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90 in 90: Chris Buccini, Buccini/Pollin Group.

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Chris Buccini

Why can’t Wilmington be the best small city in America?
I’ve spent over 20 years of my life working tirelessly to try and help the city of Wilmington to be the best version of itself. The following pillars have been the foundation for me personally and professionally.  

Run to the Roar
One of my favorite books, “Run to the Roar,” coincidentally written by a Wilmingtonian, James Zug, chronicles the Trinity College squash team and their unmatched success in NCAA sports. The underlying theme is to not be afraid of running toward the roar of the lions. In short, do things that scare you. The best things in my life have all come when I venture out of my comfort zone.  This is hard for me to do but a friend taught me the technique of looking in the mirror to see Superman under your shirt. It never fails. 

It’s OK to Fail
Having lived through 9/11, the Great Recession and now COVID, it feels like the 100-year storm comes every decade. Black swan events do happen and when you fall, you have to get up. At BPG, we have a saying, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Or as I tell my children “When God gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But if you never put yourself in a position to fail, you will never find true success.

More than anything, you have to believe in yourself, those around you, and what you are trying to accomplish. You must trust your gut. This is the most important trait found in successful people. Be your own fan first, and have fun.  

Be Curious
Never stop learning, reinventing yourself and reinventing your business.  Always ask questions.  We review our business plans quarterly and annually, but we also have a 10-year plan. In essence, never stop moving. 

Be the Change
Early in my career, I would be concerned if something wasn’t a good idea because others hadn’t already thought to do it themselves. I then realized that there are a lot of great ideas out there, and just not enough people to execute them. You have to think big. But then have to execute on your ideas. This is where the special sauce is made. 

Have Grit
As the Navy SEALS say, “The only easy day was yesterday.”  On any given day, I have the best thing happen, the worst thing and everything in between. It keeps you humble because nothing in business comes easy. And if you want to be an entrepreneur, get ready to suffer even more. What grit I have was created not born – it comes from creating daily habits that for me, go back to sports. Not to be too cliché, but success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. You have to be ready to seize your moment – they will only come a few times in your life.  

Be Kind
I believe that people are inherently good, and most people are doing the best they can.  At BPG, we try to look at situations from other people’s point of view. We don’t build buildings – we build communities. It’s important that communities work together to lift everyone. On a personal note, gratitude and humility always win the day. The minute you think you’re better than others, you’re toast.  

It’s Not About the Money
Find your passion and “success”, whatever your definition may be, will follow. If it’s money you want, it will come. But stop keeping score and worrying about what others are doing. If you want it bad enough, you will get there. You just have to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do so. 

We have a simple business philosophy: hire the best people and then empower them to get the job done. So much of life is the company you keep, both professionally and personally. This allows us to be a consensus driven organization because we believe that the combined wisdom of our team is so much greater than any one person at BPG.

Showing up is half the battle
This is perhaps more important today than ever in the post-COVID work environment. Success isn’t found sitting in your living room. Get out there and make it happen. Always show up prepared and have options – you always need a Plan B. Wilmington’s revitalization is a 20-year overnight success, and we’re just getting started.  

Chris Buccini is a co-founder and co-president of Buccini/Pollin Group.

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