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CEO Update 29 June 2022


This week began with the quarterly meeting of our governing board of directors. We are deeply appreciative of the volunteer leadership and generosity that the members of our boards provide to advance our mission into the National Museum of the Surface Navy and preserve the Battleship IOWA.

Significant discussions this week included approval of a design contract for the Surface Navy Museum, crew (staff, volunteers, and interns) recruitment and retention, program successes in all three pillars (education, veterans, and community), increase in events and food and beverage revenue, hull preservation efforts, upcoming Freedom of the Seas awards dinner, and pending capital campaign requests for support. The audit committee presented our 2021 audited financial statements with deep appreciation to the finance and accounting team for their assistance.

The board and leadership had an in-depth conversation on the impact of fuel prices, inflation, and the local rental market on our staff. Needless to say we are concerned. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to listen to feedback from several supporters, crewmembers, and donors. Most of the conversations have been respectful and insightful; in some cases, they have provided a new viewpoint to assist in making better decisions. Thank you to those who reached out to provide feedback and willing to have a respectful conversation. 

Unfortunately, I have also received a limited number of personal attacks from a couple of supporters who voiced broad assumptions and generalizations with little to no factual knowledge about my personal beliefs and the crew. I write these comments to ensure all supporters know that the board(s), staff, and volunteers of this organization come from a diverse background representing constituencies across the country and spectrum. We respect each other’s thoughts, ideals, and opinions regardless of our personal positions and deeply appreciate your support.  

This coming weekend, we celebrate our ten-year anniversary since opening the ship as a museum at the Port of Los Angeles. It was unimaginable ten years ago that we would become an iconic Los Angeles landmark hosting veterans, education, and community programs which have transformed San Pedro and the rest of the region. 

Upon opening in 2012, we didn’t have basic utilities including water, sewer, or electricity and for several years operated on a diesel-powered generator and port-a-potties  As you can imagine, these conditions severely hindered our ability to host overnights, events, and a variety of programs which required these necessities. 

The challenges that the crew overcame were inconceivable, but the lifetime bonds created have been transformational. This Friday, we will revisit many of these memories during the 10th Anniversary Summertime BBQ. We still have tickets available if you are interested in hearing the stories, sharing the memories, and enjoying the fireworks.

Our evolution into the National Museum of the Surface Navy has been made possible because of the incredible supporter and crew network that take on challenges to accomplish the seemingly impossible. As we proceed on the design efforts of the museum, we look forward to updating you on the progress and by next quarter, aim to present an inspirational and visionary design to you. 

Concurrently, our team will lead the way with transformational, effective, and efficient programs to maintain the ship, support the crew, and offer impactful programming. Your contributions are essential to our continuing progress and I am deeply appreciative.

Thank you for your support, advocacy, and feedback.  Blessings for an incredible week and Independence Day celebration.

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

P.S. In this week’s podcast our producer, Marann Fengler, discusses her unusual path from professional figure skater to tall ship sailor to Battleship IOWA.

Click the photo below to access the podcast or find it wherever you get your podcasts.

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90731
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