The winner of the first season of The Apprentice, Bill Rancic is a Chicago-based motivational speaker and real estate developer who stars, along with his wife, in the reality television show Giuliana & Bill. Bill travels frequently between Chicago, where he is from, and Los Angeles and is currently helping Hilton HHonors promote the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card he uses to accrue free stays and hotels and flights on participating airlines. Bill and his wife are currently expecting a boy.
When I wake up in the morning and see your skyline -- the terra cotta of the Wrigley Building, the height of the Willis Tower, the shiny sides of my beloved Trump Tower -- I know I'm home. I feel a certain energy walking between your spires, but recognize that what makes you special to me is that my roots are here.
I may have grown up in the suburbs, but I ran to you every weekend. There were so many ball games, parks and museums that I couldn't say no. In the summers you were impossibly packed. The streets were full and lively. In the winter, when you slept, I still visited as I waited for spring.
I never learned to refuse you, which makes me exactly like most people lucky enough to call you home. These days I spend a lot of time with my wife Giuliana in Los Angeles and I like to ask the people out there where they're from. Men who have been in California for 30 years don't hesitate before saying your name. They have a sense of pride because you aren't a fly-by-night city. Their grandparents, parents and children are from Chicago. Everywhere else is just a stopover.
When I won the first season of the Apprentice and was given the choice to work on a golf course in Palos Verdes, California or to help build a Trump skyscraper downtown, I didn't have to consider my options. A lot of people thought I was crazy to head your way, but I knew I could hit the ground running at home. When you build a building of that magnitude, you work with a lot of people and I was able to see you again through the eyes of engineers and architects and the guys who pour your concrete. We admired your clean lines together.
If I returned to places I'd always cherished, like the lakefront where I love to run, I also returned to opportunity. I built RPM Italian, a restaurant I frequent as much as I can, because that is what people from Chicago do. They build things.
You have an entrepreneurial spirit that is unmatched, a quality that I hope you will help me instill in my son. That is our future. You will help my wife and I raise our boy. Like me, he will always call you home.