Mayo's Life And Family
Mayo Makinde’s roots run deep in the East Side and the Ohio House’s new 3rd District. He knows the people here because he’s lived among them and been a part of their community for most of his life.
Mayo Makinde was born 41 years ago in St. Ann’s Hospital, in the heart of the East Side. His father, Olu, was one of Columbus’ premier African drummers and dancers. Makinde’s mother, Lara, devoted herself to raising the family, which included Mayo’s two older brothers – Tolu and Lou. Lou is now a lieutenant colonel in the Army stationed in Washington, D.C. Tolu is a lighting engineer in Columbus.
His parents separated and Mayo, his mother and his two brothers moved to Marysville, Ohio, for two years. They moved back to Columbus’ East Side near 5th and Cassady avenues when Mayo was a junior in high school.
Times were tough. To make ends meet, Makinde’s mother, now single, worked three jobs – at a department store, at a nursing home and as a substitute teacher.
“I owe so much to Mom,” Makinde says. “She was always working, from early morning to late at night.” Her example rubbed off on Mayo. He worked at a variety of odd jobs as a youngster and young adult, including shoveling mulch, working in warehouses, slinging burgers at a fast-food restaurant, stacking tires at a manufacturing plant, moving heavy voting machines for the Board of Elections and being a cashier at an auto parts store. “Me and my brothers learned early-on to not be afraid of hard work,’’ Mayo remembers.
While their mother worked outside the home, neighbors and family friends kept an eye on Mayo. “It was a tight-knit neighborhood,” Makinde recalls. “No one had a lot of money, but everybody cared about each other.”
Mayo was always a strapping lad interested in sports, so he played defensive end on his high school football teams. He graduated from Eastmoor High School in 1998 and attended classes parttime at Columbus State Community College. He was soon recruited by Western Kentucky University’s football team and helped the Hilltoppers win their first Gateway Conference and Division 1-AA national championships in 2002. Two years later, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky.
After graduating, Makinde returned to Columbus. Besides his many odd jobs, Makinde has worked as a clerical specialist for the Franklin County Jobs and Family Services Department and as a correctional officer for the County Sheriff’s department. Mayo is a former member of the Teamsters Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees/Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.
He later became director of the Ohio chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors, a trade organization that represents minority construction companies. He is now a member of NAMC’s national board of directors.
Makinde’s goal was always to own his own business. Starting with almost nothing, he has created a series of property investment, consulting and trucking companies now worth $1.1 million.
“I started out buying one house for $10,000,” Makinde recalls. “From there, I slowly, carefully built what I have now. I want to use my expertise to help others achieve their economic dreams.”
Despite his success, Mayo hasn’t forgotten where he came from. “Community involvement and fighting for Democratic principles will always be my passions,” he says.
That’s why Mayo Makinde is running for the Ohio House.