One word to describe this year’s class of Powerful Men: impactful. No matter the category, these men effect change in their communities and in many cases the entire state. Ingenuity, hard work and a drive to succeed have all played a part in their accomplishments, and we predict their efforts will endure for generations.


 

 

Photo by Beth Hall

Photo by Beth Hall

BUSINESS

CAMERON SMITH

President, Cameron Smith & Associates

 

Cameron Smith is founder and president of Cameron Smith & Associates (CSA), an executive search firm institution within the Wal-Mart supplier community.

Smith founded CSA in 1994. He and his team of 20 have created thousands of jobs and brought hundreds of Wal-Mart supplier offices to northwest Arkansas. In 2010, the company created its CSA Outplacement and Career Coaching division, which “assists companies during layoff and downsizing,” and opened a temporary staffing division. Last year, the company began an initiative to promote gender diversity by placing women on the boards of public companies.

Smith plays an active role in the Wal-Mart community and is involved in “efforts to enhance technology, international trade opportunities and higher-educational resources available to these companies.”

Q&A

Childhood nickname: Surfer Boy.

Hometown: Hermosa Beach, California.

First job: Selling peanuts at the Los Angeles Lakers games.

First big break: In 2003, my firm was awarded an executive search from Huffy Bicycle Company to recruit a national account manager to manage their Wal-Mart business. This break changed the strategic direction of my company.

One word that describes you: Tenacious.

Hobby: Collecting sports memorabilia.

Volunteer work: I serve/served on the board of directors of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute; Cancer Challenge; World Trade Center of Arkansas; Single Parent Scholarship Fund; the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce; and on the executive board of directors of the Northwest Arkansas Council. I also chaired the JDRF Walk and have been a speaker for events at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business; University of Central Arkansas College of Business; and John Brown University.

Who is your hero? My mother Phyllis. As a single parent, she raised three children and put us through private school, all while working three jobs.

What you love about what you do: I love helping client companies find leaders who will improve their organizations. I also derive a lot of satisfaction from helping talented people land good jobs that advance their careers.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? I spearheaded the conversion of girls’ softball from slow-pitch to fast-pitch in the state of Arkansas. In 1994, I organized the first Arkansas high school coaches’ meeting in central Arkansas to introduce, promote and convert the entire state from girls’ slow-pitch to fast-pitch softball. I backed up my vision by traveling the state for six years conducting free pitching clinics for more than 3,000 girls. Today virtually every high school in Arkansas plays fast-pitch softball.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? I have studied magic for years and use it to entertain my grandchildren.
As a child, I spent hours … surfing.

Do you have a personal motto? Never, never, never give up.

What is left on your “bucket list”? To write a book.

 


 

Photo by Janet Warlick

Photo by Janet Warlick

CAPITAL  INVESTMENT

AL HODGE

Executive vice president, lending, Arkansas Capital Corporation Group

 

Al Hodge heads the lending division of Arkansas Capital Corporation Group. He is a very active lender for the Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) Loan Program, the Certified Development Company/SBA 504 Loan Program, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program.

Hodge earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute of the University of Oklahoma. He’s also an Economic Development Finance Professional certified by the National Development Council.

He was honored as the SBA’s 1993 Financial Services Advocate of the Year for the State of Louisiana and the 2000 Financial Services Advocate of the Year for the State of Arkansas.

Hodge has a lifelong love of art and architecture and collects art. After meeting Robert Bean, owner of RB Fine Art, he become active in Little Rock’s 2nd Friday Art Night, which he said has become a great avenue for local artists and Arkansas Capital Corporation Group.

Q&A

Hometown: Lafayette, Louisiana.

First job: Grocery store clerk.

First big break: In 1989, a great man by the name of Phil Lank saw something in me and gave me a career in economic development finance.

One word that describes you: Optimistic.

Hobby: Gardening and collecting art.

Volunteer work: United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas.

Who is your hero? Ronald Reagan.

What you love about what you do: Helping small business owners grow their businesses and employ our local citizens.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?  Being happily married for 38 years, raising two beautiful daughters who married great men and having grandchildren.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know?  I donated one of my kidneys to my brother, so that he would live a better life.

As a child, I spent hours … daydreaming of art, architecture and history.

