Battleship Names Jack Willard Chief Executive Officer

Replaces the Retiring Phil Rowan as Leader of the World’s Greatest Battleship


(CAMDEN, NJ) – The Board of Trustees of the Home Port Alliance for the USS New Jersey, Inc. announced that longtime

marketing and sales vice-president Jack Willard will replace Philip P. Rowan as the Chief Executive Officer of the organization,

effective July 1st, which operates the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial.


Mr. Willard joined the Battleship as Vice-President of Marketing and Sales in November 2002, established annual marketing

plans and budgets, marketed and coordinated special events, managed public relations, and oversaw sponsorships at the

non-profit 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 of the Battleship. “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.”


Before joining the Battleship, Mr. Willard served as the Director of Marketing for the King of Prussia Mall, the largest retail

shopping center on the East Coast.  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. Likewise,  he has spent time on the

marketing staff for Tanger Outlet Centers, McArthur-Glen Realty, and Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc.


A Temple University graduate with a major in Journalism and graduated Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees, NJ,

Mr. Willard has been part of the Philadelphia-area Group Tours Association, participated in the Philadelphia Power Public

Relations group, is active with South Jersey Tourism and the Camden Waterfront Partnership.


For the past nine years, Phil Rowan’s service a CEO of the Battleship New Jersey has been outstanding. He announced his

intention to retire several weeks ago to the Board. Mr. Rowan, a Founding Member of the Home Port Alliance and served

as Treasurer, has led the multi-million-dollar teak deck replacement project at the 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 78-year-old Battleship

during his tenure at the Battleship.


“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 will host a Change of Command Ceremony aboard the ship on Thursday, July 1 at 10am. 

Media members are invited to attend.


The Battleship New Jersey is the nation’s most decorated and largest Battleship and now a museum and memorial on the

Camden Waterfront. The ship is open for tours every day from 11am to 3pm.  The ship has resumed hosting group tours and

special events and plans to re-open her highly successful overnight encampment program in the fall of 2021.