Billy Dec

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Billy Dec is an Emmy Award-Winning entertainment television personality, attorney and entrepreneur. As the CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, Chicago’s premier hospitality and entertainment development company, Dec and his team specialize in the creation, marketing and management of some of the city’s top venues including Rockit, Sunda, Underground, Rockit Burger Bar, Bottlefork, The Duck Inn at Otto Mezzo. Dec can be seen and heard locally on ABC Chicago's “Windy City Live” & 103.5 KISS FM. in addition to being a national food contributor for NBC's "Today Show." He also appeared in "Last of the Mohicans" as Maugwa. While building his acting resume for the last ten years in roles on shows such as "Empire" & "Criminal Minds," he recently launched Elston Films, a production company to bring more film and television projects to the city of Chicago.

In May 2014, President Obama appointed Dec to serve on his White House Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, where he also serves on the White House Bullying Prevention Task Force. Dec’s educational background includes the University of Illinois, Chicago-Kent College of Law & the Harvard Business School. He has received numerous awards including “Excellence in Business Award” from the State of Illinois, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Community Leadership Award and Chicago-Kent College of Law Alumni Professional Achievement Award. Dec is also actively involved in philanthropic organizations like Best Buddies, Lookingglass Theatre, Asian Americans Advancing Justice...and formerly served as the Director of Cultural Relations for the Olympic Committee.

Dec writes his own blog about Chicago and its culturally rich entertainment landscape, where his contact info, press pages & upcoming events calendar are also posted, along with access to his heavily followed - &

Early life[edit]

Dec was born and raised in Chicago and went to St. Clement School for elementary and later, The Latin School of Chicago. Upon graduation, Dec attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he majored in Economics/Pre-Law.[1][2] During his time in college, he worked as a bouncer where he learned the ropes of the nightlife industry. After graduation, Dec got offered a full-time job as a promoter but turned it down to attend law school at Chicago Kent College of Law. During his first year of law school, he opened up his first club called Solo. While in law school, Dec went on to open Equinox Wine Bar, Dragon Room, Circus & The Bedroom. In 2009 Billy Dec married Katherine Stephans.

Rockit Ranch Productions[edit]

In 2002, Dec and business partner Brad Young formed Rockit Ranch Productions, a restaurant and nightclub development and management company specializing in entertainment marketing, promotions, branding, public relations and operations,.[3] Their first nightclub venture was Le Passage Nightclub and their first restaurant was Rockit Bar and Grill, a restaurant that featured rock music along with all American food. The company then went on to open more award-winning[4][5][6] venues like Rockit, Underground, Sunda, Rockit Burger Bar, Bottlefork, The Duck Inn and Otto Mezzo.

Charity Work[edit]

Dec is a supporter of non-profit organizations and charity events throughout Chicago, such as Make-A-Wish Illinois, The American Cancer Society, the Lookingglass Theatre Company,[7] and Maggie Daley’s (late wife of Richard M. Daley) After School Matters. He is known for his role on the Chicago 2016 Olympic committee as director of cultural relations[8] where he interviewed 60 celebrities to support the Olympics coming to Chicago.

Elston Films[edit]

In 2015, Dec launched Elston Films production company with Kat Stephans and Hollywood producers DeAnna Cooper and Kevin Cooper. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Elston Films is dedicated to creating inspiring content across genres & formats for a global audience. With a focus on storytelling and working with top talent, Elston Films is determined to help bring a larger part of the entertainment industry to Chicago through movies and television projects. On January 9, 2016 Elston announced the acquisition of Justin Kremer’s Black List script “Bury the Lead, about a talented journalist on a quest for a Pulitzer Price who fabricates the truth to create a compelling news story. But when his concocted conspiracy becomes real, right and wrong become entangled as his career, family and life are engulfed in murder and mayhem. On March 7, 2017, Elston Films announced Anthony Hemingway as the director for "Bury the Lead," their first feature film scheduled to be filmed in 2017 in Chicago.


Year Award Industry
2008 Midwest Emmy Award - | Outstanding Achievement for Informational Programs – Single Magazine Program, Program Series, or Segment (Nominated)[9] Television
2008 Nightclub & Bar Magazine's USA Operator of the Year (Won)[10] Nightlife and Hospitality
2009 Midwest Emmy Award - Outstanding Achievement for Entertainment Programs – Arts/Entertainment Program or Program Series (Broadcast/Advanced Media) (Won)[11] Television
2010 Byrne Piven Community Service Award[12] Community Service
2010 Chicago-Kent College of Law Professional Achievement Award[13] Law
2010 Illinois Secretary of State’s Asian Pacific American Business Leadership Award[14] Business
2010 Illinois Secretary of State Judy Baar Topinka Certificate of Appreciation for Excellence in Business Business
2010 Filipino American TV Asian American Hall of Fame Award[14] Television
2010 Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas' Asian Pacific American Entrepreneur Award[14] Business
2010 Cook County State Attorney's Asian Pacific American Community Leadership Award[14] Business
2015 Midwest Emmy Award - | Outstanding Achievement for Informational Programs – Single Magazine Program, Program Series, or Segment (Won)[15] Television


External links[edit]