Do you have a personal motto? JUST DO IT! I used it long before NIKE.

What is left on your “bucket list”?  It’s too long to list here but not enough to worry about.

 


 

 

Photo by Janet Warlick

Photo by Janet Warlick

COMMUNITY

KEITH J. JACKSON, SR.

Founder and President, P.A.R.K.

 

Keith Jackson began his football career while in elementary school and continued through his graduation from Little Rock Parkview High School; he was a three-sport letterman. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree in 3.5 years from the University of Oklahoma. While there on a football scholarship, he played on the All Big Eight team three times and was named Athletic All-American twice.

In 1988, Jackson was drafted into the National Football League and played nine seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers. He was NFL offensive rookie of the year and the only first-year player to be selected for the Pro Bowl. He finished his NFL career with 441 receptions for 5,283 yards and 49 touchdowns.

While playing professional football, Jackson often visited his hometown of Little Rock and was dismayed by the violence and turmoil many of the city’s youth faced. He felt someone should do something to prevent the loss of tomorrow’s leaders. So he became that someone. His promotion of academic excellence, hope and strong values prompted him to found Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids, or P.A.R.K., a nonprofit organization to which he’s put his money, countless hours and heart into.

This year, P.A.R.K. is celebrating its 20th anniversary. To date, 375 youth have graduated from P.A.R.K.; 224 are currently in college or will enter this fall; 209 received scholarships from P.A.R.K.; 52 of those graduates have earned college degrees; four have master’s degrees; and 24 have entered the military.

Q&A

Childhood nickname: Tap H20, Big Tap, Baby Huey.

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas.

First job: At 9 years old, I mowed lawns and threw newspapers.

First big break: Becoming the starting quarterback for the Sunset Tigers at 9 years old.

One word that describes you: Faithful.

Who is your hero? My mother.

What you love about what you do: That I’m making a major impact in my community.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Establishing P.A.R.K.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? I LOVE country music.

As a child, I spent hours … visualizing being a great football player! I would throw the football to myself all day and see myself catching the winning touchdown.

Do you have a personal motto? It’s one I “borrowed”: If not me, who? If not now, when?

What is left on your “bucket list”? That’s still a long list, but I would love to spend a couple of months traveling Europe, specifically France, Italy, Greece and Germany.

 


 

Photo by Cindy Momchilov

Photo by Cindy Momchilov

CONSTRUCTION

CHARLES NABHOLZ

Retired General Building Contractor

 

Charles Nabholz began his career with Nabholz Construction and Supply Co., which was founded by his brother, Bob, in 1954. In 1962, he founded Con-Ark Builders, a merit shop general-contracting firm, and in 1979 merged it with Nabholz Construction.

That same year, Nabholz and his family moved to California, where he entered the real estate development business. They returned to Arkansas in 1981, when Gov. Frank White appointed him director of Arkansas State Building Services. He served in that capacity for two years, at which time he and his brothers Bob, Ed and Tom formed the partnership Nabholz Properties, a company that developed commercial property in central Arkansas. In 2000, he was elected chairman of the board for The Nabholz Group. He remained chairman until last year when he became chairman emeritus of the company.

He and his wife, Charlotte, have four children, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild will soon join the family.

Nabholz has served a number of organizations as a member of the board, including the Associated Builders and Contractors, Conway Corporation, Conway Regional Medial Center, Simmons Bank and United Way, and he currently serves on the boards of the Arkansas Research Alliance, Conway 2025 Vision, CHI St. Vincent Health System and the University of Central Arkansas Purple Circle.

Q&A

Childhood nickname: Charlie.

Hometown: Conway, Arkansas.

First job: with Nabholz Construction

First big break: When my dad relieved me of my commitment to stay on the farm, which led to my first, real paying job with Nabholz Construction.

One word that describes you: Optimistic.

Hobby: Golfing, travelling with my wife, Charlotte, and watching University of Central Arkansas Bear and University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Razorback games.

Volunteer work: Serving with the Faulkner County Community Foundation; Independent Living Services and numerous other boards and commissions.

Who are your heroes? My parents, Emil and Mary, who successfully raised 12 children on a small farm.

