Mario A. Arriaga brings more than 40 years of real estate and banking experience to his chairmanship of the Houston Association of REALTORS®. Specializing in commercial real estate, Arriaga is broker/owner of the First Group, which he co-founded in 1974. His early years in real estate centered largely around the Conroe area and eventually expanded to serve the needs of clients throughout greater Houston.
In 1980, Arriaga was one of the founding board members of National Bank of Conroe. He and other organizers later opened Tomball National Bank and expanded into the Willis and Decker Prairie markets before selling the banks to what later became known as Wells Fargo.
Arriaga is proud to be a native Houstonian, born downtown at St. Joseph Hospital. He was valedictorian at Milby High School and went on to study electrical engineering at the University of Houston, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
During his college days, Arriaga interned for Houston Lighting & Power (HL&P), which hired him after graduation. He worked as an electrical engineer for almost three years, but was bitten by the real estate bug, earned his license and practiced real estate part-time until 1974, when he decided to devote his full-time attention to the business.
Over the years, Arriaga has played an active role in a variety of HAR advisory groups and held leadership positions, winning election as secretary-treasurer in 2009. In 2015, while HAR Chairman-elect, he also served as chairman of HAR’s commercial division—Commercial Gateway, or CommGate. Outside of HAR, Arriaga serves on the board of directors of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), is a regional VP for the Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) and has served on various TAR committees over the years. Arriaga has also been a Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee (TREPAC) trustee and is an advisory member to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, appointed by Governor Rick Perry.
Arriaga was a board member of the Montgomery County Association of REALTORS® when it grappled with the decision to merge with HAR, ultimately approving the merger which allowed Montgomery County REALTORS® to maintain local influence. The move sparked creation of the Montgomery County Political Affairs Advisory Leadership (PAAL) team.
Arriaga and his wife Cristina enjoy a blended family of five children and seven grandchildren.
We are honored to welcome Mario A. Arriaga as HAR’s 2016 Chairman of the Board.