Frank Marino is a master of communication. For the past four decades, he has been a fixture on the New York public relations landscape. He cut his teeth in government, serving the state and New York City in various capacities before founding his eponymous public relations firm in 1993.
Born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx, Marino grew up in a neighborhood in the shadow of the Throgs Neck Bridge in an area that bears his name. He would venture to Westchester for college, where he attended Iona College, earning a degree in communications.
After a few years as a teacher and volunteer in his spare time for a Bronx assemblyman, Marino accepted a position as assembly chief of staff. It was in this position that Marino saw firsthand how state government works and worked closely with community groups, and learned what makes neighborhoods tick. There he also started his public relations activities by working regularly with the media. His career would shift to the city, where he would hold a communications position for what is now called the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). At the time of his departure from the public sector, Marino served as senior vice president for public affairs, media relations and marketing under the administration of Mayor Ed Koch.
“It was really a go-go moment, especially when I got there. We were doing projects all over the place,” says Marino, referring to the 42nd Street redevelopment project, the creation of the South Seaport Street and to a myriad of projects in downtown Brooklyn including the Metro-Tech and Morgan Stanley developments and in Bay Ridge, the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Army Terminal and College Point Industrial Park in Queens among many others.
“I really learned a lot about real estate, but at the same time I learned about all the media, because they wanted to know what we were doing – news about our projects – so that’s what intrigued me. really kicked off to train Marino,” he says.
After launching The Marino Organization, later renamed Marino, he would offer communication services and advice for projects of various shapes and sizes. Using his experience and connections forged in government, Marino would find his footing in public relations for economic development. He remembers his involvement in various projects throughout his 30 years at the helm of Marino, such as the rezoning that created the Hudson Yards, marketing communications for the new One World Trade, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Industry City, Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. and many other must-see icons in the five boroughs.
In addition to his work in real estate with some of the biggest names in the industry, Marino has provided strategic communications advice to Fortune 100 and major international and national corporations including McDonald’s, the Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, Walmart, The Home Depot, Cushman & Wakefield, National Grid, Crain’s New York Business, Curaleaf and Colliers International.
“Recently, I took a couple of my grandkids on sightseeing in New York,” he says. “As I’m on the High Line and looking towards Hudson Yards, it really struck me what this community has become. We’ve been working on rezoning the West Side, which became Hudson Yards. I’ve just looked and I said, ‘Holy cow, we played a part in this.’
“I grew up with Walter Cronkite, so I keep the media on a higher level,” Marino continues. “I just think the media plays such an important role. I always get great joy from seeing a customer in print. It could be a trade release, a level one hit or a level one broadcast hit, that’s kind of what got me going.
His practice has spanned consumer and lifestyle, real estate, technology and innovation, health and science, the non-profit sector, food and beverages, among other industries. As his agency has changed in size and scope of practice, Marino has remained passionate about public relations and derives the same pleasure from seeing his clients’ stories appear in the news.
These days, Marino calls Westchester home, living on the New York-Connecticut border in the tiny village of Rye Brook. On weekends, he ventures to Long Island, traveling through the East End to his beloved home away from home on the North Sea in the town of Southampton. However, he recalls that he did not always have this affinity for our 118-mile island.
“My cousins laugh at me, because when I grew up in Throgs Neck, we used to hate visiting our aunt and uncle in Wantagh, because it was horrible to come home to. house with a car full of people in bumper-to-bumper beach traffic,” Marino mentions with a chuckle. “We were always talking about Long Island, but now I’ve become a big believer. What’s not to like?
Today, Marino sees the East End as an escape from the hustle and bustle of his everyday life. When in Southampton he enjoys spending his time with his wife, Patrice; his children, Cara, John and Robert; and his six grandchildren. John is the president of Marino, Cara the executive vice president and Patrice the controller.
You can often find them gathered around his back pool, at Flying Point Beach, Long Beach in Sag Harbor, or really, anywhere on the waterfront. He enjoys the scenery on long daily walks, where he feels that ‘he can truly embrace the natural blessings granted to the South Fork.
“It’s our 17th year and it’s a great place to relax,” he says. “We have a big enough house that the kids and grandkids in the summer want to be there, so we spend a lot of time with them.”
“Before, we had housing in the Adirondacks, it was family housing with my brothers,” he adds. “I would call it ‘God’s Country’ because of the beauty of the mountains, especially in the fall. Frankly, the Hamptons get what they pay for. When you see water wherever you go, there’s just something overwhelming you.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate editor of Dan’s papers.