What you love about what you do: I enjoy promoting our company to prospective clients and seeing the projects emerge from start to completion and then hearing words of praise, especially about integrity, as clients describe their relationship with Team Nabholz.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? In 1964, convincing Charlotte to marry me.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? I was a single engine pilot and flew Cessna airplanes.

As a child, I spent hours … sitting on a bar stool in the kitchen, playing a cheap guitar and singing to my mother — she was the only one who would listen!

Do you have a personal motto? Look for the GOOD in everyone.

What is left on your “bucket list”? I’m getting toward the end of the list, but I would like to play Augusta National again.

 


 

Photo by Beth Hall

Photo by Beth Hall

ECONOMIC   DEVELOPMENT

MIKE MALONE

President and CEO, Northwest Arkansas Council

 

Mike Malone serves as president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, an organization established in 1990 to identify business-related challenges and solutions for the northwest Arkansas region. Malone has led this effort for more than nine years, working to solve issues involving infrastructure, economic development and education. In the past, Malone worked for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations and the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. While Pres. Clinton was in office, he served six years in the White House in various roles, including deputy assistant to the President for Management and Administration. From 2009 to 2013, Malone was a member of the Arkansas Lottery Commission.

Malone and his wife, Allyson, and their children Olivia and Mia live in Fayetteville, where he serves on a number of boards, including those of the Northwest Arkansas Community College Foundation; the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce; and the Arkansas Capital Corporation to name a few.

He was recognized as a member of the Northwest Arkansas 40 Under 40 class of 2007, the Arkansas 40 Under 40 class of 2008 and is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas Class VIII.

Q&A

Childhood nickname: Moses (after NBA superstar Moses Malone) — some of my childhood friends still call me this.

Hometown: Fayetteville.

First job: Afternoon game room attendant at the Fayetteville Youth Center.

First big break: Landing my first professional job out of graduate school at the White House through some Arkansas ties and very good timing.

One word that describes you: Persistent.

Hobby: I love the Razorbacks, and I’m a huge music fan.

Volunteer work: I serve on several volunteer boards, including the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences NW Regional Center Advisory Board, the NWA Naturals’ Advisory Board and Accelerate Arkansas’ executive committee.

What you love about what you do: We have the ability to bring people together to accomplish great things on behalf of our region.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? The spirit of regional collaboration that has developed — we’ve gone from competing against one another to working together.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? It may not be too surprising given that I worked at the White House, but I once got to fly on Air Force One; it was the trip the President made from Washington, D.C., to the grand opening of the NWA Regional Airport (XNA). That was a “bucket list” kind of event for me before I even knew what a bucket list was.

As a child, I spent hours … organizing and listening to my Dad’s — and eventually my own — record and cassette collection.

Do you have a personal motto? I don’t have one motto, but a phrase I find myself saying a lot is: “If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no.’”

What is left on your “bucket list”? To travel to Australia and to see The Cure in concert at least one more time.

 


 

Jeff Amerine

Photo by Beth Hall

ENTREPRENEUR

JEFF AMERINE

Principal, Startup Junkie Consulting

 

Jeff Amerine graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and earned a master’s of science degree in operation management from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF). He served six years in the United States Air Force as an officer in the Strategic Air Command, as a missile launch officer and in research and development acquisition. Amerine is also a certified Project Management Institute Project Management Professional.

He’s held “senior leadership positions in eight start-up ventures and three Fortune 500 companies,” and he has made more than 60 angel investments in ventures and leads through Startup Junkie Consulting. In addition, until this January, he served as associate vice provost, Research and Economic Development and Director of Technology Ventures at the UAF. Amerine teaches entrepreneurship at the UAF’s business college and is an advisor for Innovate Arkansas, a Winrock International program that is responsible for more than $235 million in financing for Arkansas-based startups.

He also hosts Retail Edge, a segment on the supplier development company 8th & Walton’s “Saturday Morning Meeting for Suppliers” show. It airs on YouTube and KNWA.

Q&A

Childhood nickname: Jeff.

Hometown: I was born in Topeka, Kan., but lived in Nebraska, Massachusetts, the Philippines, Oklahoma and Louisiana before my folks retired in Arkansas in 1975.

First job: Hauling hay.

First big break: Receiving an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

One word that describes you: Optimistic.

Hobby: Trail running.

