Partner, Nimocks, Ciccone and Townsend Commercial Real Estate
- The day job: Even if you don't know the name, you know his work. Bronco Square, a shopping center near Fayetteville State University, is one of his projects.
- Many hats: He is a former board chairman at New Century Bank with headquarters in Dunn, his hometown.
In 2009, Gary Ciccone had already been a successful lawyer and was serving as bank executive and real estate developer when he was asked to do something completely different - serve on the state's transportation board.
"My gut reaction was I didn't know anything about transportation," he says, with a smile. "I drive a car. Other than that, I didn't know."
From those modest beginnings, he became a key figure in Fayetteville and Fort Bragg achieving a decades-old desire: Construction of a highway loop around the city that will eventually give Fort Bragg direct access to Interstate 95.
Col. Stephen Sicinski, the post garrison commander, called Ciccone a "critical player" in making I-295 a reality.
When Ciccone joined the board, he immediately saw that Fayetteville's loop needed to move way up a long list of Department of Transportation priorities. He knew competition with other cities would be fierce.
But he also knew Fayetteville needed the loop to spur economic development and that Fort Bragg wanted the loop for security and access purposes. He sought to create a "win-win" and approached Sicinski and Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, commander of Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps.
Ciccone says he has enormous respect for service members. He also recognizes the military as an undervalued economic asset. "The military has a lot of clout. I simply suggested that they should use it."