The retired three-star general is named as the first CEO and president of the new Columbus attraction.
Michael Ferriter already has a funny line for introductions in his new home of central Ohio. When asked where he comes, he says, “Columbus,” then waits a beat before adding “Georgia.”
The retired lieutenant general might find himself repeating that line a lot in the next few months. This morning, he was announced as the first CEO and president of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, the much-anticipated new attraction under construction on the Scioto Peninsula across from Downtown Columbus.
“We looked at many different candidates, but without a doubt, Gen. Ferriter was our first choice, and we’re really pleased that he signed on to take on this large responsibility,” says Guy Worley, president and CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corp., the developer of the $75 million, 53,000-square-foot museum and memorial along the Scioto River.
Worley says several military leaders assisted in the candidate search that resulted in Ferriter, along with assistance from the search firm Korn Ferry, which has strong ties to the military. Ferriter was first approached about the job a month ago, and after a couple of visits to Columbus—his first trips to the city—he signed on for the job in early June. “I’m both humbled and happy as can be to have been selected,” Ferriter says. “I think it’s going to be an amazing facility but also an amazing platform for veterans.”
The NVMM’s mission is to go deep into the veterans experience. After initially being envisioned as an attraction for Ohio veterans, planners, including former Sen. John Glenn, expanded their vision to make this the first national veterans museum and memorial in the country celebrating the veteran experience rather than specific conflicts. “This isn’t a museum where you are going to see airplanes and tanks,” Worley says. “This is a museum that is going to focus on veterans’ stories: why they served, what they did during their service and how are they serving our country post military.”
Construction began in December 2015, and CDDC officials are now hoping to open in the fall before Veterans Day. In addition to the CEO position, NVMM leaders are also looking to hire a museum director who will handle the day-to-day operations of the institution.
Ferriter sees himself as serving as an ambassador for the organization, working with veteran groups, community leaders and the public to generate support and interest. He’s been impressed with his reception in Columbus so far. “This city will wrap their arms around the Ferriters, and the Ferriters will wrap their arms around everyone in the city,” says the retired three-star general, who has four adult children with his wife, Margie. “And we will make this an experience that was the vision of Sen. Glenn, and everyone who put blood, sweat and tears and thoughts into it.”