Volunteer work: Serving as a Blue and Gold Information Officer for the U.S. Naval Academy.

Who is your hero? My dad, Bud Amerine, Lt. Col., USAF (ret). He is a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, flew 10,000 flight hours and is an inspiration to everyone who knows him.

What you love about what you do: Helping start-up founders grow and watching them succeed brings tremendous satisfaction. Seeing these companies change the world a little bit at a time is what gets me up in the morning.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? My marriage of 31 years, four great kids, two grandkids and one more on the way — my family is everything to me.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know?  I am shy.

As a child, I spent hours … drawing, writing stories and dreaming about being an astronaut.

Do you have a personal motto? As a leader, when things go well pass along all the credit. When things go poorly, take all the blame.

What is left on your “bucket list”?  If tomorrow were my last day, I would have no regrets. I’ve lived fives lives and feel very blessed. That said, my overall aspiration is to work everyday to move from success to significance.

 


 

Don Hale

Photo by Janet Warlick

MEDIA

DON HALE

Owner, The Diamond Agency

 

Don Hale, in 1996, formed The Diamond Agency. This advertising and public relations firm provides marketing services for associations in the financial, healthcare, manufacturing, trade and governmental affairs fields. He is publisher of Cloud 9 Magazine, the in-flight publication for Portland, Ore.-based SeaPort Airlines, and the El Dorado Insider’s Guide, which is published quarterly.

Hale, a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International, served on the board of AETN, Arkansas Educational Television Network, and for two years served as its chair. He has received several awards, including the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America as well as Entergy’s Teamwork Arkansas award.

He’s also lent his time to a number of organizations, including the El Dorado Development Commission and the United Way of Union County, as well as the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and Main Street El Dorado, two organizations for which he served as president.

Q&A

Hometown: El Dorado, Arkansas.

First job: Business equipment sales.

First big break: Partnering with Mike and Sydney Murphy to form The Diamond Agency.

One word that describes you: Resourceful.

Hobby: Collecting vintage advertising memorabilia.

Volunteer work: Boy Scouts, Main Street El Dorado and South Arkansas Symphony.

Who is your hero? Altruistic individuals who volunteer their time to help others.

What you love about what you do: I enjoy connecting the dots.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? My three great children.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? El Dorado native E. Fay Jones was my first advisor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

As a child, I spent hours … riding the oil field roads on a Honda trail bike.

Do you have a personal motto? Tell them, tell them what you told them and tell them again.

What is left on your “bucket list”? To master the art of photography.

 


 

Wixson Hurfstetler

Photo by Amy Long

MUNICIPAL

WIXSON HUFFSTETLER

Director, Jonesboro Parks and Recreation

 

Wixson Huffstetler grew up in Jonesboro, Ark., playing sports. He played golf while attending Jonesboro High School and made All-State in basketball and golf each of his four years there. He earned a full scholarship to and earned a degree in sports management from Arkansas State University. While in college, he was a three-time Sunbelt All-Conference player; a two-time Academic All-American; and he also won two college tournaments, and tied for first in three others.

Huffstetler played professional golf on mini-tours across the United States for four years before returning to Jonesboro and accepting his current position. He’s served the city for four years and recently oversaw completion of the new Miracle League Park, a $3.2 million facility. It’s the world’s largest ball field and has one of the largest Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible playgrounds in the country.

Huffstetler, a graduate of Leadership Jonesboro 2014, and wife Erica have a son.

Q&A

Childhood nickname: Huff.

Hometown: Jonesboro, Arkansas.

First job: Sales rep for North East Business Today Magazine.

First big break: My first date with my wife.

One word that describes you: Committed.

Hobby: Golf, hunting, fishing, sports.

Volunteer work: I serve on the: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission advisory panel; Downtown Jonesboro Association board; Friends of NEA Baptist committee; Arkansas State Golf Program board; St. Bernards Hospital Advocates committee; Downtown Jonesboro BBQ Fest board; Arkansas Recreation & Parks Association board; Urban Forestry Council; Jonesboro Baseball Booster Club; and City Stars Booster Club.

Who is your hero? Payne Stewart.

What you love about what you do: Seeing the kids’ smiles at the end of the day.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Building the world’s largest Miracle League facility; it’s an all-handicap-accessible playground and ball field.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? I love to watch reality TV shows.

