If it's happening in St. Petersburg, Mario Farias is probably involved with it in some way, shape or form. From developing a new food hall at the Manhattan Casino to advocating for the area to become a yachting destination, Farias is passionate about every project he takes on, and he's always eager to share the spotlight with his beloved city. With an eye toward the future and a healthy respect and understanding of the past, there's no doubt that Farias will continue to influence St. Pete for the better in years to come.
Years in St. Pete
35 years nonstop
Organizations involved in
I’m the founder and CEO of Farias Consulting Group, an eco development strategy firm with offices in St. Pete, Connecticut and Los Angeles. I’m a managing partner of The Boys in the Burg, which owns the Big Catch at Salt Creek restaurant. I’m also managing partner of the Callaloo Group, which has the Manhattan Casino.
What gets you out of bed every day?
To make St. Pete a better place.
Why St. Pete?
It’s my home. I had to leave here because there was no opportunity, but I never want my son to leave here. I love this town, I love the people in it, I love what it’s become, I respect the history of what it was and I can’t think of a better place to invest my time than here in St. Pete.
What is one habit that you keep?
I make myself available to my friends no matter where they are in life or who they are. I’ve had the same friends for 40-plus years. That’s a habit I love keeping and it’s my greatest asset.
Who are some people that influence you?
I’m highly influenced by my faith. I am a Christian so that is the biggest influence and I’ve tried to pattern my business after it. My father also influenced me. He came to this country at a very young age and went to work in factories in Connecticut, and came to St. Pete and bought a small hotel in the ’60s. I watched him toil, and he lived the true American dream for my brother and me. We were both educated and became successful in our fields. Politically, I’ve watched the mayors and city council members through the years and they have been great friends and mentors for me in creating the businesses I have. Also my dog. She influences me to get up and take her for a walk.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
The Golden Rule – do unto others as you want done to yourself – is my greatest insight.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
In my consulting business, I wish that I had been a little more adaptive to changing trends than I was. I am much more so now, and that’s by bringing youth into my organization – that keeps me on my toes.
I’m in the midst of joining a team developing 20 acres in Kissimmee into a town square-type facility where you can live, work and play. I’m working with a team here in St. Pete on the development of Salt Creek. I continue being the voice for the marina industry here – specifically the Harborage Marina – and turning this area into a yachting center for Central Florida. I’m excited about the Manhattan Casino’s new food hall and partnership with Rising Tide Cowork to create an economic driver for the south side of St. Pete, and also a new project we’re going to take on in Commerce Park. We’ve got enough on our plates.