Adam Blakester secured about half a billion dollars for the New England electorate without being involved in politics.
Now, he wants to see what he can do from inside the political machine by joining the Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, and Labor's Yvonne Langenberg in the race for New England at this year's election.
On Thursday, Mr Blakester announced he would stand as an independent candidate with a policy platform of "developed by the voices of the electorate".
"We have a big campaign ahead of us. In simple terms we need 500 volunteers, 5000 donors and 50,000 votes, that's the challenge," he said.
"As an Independent, what we're offering is a real voice for the Electorate. In fact our campaign is building a policy platform based on the electorate's voice.
"Over the coming three months we are all ears and all eyes to listen and learn, and out of that we will identify what the big priorities are for the next term of government."
That's the real power of an independent. It's not one, it's not me, it's we.Adam Blakester
Mr Blakester said Tamworth would be the headquarters for his campaign and Armidale would be headquarters for the policy development.
"I'll visit all of the towns across the whole electorate, so we have 30 locations that we'll be visiting in the coming weeks. It really needs to be the whole Electorate and we're very genuine about that," he said.
"And that's one of the strengths of an Independent. I get to work on the electorate's priorities anywhere that doesn't compromise the electorates interests. I think we should leave no stone un-turned to advance the priorities of the electorate."
Mr Blakester said while he's worked alongside thousands of politicians and hundreds of government departments, he's never been directly involved in politics or worked inside government.
He was, however, deeply involved in securing funding for a range of projects across the region, from mental health and education to renewable energy and drug rehabilitation services.
"I know what it takes to support our communities, and I know how to successfully negotiate and work across all sectors, and with all tiers of government," he said.
"In mostly unpaid work, in a mostly unknown charity, I and other community leaders have had a hand in achieving half a billion dollars for this region.
"That result is an example of what can be achieved by being truly independent of influences, other than the best interest of the electorate."
Mr Joyce, who has worked with Mr Blakester before, said he respected anyone who put their hand up to run for the seat.
"I will play a fair and decent game," Mr Joyce said.
"I hope it's not a campaign that descends in to defamatory accusations about personality, which we have unfortunately seen before.
"I also want [all candidates] to clearly articulate not just want they wish, but how they are going to do it. Otherwise you can promise anything you want."
The election is yet to be called, but the government is believed to considering sometime May.
"We've been working on this every day for for about three months," Mr Blakester said.
"We've had one-on-one conversations with up to 600 people across the electorate so far. We have a team of a couple of dozen who are working on this every day.
"This is just the beginning but we are very comforted by the level of interest and support.
"We're starting to get a handle on what some of the big ticket items are across the region, but we've still got a lot of listening and learning to do."