As a child, I spent hours … playing golf and duck hunting.

Do you have a personal motto? “Don’t tell me how it can’t be done, tell me how it can be done.”

What is left on your “bucket list”? To go skydiving, to attend the NCAA final four, play golf in Scotland and get a pilot’s license.

 


 

Aaron Reddin

Photo by Janet Warlick

NONPROFIT

AARON REDDIN

Founder and President, The One Inc.

 

Aaron Reddin grew up in the Arkansas River Valley — he split most of his youth between Danville and Russellville. He moved to Little Rock nine years ago and spent several years running local shelters; as a result, he saw a severe lack of shelters. With a belief that no Arkansan should be homeless, Reddin loaded “his tiny car with any supplies he could find and hit the streets looking for neighbors in need,” people who could use a friend.

Just four years later, those meager efforts have evolved into a non-profit called The One, Inc. The organization started as The Van, an old donated cargo van that Reddin packed full of everything from food to clothing and hygiene supplies. With a mission to be mobile and find ways to help defeat homelessness, The One, Inc., now operates four mobile units across Arkansas: The Van serves central Arkansas; the Mission Machine serves Searcy and White County; The Russ Bus serves Russellville and the River Valley; and The River Giver serves Batesville and Independence County.

The One, Inc. also operates an urban farm in North Little Rock, where fresh foods are grown for the homeless. Reddin plans to eventually employ some of the folks The One serves to grow food for their peers.

In 2014, The Van purchased and opened a house in central Arkansas for homeless women and children — shelter beds are extremely hard, if not impossible, for women and mothers to find immediately. Several women have already defeated homelessness by way of this house. Plans and fundraising are underway for a 12-unit transitional living facility in Russellville.

Q&A

Hometown: Danville, Arkansas.

First job: Chicken catcher.

First big break: I got to be on the “Dr. Phil” show in 2012.

One word that describes you: Unconventional.

Hobby: I’m a workaholic, but I try to fish, when I can.

Volunteer work: My work with The One, Inc. was volunteer for the first two years. Rapid growth forced me to do this work full-time and take a paycheck last year. I also serve as a board member of another awesome local non-profit called The People Tree.

Who is your hero? The late, great Dennis Beavers, who pioneered love and community for our homeless neighbors in central Arkansas.

What you love about what you do: Everything but the paperwork! There’s really nothing like getting to be in the middle of so many people who need help and so many people who want to help.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? I hate to see people as accomplishments, but every time someone holds up a new key to his own place … .

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? I’m the biggest introvert you’ll ever meet.

As a child, I spent hours …  doing everything I knew I shouldn’t!

Do you have a personal motto? “Work hard and play hard. As often as you can, do them at the same time.”

What is left on your “bucket list”? Getting every Arkansan inside, and dancing with Ellen DeGeneres.

 


 

Photo by Janet Warlick

Photo by Janet Warlick

POLITICS

EDDIE L. ARMSTRONG

State Representative, Arkansas House of Representatives
Territory Sales Manager, Pathology Partners Toxicology Lab

 

Eddie L. Armstrong III is serving his second term representing District 37 in the Arkansas House of Representatives; he is House Minority Leader. He previously served as special assistant to former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick H. Hays, acting as a liaison for the city’s residents, city departments and committees.

A native of North Little Rock, Ark., Armstrong earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was elected Student Body President. He was the second African American to do so in the college’s history.
He’s also founding partner of Armstrong & Davis Consulting, Inc. Through this firm, Armstrong has “brokered working relationships with legislators and organizations and worked with the Office of Inclusion and Diversity at Tyson Foods.”

He served as manager for state government affairs for Tyson Foods from 2003 to 2006 and served as a representative for the company to the Corporate Roundtable of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.

Armstrong is an advocate of preventing juvenile delinquency and enhancing character development in children. He also volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club of America and was mentioned in actor Denzel Washington’s book A Hand to Guide Me. He also serves on the boards of the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas; the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance; and the Argenta Downtown Council.

He and wife Sherra make their home in North Little Rock.

Q&A

Hometown: North Little Rock, Arkansas.

First job: Working in CJ’s Hardware Supply Store in Gravel Ridge, Arkansas.

