President, Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce/Tourism Office
Ponca City, Okla.
Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics, 1981
After graduating from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Rich Cantillon enjoyed a successful photography business for 15 years in Blackwell before serving as president of the Blackwell Area Chamber of Commerce. He spent a few years at the Blackwell chamber before joining the Ponca City chamber.
In 1994, Cantillon was selected as Blackwell’s Outstanding Citizen, and in 2008, he was selected as the Chamber Executive of the Year for the State of Oklahoma.“I am very proud of this accomplishment,” Cantillon said. “There are 250 chambers in the state, and it was a great honor to be chosen!”
In addition to his awards, Cantillon has worked with the youth in his church for more than 25 years, and he serves on various boards in Blackwell and Ponca City. He also has served as president of the Northwestern Alumni Association, on Rotary Clubs in both Blackwell and Ponca City and on the Jaycees.
He teaches Chamber Management classes with the State Chamber of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Center for Excellence Chamber Outreach and is a regent for the U.S. Chamber Institute Program on the University of Arizona Campus in Tucson.
In his spare time, Cantillon spends time with his wife, Pam, of 29 years and their three children, Austin, Nichole and Colby. Austin will soon enroll at Kansas State University; Nichole attends Northwestern; and Colby is a freshman at the University of Oklahoma.
Recalling his time at Northwestern, Cantillon said he liked how friendly everyone was on campus.
“My instructors were outstanding,” he said. “I was involved in Sigma Theta Kappa Fraternity and really enjoyed that aspect of Northwestern.”
Although Northwestern was not his first choice, Cantillon admits now it was the best choice.
"My first choice was the University of Oklahoma,” he said. “My parents did not want me to go to such a large university. They said go one year to Northwestern and then you can transfer to OU. After one year I did not want to transfer.”
He said Northwestern prepared him to achieve his goals in both his photography business and his positions as chamber president. He continues to hold a very special place for Northwestern in his heart and keeps lots of Northwestern memorabilia in his office to show off his Ranger Pride.
“When people see my Ranger stuff in my office and ask me about Northwestern, I share my memories and the joy I had attending this great university!” Cantillon said. “Ponca City has a lot of Northwestern Alumni.”
Some of his fondest memories are of former journalism instructor Wayne Lane and the Northwestern News, as well as Sigma Theta Kappa Fraternity and the Student Government Association.
To sum it all up, Cantillon said of being a Ranger, “It is who I am! I am proud to say I graduated at Northwestern – Alva! Ride, Rangers, Ride!”
Some of Rich's Favorites:
Hobby – watching football
Color – I have two, red and black
Type of Music – classic rock
Music artist – Kansas
Book – Padre Pio
Food – any kind of Mexican food
Movie – True Grit
TV Show – Amazing Race!
Actor – like a lot of them
Actress – same thing …
Season – Fall
Drink – Margarita!
Favorite Sport to Watch – football
Pet or animal – dog
Favorite Toy as a Child – Tonka truck
Favorite Car – Mustang
Favorite Flower – rose
Favorite Day of the Year – Christmas
Vacation Destination – anywhere in Oklahoma!
Favorite Inspirational Quote – “In the end it is not the years in your life that matter but the life in your years!"