Mario Carillas has been with Fanimation since the company’s humble beginnings – a man who moved from Guatemala to pursue the quintessential American Dream. Mario eventually found a home at Fanimation and has been involved in many facets of the business from shipping to assembling custom fans by hand. Mario is currently the longest standing Fanimation employee – he has been with us for more than eighteen years and is finally retiring.
Mario was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, to a middle-class family. He had a good upbringing and eventually graduated college with a degree in business administration.
Realizing that his dreams were stunted in Guatemala, he eventually moved from his native country with his wife to Chicago, Illinois in 1982. Mario could not write or speak English when he moved here. He found work as a dishwasher and began taking English courses at night – as Mario said, “I was willing to do anything.”
A few years later, Mario moved to Los Angeles, California, and began working for the K-Mart Corporation. Around this time, Mario and his wife had their first son. Mario moved up in the ranks at K-Mart and was promoted to a supervisory position. He even lived in Hawaii for two years to help start new stores there.
In 1994, Mario moved to Iowa to begin new employment. In 1997, Mario traveled from Iowa to Indianapolis for a week to visit an old friend from L.A. His friend was the first Fanimation employee – who moved with Fanimation and the Frampton’s from Pasadena, CA, to their new headquarters in Indianapolis that same year. Mario’s friend asked him if he wanted to work at Fanimation during his weeklong visit and he agreed. On Friday afternoon, Tom asked Mario if he wanted to move his family to Indianapolis and begin working at Fanimation full-time starting that Monday. As they say, the rest is history. Mario said that he is forever grateful for this opportunity – it changed the course of his life.
Mario has worked in almost every facet of the business, but he specializes in assembling custom fans such as the Americana, Palmetto, Punkah, and Bourbon Street.
He remembers assembling Islanders by hand, “the team would assemble roughly fifty fans a week – now look at what we do.”
Mario takes pride in the fact that Fanimation has a very low return rate on their custom fans and credits himself for this achievement. He said, “My ultimate concern is the quality of my work.”
Eighteen years later and Mario is retiring. He plans on traveling to Guatemala City where he owns a home and staying there for about six months. He also plans on fixing up cars for himself and his neighbors.
Without hesitation, Mario remarked that the secret to Fanimation’s success is the management. He stated, “The managers always know what is going on and have their pulse on the company – I can tell that they genuinely care about me as an individual.” Above all else, Mario is proud of the growth the company has experienced and his involvement through the years.