First big break: Working at Tyson Foods, Inc. at the age of 24.

One word that describes you: Persistent.

Hobby: Cooking, grilling.

Volunteer work: Mentoring youth and young adults/college students, in addition to speaking engagements.

Who is your hero? My mother, Jackie Armstrong.

What you love about what you do: I have the opportunity to impact change on a broad scale.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? I realized at an early age I am effective. I’m able to work with people across the board to make effective change.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? At the age of 14, I applied for and received a grant to fund landscaping and playground equipment for my childhood neighborhood.

As a child, I spent hours … helping others more than I helped myself.

Do you have a personal motto? From straight Fs to 3 Fs: Fun, Focus, Finish.

What is left on your “bucket list”? I’ve not yet reached 40, so there’s still a lot left on the list!

 


 

Mike Knoedl

Photo by Janet Warlick

SPORTS

MIKE KNOEDL

Director, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

 

Mike Knoedl was born and raised in Pulaski County, Arkansas. He began his career with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission in 1985. Prior to becoming the director of the commission, he once served as a wildlife officer and most recently was the agency’s deputy director.

He and wife Lisa have four adult children and a granddaughter.

Q&A

Childhood nickname: Mike.

Hometown: Scott, Arkansas.

First job: Working on Sims Farms.

First big break: Being hired at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

One word that describes you: Independent.

Hobby: Hunting and fishing.

Volunteer work: I coached Little League and American Legion baseball.

Who is your hero? My grandpa.

What you love about what you do: I love serving the people of Arkansas.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? My kids and how they have turned out.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? I like to dance with my granddaughter, who is almost 2.

As a child, I spent hours … hunting and fishing.

Do you have a personal motto? People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

What is left on your “bucket list”? A trip to Alaska with my wife, Lisa.

 


 

Steve Arrison

Photo by Janet Warlick

TOURISM

STEVE ARRISON

Chief executive officer, Visit Hot Springs

 

As CEO of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission (A&P), Steve Arrison manages Visit Hot Springs; the Hot Springs Convention Center; the Bank of the Ozarks Arena; the Hot Springs Film Office; the Hot Springs Mountain Tower; and the Hot Springs Visitor Information Center. The A&P oversees an $8 million annual budget, which was used to attract more than 3 millions visitors to the city in 2014.

Arrison’s mission is to bring an ever-increasing number of visitors to Hot Springs. He has initiated and established several events, including the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade; the Hot Springs $75,000 Fishing Challenge; and the Stueart Pennington Running of the Tubs, in which teams build and race bathtubs down Central Avenue. He established the Hot Springs Historic Baseball Trail, which won an Arkansas Historic Preservation Award in 2014.

Arrison’s dedication to the city has been recognized numerous times: he was named Tourism Person of the Year by the [Arkansas] Governor’s Conference on Tourism; the Arkansas Communicator of the Year; and is a member of the Arkansas Hospitality Association Hall of Fame. He’s also received the Arkansas Community Development Award.

Arrison served three, five-year terms on the Arkansas Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission; has been chairman of the Arkansas Hospitality Association and president of its travel council; and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.

Q&A

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee.

First job: Restaurant receiving clerk in a Holiday Inn.

First big break: I have had so many I can’t pick just one. I have been incredibly lucky to have people who have believed in me every step of the way during my career, even at times when I did not believe in myself.

One word that describes you: Motivated.

Hobby: Reading.

Volunteer work: Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer, but I do help out with the Downtown Merchants Association, our Sister City Program, and the Spa City Blues Society whenever I can.

Who is your hero? My father — he set a great example for me to follow. I miss him every day.

What you love about what you do: I love the interaction with different people; each day is totally different and exciting.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? That the citizens of Hot Springs had the confidence in our organization to expand the Hot Springs Convention Center not once, but twice, during the last 18 years.

What’s one fact about you that others would be surprised to know? I once signed a one-day contract with a professional basketball team in the Global Basketball Association (GBA), a now defunct league.

As a child, I spent hours … playing basketball.

Do you have a personal motto? You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take.

What is left on your “bucket list”? I have been to many great places but never to Montana, so a trip to Montana. Also, a friend has convinced me to sky dive with him one day — that could be the last thing on my bucket list!

 


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