PR Man Frank Marino: From NYC to Shining North Sea

Frank Marino
Frank Marino

Frank Marino is a master communicator. For the past four decades, he has been a fixture in the New York public relations landscape. He cut his teeth in government, serving the state and city of New York in various capacities before founding his namesake 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 shares its name. He would venture to Westchester for college, where he attended Iona College, graduating with a degree in communications.

After a few years as a teacher, and volunteering in his spare time for a Bronx assemblymember, Marino accepted a position as the assemblyman’s chief of staff. It was in this position where Marino saw firsthand how state government operates and worked closely with community groups, and learned what makes neighborhoods tick. Here he also began his public relations activities working with the media on a regular basis. His career would transition to the city, where he would serve in a communications role for what is now called the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). At the time of his departure from the public sector, Marino held the title of senior vice president for public affairs, media relations and marketing during the administration of Mayor Ed Koch.

“It was really a go-go time, especially when I first got there. We were doing projects all over the place,” says Marino referencing the 42nd Street Redevelopment Project, the creation of the South Street Seaport and myriad 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 numerous others.

“I really learned a lot about real estate, but at the same time learned about all of the media, because they wanted to know what we were doing — the news about our projects — so that’s what really launched me to form Marino,” he says.

After starting The Marino Organization, later rebranded as Marino, he would offer communications services and advice for projects of various shapes and sizes. Utilizing his experience and relationships made in government, Marino would find his niche in public relations for economic development. He recalls his involvement in various projects throughout his 30 years leading Marino, like the rezoning which created the Hudson Yards, the 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 unmistakable 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 counsel to Fortune 100 and major international and national businesses 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 some tours of New York City,” he says. “As I am on the High Line and looking towards Hudson Yards, it really hit me what this community became. We worked on the rezoning of the West Side, what became Hudson Yards. I just looked and said, ‘Holy cow, we had a role in this.’

“I grew up on Walter Cronkite, so I hold the media to a higher standard,” Marino continues. “I just think that the media plays such an important role. I still get a lot of joy out of seeing a client in print. It could be a trade publication, a tier-one hit or a tier-one broadcast hit, it is kind of what has driven me.”

His practice has expanded to consumer and lifestyle, real estate, technology and innovation, health and science, the nonprofit sector, food and beverage among other industries. While his agency has changed in size and scope of practice, Marino has remained passionate about public relations and gets the same thrill of seeing his clients’ stories appear in the news.

These days, Marino calls Westchester home, living on the New York-Connecticut border in the small Village of Rye Brook. On the weekends, he ventures onto Long Island, traveling to the East End to his beloved home away from home in North Sea in the Town of Southampton. He recalls, though, that he did not always hold this affinity for our 118-mile island.

“My cousins make fun of me, because growing up in Throgs Neck, we used to hate to visit our aunt and uncle in Wantagh, because it was horrific coming back home with a carload of people in bumper-to-bumper beach traffic,” Marino mentions with a chuckle. “We would always talk down about Long Island, but now, I have 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 daily 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 president of Marino, Cara an executive vice-president and Patrice serves as the controller.

You can often find them gathered around his backyard pool, at Flying Point Beach, Long Beach in Sag Harbor, or really, anywhere on the waterfront. He enjoys the scenery on daily long walks, where he feels he can truly embrace the natural blessings bestowed upon the South Fork.

“This is our 17th year and it’s a great place to chill out,” he says. “We have a house large enough so that the kids and grandkids in the summer want to be there, so we spend a great deal of time with them.”

“We used to have a place in the Adirondacks, it was a family place with my brothers,” he adds. “I would call that ‘God’s Country,’ because of the beauty of the mountains, especially in the fall. Frankly, the Hamptons give it a run for its money. When you see water wherever you are going, there is just something that overwhelms you.”

Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.

More from Our Sister Sites