Longtime Marketing and Sales Vice President Jack Willard will replace Philip Rowan as the chief executive officer of the organization Battleship New Jersey, a museum and memorial on the Camden Waterfront that when active was the most decorated and largest battleship in the country.
Willard joined the organization in November 2002 and has since established annual marketing plans and budgets, marketed and coordinated special events, managed public relations, and oversaw sponsorships at the nonprofit museum ship.
“Jack has been a longtime trusted public steward of the Battleship New Jersey. There is no one more qualified and fitting person to serve as our next CEO,” said Marshall Spevak, chairman of the board of trustees. “Over the past 18 years, Jack has proven himself time and again by developing successful annual events, creating impactful advertising and promotions, and has generated a tremendous amount of positive media exposure for the ship. Jack has always put the guest experience first and will be a tremendous leader for the staff and volunteers.”
Prior to joining the Battleship, Willard served as the director of marketing for the King of Prussia Mall, a mega mall in Pennsylvania. He also worked as director of marketing for Samsonite Company Stores, handling marketing programs for over 200 retail luggage and travel stores across the country.
Willard has been part of the Philadelphia-area Group Tours Association and is active with South Jersey Tourism and the Camden Waterfront Partnership.
Rowan announced his intention to retire a number of weeks ago to the board of trustees after serving as CEO for nine years, a July 1 announcement said.
During his tenure, Rowan led the multimillion dollar teak deck replacement project at the 78-year-old Battleship, coordinated the painting of the ship’s hull by the painters from the local union, and added an efficient gas heating system to the ship.
“Phil has been a tremendous leader to the crew at the Battleship, and we are incredibly grateful for his passion, dedication, and support of the ship,” said Dennis Levitt, vice chairman of the board of trustees. “He has piloted the ship through some very rough seas, including a global pandemic, and has her moving forward full steam ahead. He’s handing Jack all the tools so that he will be more than ready for all future challenges.”
The crew of the battleship hosted a Change of Command Ceremony aboard the ship at 10 a.m. on July 1. The ship is open for tours every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The ship has resumed hosting group tours and special events and plans to reopen her highly successful overnight encampment program in the fall of 2021.