Original Apprentice winner Bill Rancic has taken his 15 minutes of fame and run with it, renewing his contract to work for Donald Trump for a third year. But it’s no surprise: The Windy City native, 34, can count himself as one of The Donald’s inner circle, sharing boardroom duties on the NBC reality show with daughter Ivanka Trump. Rancic recently talked with PEOPLE about working so closely with Trump, dating as a TV star and still having to take out the garbage.
What do you think of this season’s Apprentice players?
They are some of the best contestants I’ve seen yet. They’re real, hard-working, they’re not as back-stabbing, which really reminds me of the first season.
You work with Trump’s daughter Ivanka on the show. What’s she like?
Ivanka is really cool. I was really impressed with how sharp she is. She’s very down-to-earth and an overall very nice person.
What’s the relationship like between Ivanka and her dad?
They have a great relationship. She’s clearly the apple of his eye. He wants to see her do well and he’s certainly guiding her and taking her under his wing.
You’ve renewed your contract with Trump again. What will you be doing?
I’m still working in the sales and marketing of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago (92 stories of condos and a hotel to be finished in late 2007). In my first two years, I learned the world of construction – they taught me the ropes and how to build one of these buildings. One day I’d like to be partners on a project with Donald Trump. I think it would be a great ending to the story.
What are the top business lessons he’s taught you?
Agility. In business you have to be agile and change as the landscape changes and as the times change. Never giving up – that’s the one thing Donald Trump has preached to me. You never ever quit.
Are you living in Chicago now?
I am, right in the heart of downtown Chicago. I just moved into a condo. I go back and forth between White Plains (N.Y.) and Chicago.
So, are you dating anyone?
Yeah, I’ve been dating, but my schedule is so tough. I’m working with Trump and I do my own things. From a personal standpoint, it’s very challenging.
We heard you’re going to start refurbishing parts of communities around the country.
I’m going to fix up 10 community centers, whether it’s Boys and Girls clubs or baseball fields. We’re going into 10 different communities around the country starting in June and giving them a facelift in their areas of need.
How do you pick the communities?
Everyone around the country can go to AceHardware.com and nominate a community that needs a facelift. (Ace is the sponsor of the projects.)
How else has your life changed?
I’m the same person I’ve always been. When I go home I still have to take the garbage out to the street at my mom’s house. I am certainly more public. I could walk in the airport three years ago and no one would know my name. Now it’s a different ballgame.