RALEIGH – Pete Loftin, who capitalized on the breakup of telephone monopolies in the 1980s to build a regional communications powerhouse in Raleigh called BTI, has died.

Pete Loftin in a photo posted by Bardstown Bourbon Company.

“Today we mourn Bardstown Bourbon Company Chairman, mentor and friend, Peter Loftin whose 61 years were cut too short on Saturday, Nov. 16,” said Bardstown Bourbon Company, which Loftin helped found in 2016. The firm is located in Bardstown, Ky.

The firm “was founded on Peter’s bold vision, and we plan to honor and uphold that vision in his memory,” the company said on its Facebook page.

“He was an entrepreneur before entrepreneur became sexy,” wrote Triangle Business Journal Editor Sougata Mukherjee.

According to the NC Gazette and WBRT Radio, Lofton died at his home in Miami.

“Loftin was instrumental in [Bardstown’s] partnership with Constellation Brands,” the newspaper said.

“Constellation is the parent of Corona and a Fortune 500 company with a diversified spirits portfolio. Constellation acquired a minority stake in the company.”

His bio

The following bio is from Bardstown Bourbon Company:

“Peter Loftin is a founding member and Chairman of the Bardstown Bourbon Company. Before entering the spirits business, Mr. Loftin made his mark in the telecommunications industry after the Bell telephone monopoly break up. In 1983, he founded and led Raleigh, NC based Business Telecom Inc. (BTI) to the successful expansion of the corporation to one of the nation’s top telecommunications companies as well as the largest private employer in the city of Raleigh, NC.

“Business North Carolina Magazine named Mr. Loftin “North Carolina Entrepreneur of the Year”. In addition, NCEITA, the North Carolina Electronics and Information Technologies Association, awarded Mr. Loftin and BTI the “Corporate Citizen of the Year Award” for generously providing free Internet services to the disabled in rural schools throughout North Carolina. In 1999, independent research group New Paradigm Resources ranked Mr. Loftin’s company, BTI seventh nationally among competitive local exchange carriers with approximately $400 million in annual revenues.

“During Mr. Loftin’s tenure at BTI, he successfully completed a $250 million high yield bond issue as well as the sale of an additional $200 million of BTI stock to a private equity firm. Mr. Loftin served as Chairman of the Board of BTI whose board members consisted of such prestigious businessmen as Paul J. Rizzo, former Vice-Chairman of IBM and the former Dean of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

“Peter Loftin served on numerous Boards, including the National Board of Governors of the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., The American Lung Association, Board of Visitors of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC – Chapel Hill, the Advisory Board of the Duke Heart Center at Duke University Medical Center, Board of Directors of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. He was also a Founding contributor and Board Member of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.

“Mr. Loftin is also a major contributor to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, which provides a unique educational experience on United States history and basic core values through the preservation interpretation and recognition of U.S. Army airborne and special operations history, equipment, technology, legend, art and weaponry. Mr. Loftin also serves on the Board of the Miami Beach Police Athletic League.”