicated volunteer with the Mote Marine Bleach Watch Program. Recently, Mr. Horton joined Mote’s Legacy Society, indicating that he has left Mote in his estate plans.  Legacy supports champion the mission of the institution ensuring it sustains for years to come.  “My original scuba certification was in 1966. I’ve been an avid boater and diver for more than half a century. And sadly, I’ve  watched the condition of the reefs gradually deteriorate during the 37 years I’ve been fortunate enough to live here,” says Horton.

“We enthusiastically welcome Peter to the council,” said Peter Rosasco, Chair of Mote’s Keys Advisory Council. “Peter’s love for his community and dedication to Mote exemplifies what it means to be a councilman.”

Peter Rosasco remains in his position of Mote’s Keys Advisory Council Chair, and Dolly Garlo serves as Vice-Chair. Other members of the Keys Advisory Council include Jill Miranda Baker, Ron Burd, George Craig, David Dickson (also Chair of Mote’s Lab-wide, Sarasota-based Advisory Council), Walt Drabinski, Doug Grosso, David Horan, Bob Lodge, Rande Ridenour (Mote Trustee), Margie Smith, and Mike Puto.

“I fully support the work that Mote Marine Laboratory is doing to help preserve the ocean environment through its many programs of education and restoration. It’s a great honor for me to be appointed to Mote’s Florida Keys Advisory Council,” said Horton.

Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President & CEO of Mote, said, “It’s an honor to have Peter join our council as a trusted partner of Mote to support our vital research, restoration, education and outreach efforts in the Keys. Our Keys Advisory Council is critically important to help further Mote’s success with our science and education mission in the Keys. Peter has been already proven to be a champion of Mote’s work and I welcome him to our Mote family.”