Mario Pinera Jr. is very involved in the community.
Whether it’s at one of the Miami Lakes committee meetings or at the Barbara Goleman Senior High football stadium (he’s a team booster), you’ve likely seen him volunteering around town.
Pinera Jr., 42, chairs the the Education Advisory Board; is a member of the Neighborhood Improvement Committee; is secretary of the Giving Gators charity and president of the Gator Swamp Booster Club for Goleman High.
The longtime Miami Lakes resident is also involved with the Diversity, Equity, and Excellence Advisory Committee at Miami-Dade County Public Schools as well as the county’s Educational Excellence School Advisory Committee for Goleman.
Pinera Jr. is the chief operating officer of his family’s business, M.O.P. Auto Parts in Medley. The initials in the business’ name represent his father, himself and his son.
Pinera Jr. lives in town with his wife Gabriela and their children Mario Pinera III, 17, and Isabella Pinera, 13.
Q: Where are you from and what is your background?
A: I was born and raised in Hialeah. My mom is from Guatemala and my dad is from Cuba.
Q: What do you like most about Miami Lakes?
A: I like the small town feel of Miami Lakes. I like that no matter what, they try to keep it a small-town feel, and you know everyone. I love that feeling of community that we always have.
Q: What do you dislike about the town?
A: Traffic, but you take the good with the bad. Anywhere you are you’re going to get traffic. I’ll take the traffic for the other amenities that we have [like] the safety.
Q: What are the demands/responsibilities of your current position and what do you hope to accomplish?
A: As far as the Education Advisory Board, my goal is to try to retain as many children as we can to go to schools. That’s one of our major goals. It’s how do we keep our kids going to our schools that we have.
Number two is how do we make our schools better? How do we make them so they are not only appealable to the parents but to the children as well. So we have to make it for them to want to go.
As far as my personal goals in business, we have been in business 44 years. We just now downsized a little in the last two years. The goal is try to keep on with the name and keep on with the business we have always done and make it better.
Q: What is your biggest accomplishment, whether in your personal life or career?
A: To me, my biggest accomplishment is that I’m still here. I was premature so my mom would always say I was a miracle child. So my biggest accomplishment I would say is that I wake up every morning, that’s a blessing to me. Accomplishments, I have been blessed in my life to have a family business and [I] was taught to work hard. My dad put me in the yard [sweeping] the yard. I do appreciate the values my dad instilled in me.
As far as accomplishments, I think I am still accomplishing things. I’ve got to say I love my kids, I’ve got to say that’s the most accomplished thing. Raising children is tough and I think I am still accomplishing things.
Q: Do you have a fantasy career?
A: I have always wanted to have a farm. I’m a very busy person. I wanted to own a farm. Not two or three acres, I’m talking about 300 acres where you have cows and you always have something to do. As a kid I enjoyed animals. I wanted to be a vet. I would say if I could do the whole “Yellowstone” thing like the [Paramount TV] series, I would love that.
Q: What are you reading, what podcasts are you listening to?
A: I listen to “Red Pilled America” [podcast]. As far as reading, I’m not reading anything right now.
Q: What are you binge-watching on TV?
A: The new “Game of Thrones” [HBO] series, “House of the Dragon.”
Q: Where did you last travel to on vacation?
A: We went to Naples [Fla]. It was right before school started.