Mary K. Thomas
An Ocala success story
With an abundance of tenacity, Mary has been self-employed since she was 22 years of age, when she started the first equestrian staffing firm in the country. After a short period of time, she realized she had a knack for finding the right people to raise productivity and efficiency for employers. Within four years of moving to Ocala, Mary had two staffing companies with multiple businesses relying on her to fill positions within their organizations with quality employees.
As Mary’s companies grew, she became affiliated with the American Staffing Association, Florida Staffing Association and qualified as a Certified Staffing Professional. Throughout her successful career, part of her focus has been to give back to the local communities that have supported her.
FastTrack Staffing, Inc. provides a high-quality service in the face of rapid growth and change in the staffing industry. FastTrack’s goal is to deliver big results with a small-town touch; we take pride in our service and our people.
Highly efficient and effective, FastTrack won the Florida Back to Work Contract. This program provided businesses a tremendous opportunity to give someone in need a fresh start and a new direction for the future.
Now a national firm, FastTrack has branch offices in Florida and Michigan. More than doubling in size in three years, their most recent branch has opened in Palatka, Florida. Additionally, FastTrack started a Professional Search & Administration division. FastTrack is a Florida certified MBE as well as a member of multiple Chamber of Commerce Associations in Florida and Michigan.
Moving to Ocala in the early 80’s Mary was interested in becoming a farm manager, but ended up starting a staffing agency for farms, now called Equistaff. She quickly saw a need for all levels of equine staff and began utilizing her connections in the industry to match employers with job seekers, creating the first equine exclusive staffing company in the United States. Equistaff began on a shoestring budget and is now the premier equine staffing agency serving thousands of members all over the world. Lara Shepard and Bre Cooper have joined the Equistaff team and are using their unique equine and corporate knowledge to scope out the best talent for their clients. Visit EQUIstaff.com to see our new services. Mary is a member of CEP, TOBA, Ocala Horse Alliance and contributes to the Retired Racehorse Project.
Mary is an avid amateur ballroom dancer and competes around the world. Opening Dance, Dance Dance Studio located near The Villages, Florida was an extension of her passion for dance. Bringing the finest instructors to the area, she is advancing the level of ballroom dance in the North Central Florida community.
“ I met many enchanting personalities as a ballroom dance competitor and decided to bring that energy to Ocala & The Villages. Our goal is to aid independent dance teachers, pro/am couples, amateur couples and individuals to advance their ballroom dance skills and thrive in the performing arts community." -Mary K. Thomas
Although managing companies keeps Mary quite busy, she’s found that she thrives when work intersects with her passions.
Most recently, Mary's entrepreneurial spirit has landed her in a new arena- the racetrack. Equistaff, Inc. is proud to sponsor Team Equistaff, a racing team that includes a 3 year old colt, Free Dancer, by Uncaptured. Free Dancer is currently training hard under the guidance of Gerald Bennett at Tampa Bay Downs and has placed First in his third race Jan 2020.. Most recently, Equistaff's own Tap Dance Fever ran an impressive third in her first race in Delaware. Gerald Bennett is back at Tampa preparing for opening day and we expect great things from our horses this season under his watchful eye. Gerald has been top trainer at Tampa Bay Downs 5 years in a row.. Check out www.teamequistaff.com for full details
When Mary's not in the office or at the barn, you'll most likely find her traveling around the United States for amateur ballroom competitions. Since 2006, she's competed in numerous competitions and has been a finalist in Ballroom, Smooth and Latin style. At the 2019 Blackpool Dance Festival in England, Mary made it as a semifinalist in the Pro-Am Division with her partner, Aleksei Alekseev. While Mary has no competitions coming up, Aleksei and his Pro Partner Ekaterina Derevleva compete worldwide, you can visit them in Jacksonville or at Sway with Me Dance Studio in Wildwood Florida. Their talented staff is always ready to help you make magic on the dance floor.
For the past nine years, Mary has combined her passion for the equine industry and ballroom dancing for a charitable cause and hosts the Florida Fun Mini-Match. It's an annual charity amateur dance competition for dancers of all skill levels local to Florida.
Celebrity professional dancers Mykhailo Azarov and his partner Anastasia Kuzmich, both performed and judged this year's event. Benefits from the event go to the Marion Therapeutic Riding Association. MTRA, which is a PATH International Premiere Accredited Therapeutic Horsemanship Center for individuals of all ages challenged by physical, mental or emotional disabilities.
Going into Florida Fun Mini Match's 10th year, Mary is proud to announce that Professional Dancer Ekaterina Derevleva will be heading the event. To become involved in the 2022 Florida Fun Mini-Match as a dancer, vendor or sponsor, just visit www.dancedancedance.biz!
Mentoring & Life Coaching
Mary's success is only rewarding when she's able to share it with others. Among her other hobbies, she enjoys mentoring and life coaching recovering patients in local Ocala treatment centers.