When James Carino took over his father’s Christmas tree business in 1957, the industry was really taking off, fueled largely by the introduction of the Scotch Pine. With an aggressive marketing plan, he developed what was a small secondary business into one of the largest wholesale Christmas tree companies in the United States. The company, J.L. Carino Nurseries Inc., shipped millions of plants per year to customers in 40 states and Canada.
Carino won more than 200 awards in Christmas tree competitions on various levels, including six first-place awards and the grand champion award at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, still a record. His company also supplied a 35-foot Concolor fir to decorate the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg.
In 1992 he and scientists from North Carolina State University implemented a biotechnology called Mycorrhizae, which strengthened seedlings and transplants. This resulted in the most extensive ectomycorrhizal fungus seedbed inoculation in the world.
In 1969 James and his father formed a natural gas production company known as AFCO Energy Production Company. AFCO began as a working interest partner in the development of the Pineton Field Oriskany natural gas field. This was a joint operation with Felmont Oil, T.W. Phillips, Consolidated Gas and National Fuel Gas Co. This field continues to operate to this day. AFCO continues as the operator of several shallow wells on Carino properties.
Born March 18, 1933, in Glen Campbell, his family moved to Indiana in 1946 and he enrolled in what was known as the Indiana Lab School, graduating in 1949. He then attended the Kiski Prep School and graduated in 1951 as well as from the University of Penn in 1955. While in college he joined the NROTC and upon graduation he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was called to active duty immediately. He was as a lieutenant J.G. in 1957.
Carino is a past director of S&T Bancorp and chairman of the Wealth Management Committee. He is a past member and officer of the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association and founding member of the Pennsylvania Tree Improvement Program. He was also a member of the National Christmas Tree Growers Association, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nurseryman’s Association, the PA Independent Oil and Gas Association and numerous other local, state and national Christmas tree, nursery and forestry associations.
A generous private philanthropist, Carino has contributed to various universities, schools, hospitals, churches, civic and charitable organizations, the poor, hungry, veterans and others in need of help. In 1998 he established the Carino Family Foundation, which will perpetuate his love of giving into the future. His daughter, Laura Carino Musser, is the trustee of this foundation.
James and wife Carolyn were married in 1971. Their daughter, Laura, born in 1973, is married to Kevin Musser and they have two children, Mason and Harper.