By the Bay

Los Osos names citizen of the year

judysalamacha@gmail.comJanuary 6, 2013 

Peter Starlings has been named 2012 Citizen of the Year by the Los Osos/Baywood Park Chamber of Commerce. He will be honored at the annual dinner and awards evening Jan. 25 at the Community Center. Each year, a citizen, business and volunteer are recognized for their achievements and contributions.

A food science major at Cal Poly, Starlings graduated in 1977 and immediately worked for Smuckers, but he knew it wasn’t his chosen profession. Growing up in Tulare, Starlings helped in his mother’s property management business. That sparked his interest in real estate. While traveling to Guam in high school with his father, a U.S. Foreign Service educator, he realized home ownership was truly a gift Americans enjoyed. He confirmed this “American Dream’’ during his military service in Vietnam.

Licensed since 1978, he has achieved “top real estate agent” every year, with 600 sales to date. Starlings is now an independent broker with Keller Williams Realty based in Morro Bay.

From 1979 to 2010, he was agent, broker, property manager and owner of Johnson Starlings Real Estate Inc. and Valley Management Services. As a licensed contractor, he owned Starlings Construction and Bear Valley Maintenance and Construction in Los Osos from 1985 to 2006.

He acknowledges that he thought getting involved in the Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis would help him sell houses.

“It helped to network,” Starlings said, “but the true benefit of membership is making new friends while working together to make something positive happen in our community.

“When I first joined Kiwanis 27 years ago, I met all the locals. It was fun and made me happy. Then the sewer issue divided people. Los Osos has gone through horrible growing pains. I prefer to concentrate on the positive things in our community.”

A member of the Chamber of Commerce since he started in business, he is a charter member of the Los Osos Kiwanis, serving twice as president. As Kiwanis barbecue manager, his team has served at more than 400 events for local charities.

In addition, Starlings is president of the South Bay Community Center and has been on the board since 2005.

“The community built this center. It is our ‘baby,’ ” he said, adding, “We all have to take care of it. I have a great board that does all the work.”

He said he’ll continue his tenure as president with the board’s support.

“Recently, we have received estate donations that are helping us with improvements to the storage area behind the stage, which will also benefit People Helping People.”

Volunteer and business award winners will be announced Jan. 25. Reservations may be made at 528-4884 or

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at or 801-1422.

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