CEO Update 1 February 2022

Honor A Loved One’s Legacy | National Museum Of The Surface Navy


Protect the stories of our forgotten sailors who fought for Freedom of the Seas. Commemorate your loved one by signing up as a Plank Owner of the National Museum of the Surface Navy. Learn more by clicking the button below.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Associated Foundations for granting the National Museum of the Surface Navy its first endowment to support ongoing museum operations. Your generous gift is instrumental to the transformation and further development of the museum.

For more information about how you can support the museum and its programs and operations, please contact Kyle Aube.

Update from CEO Jonathan Williams



I began this week aboard ship preparing for exciting meetings and opportunities. I continue to reflect on the numerous memories and people that have made it possible for me to be honored with the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, which our marketing team announced last week. 

Since that announcement, I have received numerous congratulatory messages from family, friends, and crew across the nation. I am deeply honored to have received this award, but it reflects equally on my family, our crew, and the numerous supporters who have made it possible for us to make transformative change with the Battleship IOWA, LA Fleet Week, and the National Museum of the Surface Navy. 

Over twenty years ago, I volunteered to help save the IOWA after her move to the San Francisco Bay area from Rhode Island. I volunteered for one simple reason… to see the same smile and reinvigoration in her veterans that I saw in my mourning grandfather when he visited the USS MISSOURI. 

At the time, I was twenty-six years old and living in Fremont, CA, pursuing my entrepreneurial proclivities in the dotcom and service industry. I was incredibly blessed to be able to enjoy the flexibility and freedom of being in business. I didn’t know at the time that I had stumbled onto one of my life’s passions.

During the journey to bring the ship to LA, I had the opportunity to work side by side with amazing and passionate individuals who simply wanted to do the right thing for veterans and our nation. They volunteered and gave selflessly without ever looking for anything in return, and I am privileged to be able to represent each of them when receiving recognition. There is no-doubt that the journey has been difficult, but it has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. Thank you for supporting our organization on this journey, thank you for making so many dreams come true, and thank you for simply being a trusted friend.

Last week we had the opportunity to revisit ten years of memories during our inaugural 10/10,000 celebration dinner, which celebrates 10 years of staff or 10,000 hours of volunteer service. I was proud to be a part of this group of dedicated individuals who continue to persevere despite the challenge. 

Ten year / 10,000 hour honorees at the celebration dinner

Back row (left to right): Craig Post, Jonathan Williams, Mike Getscher, Dave Way, Stan Sato, David Canfield
Front row seated (left to right): Nui Valletta, Vanessa Lewis, Sue Schmidt
Not pictured: Linda Ayers, Becky Beach, Bill Maggio, Catherine Moreno



In recognition of their service, we presented each of them with a personalized porthole and a commemorative belt buckle.  We are already planning our next 10/10,000 dinner to honor those who approach this milestone in 2023.

Over the past couple of weeks, the crew continued to push towards our goals with the initiation of seasonal hull work, Plank Owner integration with Together We Served, “Mothball Tour” progress, demolition of museum space, implementation of new accounting software, security support with the increased Covid testing, veterans program expansion and veterans art exhibit scheduled, education programs rescheduled, and relationship follow-up from SNA. 

Despite all the incredible progress, our regular museum attendance remains approximately 30% down from 2019. We recently reviewed studies which confirm visitor attractions will probably not see a rebound to normal attendance until 2023 or 2024. Thankfully your support, coupled with the diversity and impact of our veterans, education, and community programs make it possible to grow and make significant progress in opening the National Museum of the Surface Navy by 2025.

We have ramped up our planning efforts for 2022 LA Fleet Week, which has been permanently rescheduled to Memorial Day and will be a first-ever coast-to-coast Fleet Week (New York and Los Angeles). LA Fleet Week is a diverse event with mission alignment focused on exposing the public to our sea services, engaging service members in authentically-L.A. experiences, and strengthening our community through leadership seminars and disaster preparedness activities. 

Planning LA Fleet Week is not a small undertaking that involves numerous planning partners, including the City and Port of Los Angeles, USO, LA Fleet Week Foundation, US Navy, community affiliates, and our organization to bring it alive annually. I hope you will join us this year at LA Fleet Week for an appropriate kick off to the summer season.

Despite highlighting many activities, I have not mentioned several others which make our organization efficient and effective (this message would probably string on for pages if I did). We deeply appreciate your support whether it is financial, volunteerism, advocacy, forwarding our messages to friends, or simply following us online. You are the fuel that fires up our crew to accomplish impactful results. 

Thank you and best wishes for an incredible week!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

battleship iowa view from 09
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