The three men at the forefront of Citizens for SSI, the group pushing to make St. Simons and Sea islands a city, have a wide-ranging background in the development, finance and management of large-scale projects and organizations.
Chuck Cansler, Cesar Rodrigues and Ivan Figueroa, all residents of St. Simons Island, are the ones behind incorporation of the two islands.
Right now, island incorporation is mostly just talk. Nothing official, at least that has been released to the public, has been submitted to the state.
But a second city in Glynn County continues to be the talk of the town, especially on St. Simons Island.
Committee spokesperson Ivan Figueroa is a newcomer to the island community.
Figueroa and his wife, Karen, built their home on the north end of St. Simons Island in 2012. He says the couple fell in love with the area after their daughter attended camp in 2004 on Jekyll Island. They began visiting frequently and when an opportunity to relocate surfaced, they acted immediately.
Figueroa grew up in Bolingbrook, Ill., and met his wife in high school. In 1999, they moved to metro Atlanta with their two daughters to be closer to family and quickly became involved in PTA and in other community volunteer efforts, he said.
“In 2005, I was approached by a group of citizens interested in the feasibility of forming a city in northeastern Fulton County,” he said. “I joined in their efforts and after the city of Johns Creek was formed, was elected to serve on the first city council.”
Additionally, Figueroa has served on the board of directors for Senior Services North Fulton, Performing Arts North, the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra and the YMCA. In 2011, he was appointed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to the state board of directors for the Workforce Development Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
He is currently a regional account manager with RDS, an auditing and administrative services specialty group for local government.
Shortly after establishing the family’s new home on St. Simons Island, Figueroa says he was approached by a group of residents who had come together to consider the formation of a city of St. Simons Island. He said given his background with Johns Creek and expertise with government finance, he readily volunteered his services.