Cella, Ott inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame
Hot Springs, horses and hotels are the backgrounds of Louis Cella and Bill Ott who were inducted Monday (Feb. 28) into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 48th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism being held in Fayetteville.
The Hall of Fame honor is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have been actively involved in Arkansas’s tourism industry for many years and who have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry as a whole, according to Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
Cella was born in St. Louis in 1965 to Charles and Susan Cella. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington and Lee University in 1987, and he earned a law degree in 1990 from the University of Arkansas School of Law. In 1989, he began working in his family’s businesses, Southwestern Enterprises, Inc. and the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. Cella is the fourth generation of his family to head Oaklawn, which was founded in 1904
Jobs he held in business and his civic life include: chairman of the board/president of Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Southwestern Enterprises, Inc.; chairman of the board/director of The Muny (St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre); chairman of the board/director of Arkansas Cancer Research Center, now known as the Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute; director of National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; member of The Jockey Club; and director of Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation.
Cella and his wife Rochelle live in Ladue, Mo., and have two children.
Ott was born in Chicago in 1950 to William and Betty Yvonne Jester Ott. He moved with his family in 1955 to Hot Springs, where he graduated high school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972 from the University of Central Arkansas, and also served two years in the R.O.T.C. program.
Ott’s career in communications, marketing and hospitality including being news and sports director for KBHS Radio, an account executive at Pittman & Associates where he was creative marketing director on the accounts for the Hot Springs Advertising & Promotion Commission, Magic Springs Family Fun Park, Hot Springs Mountain Tower and Mid-America Museum.
Ott was also director of convention sales for the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, and director of group sales, guest relations and media relations for Oaklawn Jockey Club before taking on that same role for The Bathhouse Show in Hot Springs. He recently retired from his position as marketing and communications director of 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa and the 1905 Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs, a position he held for more than 20 years.
His committee and board work includes Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Club; Hot Springs National Park Rotary Club; Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce; Eureka Springs Group Travel Committee; Historic Hotels of America; Eureka Springs Rotary Club; Eureka Springs City Council; Arkansas Municipal League’s Economic Development Advisory Council and the University of Central Arkansas’s Alumni Association.