Escape Pod, Cutters, Periscope: hires and promotions

Celia Jones

Celia Jones

The Escape Pod promotes Celia Jones to Chief Executive Officer

Celia Jones has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer at The Escape Pod.

Jones, who joined the Chicago-based independent agency as Brand Director in June 2016, will concentrate on growth, integrated capabilities, new revenue, and recruitment.

She will report to Norm Bilow, Co-founder and Managing Director of The Escape Pod Group, which has expanded from an idea-driven boutique to a full-service network of companies including digital agency ORA Interactive, experiential agency OutCold, Gravity Well editorial, and creative staffing service

According to Bilow, “no one is better at telling our story, articulating why we’re different, and setting the vision for our future than Celia.”

“As soon as Celia joined The Escape Pod, she made an immediate impact on our brand and business,” he explains. “Her insights and diverse expertise … helped us crystallize our story.”

In the past year, Jones has helped The Escape Pod earned recognition as Ad Age’s Midwest Small Agency of the Year and Chicago Inno’s 50 on Fire, a definitive rank of the city’s most innovative companies.

The agency also achieved significant year-over-year growth and several new business wins during her tenure and increased its expertise in digital, social, and end-to-end integration.

Prior to joining The Escape Pod, Jones held leadership positions at several Chicago agencies including Group Brand Director at Havas Chicago, Global Marketing Director at Critical Mass, and Director of Content and Lead Copywriter at Designkitchen.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Notre Dame and a Juris Doctor from Loyola University School of Law.

According to Jones, “there is no plaice I’d rather be” than The Escape Pod.

“Both clients and employees are hungry for an alternative,” she adds. “What we stand for as an agency is an escape—from ineffective advertising that fails to stand out, and from the waste, layers and politics of the bigger shops. “

Montross, newest Cutters Editor, promoted from within

Billy Montross has been promoted to Editor at Cutters Studios.

Recognized as a favorite among clients like DDB, Leo Burnett, mcgarrybowen, Ogilvy and We Are Unlimited, Montross got his foot in the door of the Chicago-based post house in 2012 by writing to Cutters’ Managing Director Craig Duncan about an internship.

Billy Montross
Billy Montross

After landing the job, he ascended the ranks under the guidance of Duncan and Managing Editor Grant Güstafson, who refers to Montross as a “great partner to me” and “a rare talent.”

“Billy is an incredibly creative and instinctive editor with an engaging and positive personality,” Güstafson says. “This allows him to provide beautifully nuanced edits while making the long hours extremely enjoyable and relaxed.”

Montross shares the enthusiasm.

“I’ve been extremely fortunate to be Grant Güstafson’s assistant for the better part of more than four years,” he says. “Having one of the planet’s best editors as a mentor is something any young editor would kill for, and I’m so grateful.”

Montross worked at Cutters Tokyo in 2015 and 2016, handling jobs for brands like Jeep, McDonald’s, Nissan and Suburu that, he says, “made me into a more rounded editor.”

His reel also features work for Capital One, Esurance, Fairfield Inn and Suites, McDonald’s, Oscar Mayer, Scotts, Spalding and Western Union.

Vocal supporters include two leaders from DDB Chicago. Executive Integrated Producer Debora den Iseger describes Montross as innovative, funny, kind, and hard working. Creative Director/Writer Zach Bonnan says that “(Montross) has exactly what creatives want in an editor.”

Montross says that, “there’s no better place for a young artist than Cutters.”

“One of Cutters’ greatest strengths is growing and cultivating young talent and giving them the tools to succeed.

Colorist Paul Galati jumps aboard Periscope Post & Audio

Colorist Paul Galati has signed on as Senior Colorist at Periscope Post and Audio.

Galati brings significant brand experience to the shop, which is located in the Cinespace Campus. His reel includes work for Google, Walmart, Claritin, John Deere, McDonald’s, Bayer, Jeep, Corona Light, Allstate, Hefty, Huggies, State Farm, & Nissan, as well as additional feature films and music videos.

Paul Galati
Paul Galati

Originally from St. Louis, Galati moved to Chicago in 2008 and gained experieince with places like Filmworkers, Company 3, and Cinema Light Co., before joining the Periscope team.

“Paul brings unmatched artistry and enthusiasm to an already amazing team of creative professionals at Periscope” said General Manager, Curtis Schmidt. “We are very lucky to have him.”

Adds CCO Michael Nehs, “We are very excited have Paul’s incredible eye as well as to better serve our clients by expanding to multiple locations for our edit and color services.”

In related news, Periscope will also be acquiring the Cinema Light Company office in downtown Chicago at the Two Prudential Plaza Building.