Steve Hillard

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Steve Hillard a.k.a. Stephen Hillard is a private equity entrepreneur, attorney, author, and television producer.

Biography[edit]

Stephen Hillard was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana and Grand Junction, Colorado. He graduated from Colorado State University and later earned a degree in philosophy at Columbia University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado. During this period, Hillard was also a teacher at Rikers Island Prison, a welder, a carpenter, and an accomplished hitchhiker, crossing the country multiple times. He is the founder and head of Council Tree Communications, a private equity fund involved in the entertainment and telecom industries. He resides with his wife, Sharmaine, in Grand Junction, Colorado.


After graduating from law school in 1976, Hillard clerked on the Colorado Supreme Court for Justice William H. Erickson. He decided to begin practicing law in Alaska because it was still a frontier and experiencing the “Pipeline Boom”. While in Alaska, Hillard was a partner in the law firms of Graham and James (San Francisco) and then Munger, Tolles and Olson (Los Angeles). He served as General Counsel and Vice President of Resources for Cook Inlet Region, Inc., one of the most successful Alaska Native Corporations. While at Cook Inlet, he also served as the COO of Cook Inlet Broadcasting, the largest minority-controlled radio and television owner in the United States at the time. He pioneered the entry of Alaska Native Corporations into the wireless telecom business, creating the largest minority-owned wireless business in the country, and developed a natural gas marketing company that became the largest minority-owned business in California.


In 1997, Hillard founded Council Tree Communications, a private equity fund, with the goal of enhancing diversity of ownership in the communications industry. In fulfilling that goal, he developed transactions that brought the first Native American ownership into the control group of Telemundo [ftn], then the nation’s fastest-growing television network, as well as assisting Alaska Native Corporations to form partnerships with major telecom providers across the U.S.[1] [2] [3][4]


Hillard continues as the President of Council Tree, which actively develops investment opportunities in the communications sector.


In 2011, Hillard published his first book, "Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien." It was immediately involved in controversy. The Tolkien Estate sought to ban the book, sending a letter saying "At no time have our clients granted permission to use the name and personality of JRR Tolkien in the novel, nor would they in any foreseeable circumstances" and claiming that "unlawful commercial advantage" has been taken of the estate's "valuable rights." The Trust wanted destruction of all copies of Hillard's book and threatened legal action to obtain damages." [5][6][7] Mr. Steve Hillard responded with a lawsuit in federal court. The dispute received international attention, including articles in the London Guardian, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Christian Science Monitor. The dispute was settled in May 2011.[8] The solution was release with modified reference to Tolkien on the cover and the disclaimer, "This is a work of fiction which is neither endorsed nor connected with The JRR Tolkien Estate or its publisher." Mirkwood went on to become an Amazon Fantasy Best Seller, recipient of a national IPPY Award, and was published worldwide in Spanish by an imprint of Planeta.


After the success of Mirkwood, Mr. Hillard formed Mirkwood Partners with Joel Eisenberg [ftn], to create and produce content for television and movies.


An epic spin-out of Mirkwood's main fantasy character, Ara, is in development as an eight-volume series co-authored with Joel Eisenberg. Mirkwood and this forthcoming series are the subject of an agreement with the Ovation Network to create a TV series.[9] A fully developed television series, Herbie Pilato’s Then and Now, Executive-Produced by Mirkwood Partners, is scheduled to begin distribution in major markets through Decades TV, a digital broadcast network jointly owned by CBS Corporation and Weigel Broadcasting, in 2017.[10] [11]


Another television series, Farway Canyon, based on a comic book co-authored and produced with Dennis Nowlan [ftn], has been announced by Anthony Ferrante, director of the iconic Sharknado movies, as his next project.[12]


A novel by Hillard, entitled: KNOLL: The Last JFK Conspiracist, is scheduled for release in hardcover by Select Books (NYC) in June, 2017.


Hillard makes his home in Grand Junction, Colorado with his wife, Sharmaine.


List of works[edit]

  • Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien ISBN 0-615-31254-3 (2010-01-18)
  • KNOLL: The Last JFK Conspiracist, Select Books, ISBN pending.
  • Farway Canyon with Dennis Nowlan, Select Books, ISBN pending.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alaska Native Wireless
  2. ^ Whitefield, Mimi. "Eskimos & Telemundo." The Miami Herald. September 1, 2000.
  3. ^ Ramachandran, Linebaugh, and Knutson. "Behind Dish Wireless Coup, Ties to Alaskan Native Groups." The Wall Street Journal. 3 February 2015. https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-dish-wireless-coup-ties-to-alaskan-native-groups-1423017463
  4. ^ Ramachandran, Shalini. "More on Stephen Hillard, the Investor Behind Dish Network's Spectrum Win." The Wall Street Journal. 4 February 2015. https://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2015/02/04/more-on-stephen-hillard-the-investor-behind-dish-networks-spectrum-win/
  5. ^ "JRR Tolkien novel Mirkwood in legal battle with author's estate Texas case will contest the right of Tolkien's literary estate to block fictional use of the Lord of the Rings author's name". The Observer. 2011-02-26. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  6. ^ "Novelist Sues Tolkien's Estate Over Book Featuring 'Hobbit' Author". Courthouse News. 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  7. ^ "JRR Tolkien Estate Threatens Lawsuit Over Book Featuring Tolkien As Character". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  8. ^ "JRR Tolkien Estate Settles Dispute Over Novel Featuring Tolkien As Character". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  9. ^ Friedlander, Whitney. "‘Chronicles of Ara’ Miniseries in the Works at Ovation". Variety Media. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Pilato, Herbie J. (16 November 2016). "Decades TV Greenlights Then Again with Herbie J Pilato." [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://herbiejpilato.blogspot.com/2016/11/decades-tv-network-spotlights-classic.html
  11. ^ Blitz, Stefan. "Decades TV Network Spotlights Classic TV Talent With Herbie J Pilato's 'Then Again'." Forces of Geek. 18 November 2016. http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2016/11/decades-tv-network-spotlights-classic-tv-talent-with-herbie-j-pilatos-then-again.html
  12. ^ Yanes, Nicholas. SciFi Pulse. January 10, 2017. "Sharknado" Director Anthony C. Ferrante Enters Nowlan and Hillard's "Farway Canyon" [Press Resease].


External links[edit]