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CEO Update 9 November 2022


As we near the end of 2022 and our families and friends get ready to celebrate together, our development team is gearing up to release our annual fundraising campaign, while the finance and leadership team prepares the 2023 plan and budget for board approval.

In 2023, our primary strategic focuses are:

  1. Expand our reach nationally to continue our pace to open Phase 1 of the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA on October 13, 2025.
  2. Achieve measurable progress in existing programs and services.

Additional details and highlights are included within the plan. The expectations for meeting of these goals that support the overall aim will be set forth and communicated by the management team to the rest of the crew. Our crew is an integral part of the implementation of our strategic focuses, and I am deeply appreciative for the longevity and support of several members of the team.

Unlike many major capital museum efforts, we are blessed with an already operational and successful top 5 Los Angeles Museum and tourist destination. This passionate supporter, advocate, and crew base that has come to call IOWA their second family has allowed us to pivot and expand to become a national level museum.

As we expand, we will no doubt experience growing pains, which will require everyone to draw together as a team. For us to achieve this expansion, we must unite as a dedicated community of proud patriots to spread the word on the importance of the surface Navy to the future of our nation.

Ironically, the Battleship IOWA’s nickname from the 1980s is ‘Big Stick’ and today, more than ever,  “speak softly and carry a big stick” matters. I have recently read numerous articles and studies on the current international climate and our Navy’s challenges in relation to budget and recruiting. They are concerned, and this situation must reverse course, especially with China beginning to test our resolve. Most worrisome is the impact on our society, should ocean commerce be hindered by action from a global power or piracy – 90% of cargo transitions the world’s oceans.

 At our present berth we have a front row seat to the western hemisphere’s busiest cargo complex, the Port of Los Angeles. There is no better place to raise public awareness about the importance of our sea services to our nation’s economy, freedom, and well-being. 

We have an obligation to our veterans to aid in their well-being, to educate – especially youth – on the role of the maritime world in our daily lives, and support our community through resiliency programs such as disaster preparedness, training, gatherings, and more.

I am impassioned about our nation’s sea services and their direct impact on me and my family, and I hope you are as well. We have received numerous inquiries from supporters and crew members who would like to assist. This support comes in a variety of forms, including raising awareness through speaking engagements, fundraising for the organization, hosting professional skills development sessions for crew, and general advocacy to their networks.

Over the past couple of years, we refined our supporter engagement by beta-testing new advisory committees with the goal of empowering passionate ambassadors. Through the process we learned how best to collaborate with and mobilize the fervency of our followers, advocates, and crew. 

In 2023, we will expand this program to include program and outreach advisory committees. These groups will officially be called the Ambassador Corps. Supporting the museum’s Ambassador Corps will be our newest crewmember Josiah Delgadillo, who comes to us from the LA Dodgers with experience in public engagement. We plan to release more information on this grassroots program within the next 30 – 45 days.

Development Coordinator Josiah Delgadillo

One of our newest committees has assembled several members of the crew. This cadre will provide feedback and advice from the deck plate. We received a lot of great input from them, including ideas on helping the team concentrate on our core priorities. 

This group plans to meet monthly and I suspect like our other advisory committees will grab traction and grow to become one of our most important. I hope that you will consider being involved in our Ambassador Corps once we officially release the program.

A couple of additional highlights for this week:

  • We have released a survey for those who have served in our nation’s sea services.  The purpose of this poll is to gather anonymous data on what inspired you, if a service member, to join the military. This information will help us to refine our museum strategy, as we expand on the initial concepts of the museum. If you are interested in providing your feedback, you can complete the survey by clicking the button below.
  • Over the past couple of months, I have received numerous inquiries on the status of a potential move to the SP slip, which would make the ship adjacent to the new West Harbor development. There are several components to this conversation – core elements being funding and prioritization by the Port of Los Angeles. If you are interested in learning more, you can watch a recent commission meeting in which this move was discussed.
  • This Friday, November 11th, we will host our annual Veterans Day event, which begins with a formal program at 0900 and is followed by activities, a resource fair, free veterans’ admission, as well as hot dogs, chips, and a drink for the first 1,000 veterans. This year’s event is planned by the Battleship IOWA Veterans Peer Access Network and Veterans West team. More details can be found here.

As I close out this message, my deepest appreciation for your continued advocacy.  As we approach the holiday season, I remain thankful to each of you for all that you have done for the museum. I hope you will continue to join me in supporting our critical mission in our annual campaign and in 2023, as we approach our goal of opening Phase 1 on October 13, 2025.

My best wishes for a safe and enjoyable week!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

Scuttlebutt Podcast | Episode 129

In our last episode we discussed our strategies for preservation. In this one CEO Jonathan Williams describes the direction we’re aiming for the next few years, leading up to the opening of the National Museum of the Surface Navy.

How do we stay relevant for the future? How do we deliver the message about the importance of freedom of the seas to this and future generations in a way that’s interesting and inspiring? How do we connect with our community and a more nation-wide audience? We get into all of that and more in this week’s Scuttlebutt.

Find it wherever you get your podcasts or here:

Or click below to access the YouTube version.

Support Veterans | Get Coffee

The Gaviña Family – founders and third-generation owners of Don Francisco’s Coffee – is committed to supporting the veterans and families we serve. They are generously helping us meet our goal of raising $25,000 by the end of the year in support of Veterans West, the military and veteran affairs department of Pacific Battleship Center, to help us provide important, impactful programming.

Click the link below to learn how your donation to Veterans West can result in coffee being delivered to your door for a year, so that you can enjoy the rich, bold, smooth taste of Don Francisco’s Coffee.

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to: Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731 Thank you to our 2021 donors for their generosity and support. Want to know how your donations are making a difference? Check out our ANNUAL REPORT here.
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