New York City powerhouse teaches Trump's Apprentice
by Real Estate Weekly

A high-powered New York construction executive is teaching television's The Apprentice winner, Bill Rancic, how to make sure he doesn't disappoint his new boss when it comes to developing his latest property.

Real estate mogul and star of The Apprentice, Donald Trump, tapped his old pal, Greg Cuneo, chairman of HRH Construction and subcontracting firm, Dualstar, to give Rancic a rapid-fire education in the business of luxury development as a personal favor.

"I spend at least three days a week with Bill," said Cuneo, who Trump has hired as a consultant for the luxury hotel and condominium tower he is developing in Chicago.

Rancic was assigned to oversee that job for Trump after winning The Apprentice reality television show.

Most days, Rancic and Cuneo are in New York as the Chicago project is still in the planning stage. "It could be the beginning of 2005 before construction starts," said Cuneo.

"Every morning Bill and I go through theories and I teach him to read construction drawings. At 12 or one in the afternoon, we go to job sites to see buildings that are under construction. At meetings, he acts like a fly on the wall, learning from everything that is happening."

Does he think Rancic be ready for the ultimate test?

"Yeah, I think he'll be ready," said Cuneo. "Bill is getting 20 years of experience in three months by seeing all different phases of construction. He knows what rebar is and he's Seen it at a job site.

"His job is to be an air traffic controller, to find the experts, get them together, and then make a decision. To be an owner's representative you just have to know where to get the information; you don't have to have all the answers yourself."

Cuneo said he was more than happy to help out The Donald on his latest venture, explaining. "Donald chose me to train Bill because, 15 years ago, he did the same thing for me that he is doing for Bill today.

"Donald put me in business in 1989 when I wanted to start my own company. My mother was a school teacher and my father was a social worker, so I had no money.

"I got married and when I came back from my honeymoon, there was a ,000 check from Donald waiting for me. He said it was a wedding gift."

The check was an early payment for work that Cuneo had agreed to do for Trump. By paying early, Trump made it possible for Cuneo to strike out on his own, hire staff and buy equipment--none of which he could have done without the money.

In his first year, Cuneo did million of business. Now, as chairman of HRH Construction, a Manhattan-based construction management company, and of Dualstar, a subcontracting company, he oversees 0 million of business each year.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Hagedorn Publication
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group