- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006

Michele Hagans is being honored for her work developing the city where she was raised.

The District-born real estate developer says she is glad to be able to give back to the city as president of Fort Lincoln New Town Corp.

“I take real pride in being a native Washingtonian and having created this type of project in the city I grew up in,” she said.

Ms. Hagans was named 2006 Leader of the Year by the Greater Washington Board of Trade in March. She will be honored at a black-tie dinner April 20 at the Capital Hilton.

“To be recognized by what is the dominant business organization in this region is a most humbling experience for me,” Ms. Hagans said.

As president of Fort Lincoln New Town Corp., Ms. Hagans is responsible for development of the 360-acre community in Northeast. Plans for the town were laid out during the Johnson administration; the corporation won a contract to develop the property in 1975. At the time, the company was run by Ms. Hagans’ father, Theodore Hagans.

Plans call for more than 2,000 housing units, 78 acres of public space, a shopping center and an office park. More than 1,300 apartments and houses already have been built there.

“There are a lot more families in it today than when I started 22 years ago,” said Ms. Hagans, who predicts New Town will be complete “in the next five to seven years.”

Ms. Hagans is also president of Fort Lincoln Realty Co., a land management company, and Hagans Development Co., which helped construct Metro Center.

Ms. Hagans received a bachelor of science degree in 1973 and a master’s degree in engineering in 1976, both from Howard University, and added a master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University in 1994.

After graduating from Howard, Ms. Hagans joined the corporate audit staff at General Electric Co., where she worked until 1979. She completed a stint as general manager of public parking facilities at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport before coming to the Fort Lincoln New Town Corp. to work with her father.

Ms. Hagans took over as president in 1984 after her father was killed in a plane crash.

She is active in local nonprofits and charities and has served on the boards of directors for many of them, including Friends of the National Zoo and For Love of Children.

“Michele has been a tireless advocate for many local organizations,” said Berta W. Maginniss, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. “It’s easy to see why she was picked for this prestigious award.”

The Board of Trade has recognized a Man of the Year since 1947. The title of the award was changed to Leader of the Year in 1993. Ms. Hagans was chosen by a group of previous award winners.

Being named Leader of the Year carries special significance to Ms. Hagans, a black woman.

“This is a white-male dominated industry,” she said. “I typically try to fly right below the radar screen and so to be recognized and called out by this group is quite an achievement, I think.”

Ms. Hagans, 56, has three children and lives in Northwest Washington.

— Walter Frick

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