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Jay B. Starkey Jr., pictured with his wife Marsha, was named the 2018 Pasco Economic Council Leadership Award winner.

WESLEY CHAPEL — A member of one of Pasco County’s more influential families received recognition from fellow community and business leaders last week.

The Pasco County Economic Development Council held its 32nd Annual Awards and Trade Show at Saddlebrook Resort and Spa and honored Jay B. Starkey Jr. with its 2018 Pasco EDC Leadership Award.

“You hear the name Starkey in Pasco County and it’s a well-known, recognizable name, but many people don’t truly know the person and story behind that name,” Bill Cronin, president and CEO of Pasco EDC, stated in a press release. “Jay B. deserves this honor for everything he has done for the betterment of Pasco and his role as a true leader. He has made a lasting impact on Pasco through his many philanthropic efforts.”

In 1965, Jay B. Starkey Jr. took control of the Anclote River Ranch and its cattle, citrus and timber operations from his father, Jay B. Starkey, who died in 1989. In 2013, the Starkey family sold the last 2,500 acres under its control to the developer of the Starkey Ranch master planned community, on State Road 54 near Gunn Highway.

According to a biography provided by the Pasco EDC, Jay B. Starkey Jr.’s local contributions include serving on the Pasco County School Board for most of the 1970s. Along with his wife, Marsha, the Starkey has donated $1 million to Morton Plant North Bay Hospital, in New Port Richey, and more than $1 million to the Florida Orchestra.

“The Pasco EDC is proud to honor Jay B. Starkey Jr. for his profound leadership and lasting impact on Pasco County,” the organization stated.

The 32nd Annual Awards and Trade Show took place Sept. 6 and attracted more than 600 business and community leaders in Pasco County and the Tampa Bay area, including state legislators, county commissioners and city officials.