CEO Update – February, 1, 2023


2023 has already been exhilarating and challenging for the team across all initiatives (Battleship IOWA, National Museum of the Surface Navy, and LA Fleet Week). We exited a well-deserved holiday break with a renewed sense of purpose.

In the last quarter of 2022, the team gained a new sense of focus which made the entire organization stronger for the future. Earned revenue and donations remain vibrant, attendance exceeds pre-pandemic numbers, Escape The Mothball Fleet experience is booked almost every weekend, Camp Battleship youth overnights have returned, Vicky’s Doghouse Café is popular, and events are booking through 2023 and into 2024. The crew is poised to outperform the prior eleven years this year and I am incredibly thankful and proud of them!

Message from the CEO - Feb 2023
Food At Vicky's Doghouse

Despite finishing strong in 2022, the rare 2023 California storm temporarily took the wind out of our sails (so to speak) on a couple of fronts. As mentioned in my prior notes, the entire crew stepped forward to help secure the ship, fix leaks, and remove water which made its way into several areas aboard ship – including some of our offices.

Leading the efforts to secure the ship and clean up the resulting water is the very small staff of Dave Moser, George Musulin, Mary Ma-Stoddard, and Paco Olvera, our dedicated operations team working five or more days per week. I am confident that they are still recovering from their efforts. My deepest appreciation to this team for their leadership and commitment during the past challenging month!

Most of our crew is made up of volunteers, some of whom are full-time. Since this museum’s establishment, our “crew” has been based upon a volunteer family culture which empowers the diverse experience and knowledge of proud patriots. Virtual and in-person volunteers serve selflessly in all departments and throughout leadership without expectation of remuneration to be a part of change.

When challenges arise, our volunteer teams step forward and fulfill necessary roles. We have several recent examples of these instances: the 2023 storm recovery, Bob Watkins providing leadership to the security team, the formation of several committees, and special advisors that have participated in several critical projects and programs.

In the coming weeks and months, we will make several exciting announcements including generous pro-bono gifts, major contributions, special advisors, museum design Phase 2, new naming opportunities, and more. Several of these have come to fruition over the past month with many more planned in the coming months. Stay tuned!

The museum design committee met last week to explore the National Museum of the Surface Navy spaces which have already been demolished and have had infrastructure upgrades initiated to brainstorm creative ideas as we proceed into experience design.

The volunteer museum design committee is made up of several professionals and experts on experience design, visitor flow, innovative experiences, and creative impact. We are currently focused on the 30,000’ strategy level and as we dive into further stages, we will begin to involve additional expertise in assembling the details.

The development team continues to grow with our recent release of the John Paul Jones Legacy Society program.  Mel Hurwitz has led the charge in assembling a wonderful brochure and a beautiful certificate and is now updating the website with best-in-class information. Mel and Tanya Canfield have been sending out these brochures to numerous existing donors who may be interested in the planned giving program.

No need to wait to participate!  Reach out to Mel at today if you are interested in learning more.

Over the next couple of weeks, and in addition to daily duties, our team will accelerate our LA Fleet Week planning efforts, welcome extraordinary leaders to inspire several hundred youth at the Gravely Student Experience, and present the Surface Navy Museum capital campaign to several supporters.

As we approach mid-February, Iowa PBS will be hosting a couple of screenings in Waterloo, IA and Des Moines, IA of their USS Iowa documentary. Several veterans and members of today’s crew participated in the filming effort with a planned release date of March 1, 2023.

Depending on travel schedule, a few of today’s museum crew may attend these screenings to meet and greet viewers.

In 2023, our chairman retired RADM Mike Shatynski and I are both hopeful that we will have the opportunity to say hello whether it is onboard, at an event, or during our travels. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any comments, questions, or just to say hi.

My best wishes for an incredible couple of weeks!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO


P.S. Teams are set for the biggest football game of the year. We hear tickets to attend this match up in person will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of four grand, so come watch the Chiefs take on the Eagles on Sunday, Feb. 12th for free aboard your favorite battleship.

Our fantail boasts an incredible view of the busiest port on the west coast, Vicky’s will be serving its usual fare plus some game day appetizers and adult beverages… All we need now is you!

Click the button below for details and to let us know you’re coming!

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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