An asset to his community and a commitment
to New York City.
Fernando Mateo is the living embodiment of the American Dream.
As a high-performing, civic-minded, serial entrepreneur, Fernando Mateo has willed himself into becoming one of the most accomplished and prominent Hispanic citizens in the country, today. He has built a business empire and a remarkable reputation for his achievements.
He began as a fledgling entrepreneur and through extraordinary hard work, determination and sacrifice, he received many awards and accolades. While still a teenager, Mr. Mateo started a small carpet business in the Lower East Side that blossomed into a multi-million dollar contracting business. He was instrumental in revitalizing the Dyckman Strip in Northern Manhattan and in transforming Uptown Manhattan into a magnet that draws people from all over New York City and beyond.
Since the early 1990’s Mr. Mateo has been a highly respected and nationally recognized public figure. In 1990 he founded the Mateo Institute of Training, a job training program for incarcerated first-time, non-violent offenders. The program offered participants training in practical skills and eventually evolved into a full-fledged curriculum for inmates at the correctional facility on Rikers Island.
Mr. Mateo was awarded the Points of Light award by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. He also founded the “Toys for Guns” program at Christmas time in 1993 – an exchange program that was eventually rolled out nationwide and helped to get guns out of the hands of criminals. He was then selected as the “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 1993 by Ernst and Young. Additionally, in 1994 Mr. Mateo was named “One of the Five Most Influential People in the Country” by the New York Times.
In 1998 Mr. Mateo became President of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers. He secured a $5 million grant for installing bullet-proof partitions in taxis, which contributed to a dramatic decline in the murder rate of taxi drivers. In addition, he is the founder of Hispanics Across America, an umbrella conglomerate encompassing other Hispanic organizations, including the Northern Manhattan Restaurant & Lounge LLC, NYS Federation of Taxi drivers, and the Bodega Association of America. Mr. Mateo has served as a director on the board of the Battery Park City Authority in New York City, Board of Trustees of Mercy College and currently serves on the Westchester County Police Board for public safety, as well as being a Deputy Sheriff in Westchester County.
In 2003 President George W. Bush named Mr. Mateo to the White House Presidential Scholars Commission. His work in the political sphere has had an outsized and international impact. In 2005 Mr. Mateo served as the Hispanic Director for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successful re-election campaign. He delivered over 100,000 signed ballots to the Congress and Senate of the Dominican Republic and helped Dominicans secure the right to vote abroad for the first time. In 2004 Mr. Mateo was the leading Hispanic fundraiser for the Republican Party in New York State, raising nearly $1 million in campaign contributions for both Governor George Pataki and President George W. Bush.
His most recent entrepreneurial venture was in 2017. Mr. Mateo and his wife Stella started the construction and build out of Zona de Cuba Restaurant located on top of a Federal Landmark building - the iconic Bronx Post Office on the Grand Concourse and cross street of 149th. Zona de Cuba opened in May 2019 and employs more than 100 people from the SoBro (South Bronx) neighborhood.
Fernando Mateo’s illustrious career is a testament to his extraordinary work ethic and dedication to excellence in every endeavor he has undertaken. His passion for his career, community, and country makes Mr. Mateo an outstanding candidate for becoming New York City’s next Mayor.