Founding CEO & President of National Veterans Museum & Memorial Announced Today
With the National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) nearing completion, the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) have announced who’ll lead as its founding CEO & President. Lieutenant General Michael Ferriter (U.S. Army, Retired) has been appointed and begins his position immediately. His duties include spreading awareness about the new museum, building the team that will run the institution, and debuting NVMM to the public this fall.
“We think we can impact America by infusing the veteran spirit, innovation and leadership,” Ferriter said. “When you get a veteran involved, they’re hardwired to fix things. They’ve been brought up to take charge and be a teammate.”
Ferriter grew up in an army family. His father was an infantryman who started as a private, attended Officer Candidate School, and retired as a colonel. When he was of age, Ferriter eventually attended military school himself, specifically The Citadel in Charleston, SC, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Ferriter later earned his Master’s degree in Administration from Central Michigan University, and attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University as a Senior National Defense Fellow.
Ferriter was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1979 and proceeded to spend his first 20 years of service in an infantry battalion, until he was promoted out — “That really endeared me to being with soldiers and caring for soldiers and caring for their families and understanding them,” Ferriter said.
In the latter part of his career, Ferriter began what he called “transformational” jobs. He brought the U.S. Army Armor School from Fort Knox to Fort Benning, combining them to create the Maneuver Center of Excellence. He was also the commanding general of the Installation Management Command, which handles the day-to-day operations of the 75 U.S. Army bases in 17 time zones around the globe.
Since retiring, Ferriter started a consulting company, Ferriter Group LLC. His role at the company will likely lessen as he starts his new position at NVMM.
Until now, Ferriter and his wife Margaret have been between Columbus, GA and Tacoma, WA, visiting Columbus, OH just a handful of times during the NVMM application process. Ferriter said though his time in the city has been short, he already considers this Columbus his new home.
He also shared why he thought Columbus is the best spot to have a national museum and memorial dedicated to veterans.
“First of all, this city cared enough to build it. This city cared, and they’ve done it right,” Ferriter said. “It’s not something that was imposed on the city, and now the city has to buy into it and find a way to work it into the rhythm. Instead, it’s a part of the vibrant life of the city, and you can see the future plans as well and how it will fit in there.”
The 53,000 square foot museum and 2.5-acre Memorial Grove are the execution of the vision originally imagined by retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel and late Senator John Glenn, who was the founding chairman of the Veterans Advisory Committee.
During the museum’s conceptualization, the advisory committee arranged focus groups of veterans to learn what they wanted to see in a veterans museum. What the committee found was that veterans were interested in connecting everyday citizens to the stories and experiences of those who have served. Therefore, rather than tanks and airplanes, visitors to NVMM are more likely to see narrative films, as well as artifacts that include personal belongings. A separate “Remembrance Room” will be dedicated specifically to soldiers who “made the ultimate sacrifice and never got to come home.”
Outside, the Memorial Grove will be home to a 300-plus-foot memorial wall and a reflecting pool with fountains.
The project has gotten more than $82 million in funding through private philanthropy and public partnerships, with $75 million dedicated to erecting the building itself and the rest designated for startup costs.
Construction is nearing its end, and CDDC CEO & President Guy Worley said they’re aiming for an opening date prior to Veterans Day, which is November 11.