Select Page

CEO Update 19 January 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.

Update from CEO Jonathan Williams



Today, I returned to the ship following travels across the country for several meetings in the Washington, D.C. area and the Surface Navy Association conference. We had the opportunity to appeal for financial contributions from companies and individuals. Several showed interest in supporting the first museum to honor the contributions of our Surface Navy since 1775. 

The importance of our Surface Navy in protecting Freedom of the Seas for the past and future of our maritime-reliant nation is a message that resonates. We look forward to continuing to grow relationships and affiliations to ensure that the Surface Navy Museum is innovative and impactful when we open it on the 250th birthday of the Navy, October 13, 2025.

Traveling throughout the nation to meet with supporters would not be possible without our talented and dedicated crew. I feel blessed to be able to carry their message to supporters across the country and share their passion for the Battleship IOWA and Surface Navy Museum. 

During my travels, I have seen a diverse reaction to the Covid pandemic. It ranges from fully masked to no masks and everything in between. I have had the opportunity to interact with fellow travelers, leadership, and communities to gain an understanding of their insights on the Covid. Right, wrong, or indifferent, there is no doubt that each of us have our own opinions and feelings on the topic.

The pandemic has made significant impacts on our well-being, whether financial, social, or in terms of mental health. We have seen it affect our organization in ways that we never thought possible. Ultimately, it has made our crew more resilient, innovative, efficient, and effective. Thankfully, our crew embraces change and is flexible to ensure that we remain not only alive but vibrant in one of the most Covid-restrictive areas in the nation. I have a deep level of respect for each of you and your decisions to ensure your safety and health.

As we prepare for the Surface Navy Museum opening, we are focused on impact, experience, and growth while making knowledgeable decisions resulting in national-level actions. Over the past couple of years, Mike Getscher has led the charge in understanding Covid guidelines, compliance, and implementation for our organization. He has invested hours weekly, studying the guidelines, understanding the impacts, and implementing changes and protocol as needed. Unfortunately, he is not the most popular person when implementing, but he is doing his best to follow the protocol and provide an overview to the crew. He is thinking through decisions and the impacts they may have to our crew, visitors, and supporter base. I am grateful to him for taking on this very difficult task and taking the flak from those that may not have full visibility or understanding of the guidelines.

Mike’s primary daily role is COO and Chief Engineer, which is part of the senior leadership team that continues to charge ahead in the day to day functioning of our organization. The organization is diverse with seventeen different departments that deliver education, veterans, and community programs. We have a lot on tap for 2022 and it comes together due to the dedication of the entire team, including those from outwardly focused departments such as tour, education, veterans, sales, events, food & beverage, and operations; and administration departments including security, finance, technology, volunteer services, training, marketing, development, museum, communications, and radio. My personal thank you to each of you who lead and work within every department, as our growth and progress wouldn’t be possible without you.

This week we welcome back our electrician and resident guitarist George Musulin. He took a several-year hiatus to pursue other career opportunities, but the mystique of the ship and camaraderie of the crew was simply too impactful to not return to. I understand. We are excited to have George back as we embark on demolition and infrastructure improvements of the space that will be utilized for the Surface Navy Museum.

In the coming weeks, the operations team will initiate our annual hull preservation routine with two new painters coming onboard. I am asked on a regular basis about our decks. We are looking into a long-term solution for replacement.  Unfortunately, we have yet to come across a passionate donor that is willing to underwrite the up to $10 million price tag for deck replacement. 

We are passionate believers in maintaining the hull first, as failure to do so will rapidly result in deteriorating conditions from which it will be almost impossible to recover. We look at it as preventative versus reactionary, but we certainly haven’t forgotten about our decks. Fortunately, we have a small volunteer team and donor that underwrites the wood to restore or replace about 2,500 to 5,000 square feet annually.  

Our operation is much more dynamic than operations and maintenance and I don’t want to over amplify their efforts at the detriment of another department.

  • For example, technology has been focused on Plank Owner program improvements, bringing Lost at Sea back online, and ticketing kiosks.
  • Team members from different departments have been working on our new “mothball experience” (working name), which will be a cross of an escape room, scavenger hunt, and tour. Early tests of this experience have produced a lot of excitement. 
  • The accounting and finance team has implemented a new software system while concurrently doing year end financial closeout. 
  • Development is in constant communication with supporters and donors, while following up with important relationships that we build during our travels. 
  • The volunteer team continues to focus on growing impactful experiences and will be attending a multi-department meeting in the coming weeks on potentially including skill-based training in our education and crew experience. 

The list goes on and my apologies for only highlighting a few of our important efforts, as each department, crew member, and supporter is critical to the organization.

Your role as a supporter makes it possible for us to participate in meetings, presentations, and conversations on a regular basis. Spreading the word and advocating on behalf of the museum and the important role it performs in educating our public on the Surface Navy is critical to our success. I am deeply appreciative to each of you for always standing ready to support, to provide your thoughts and opinions, and for being a part of our community.

Stay safe and thank you for all that you do!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90731
Site developed by Wicked Code, Inc. and funded by The Edward E. & Marie L. Matthews Foundation •  Photos by Rick Stipa Photography
Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

Board & Crew Portal