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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
 
South Jersey

Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Ship museum's skipper offers enthusiasm, `sense of realism'

More information:
  • Complete Courier-Post battleship coverage
  • Official USS New Jersey home page

  • By CAROL COMEGNO
    Courier-Post Staff
    CAMDEN

    Walking along the Delaware River promenade dressed in a business suit and shoes polished to a high shine, Troy Collins sometimes spots litter near the USS New Jersey.

    He routinely bends over, picks it up and tosses it in a trash can on his way to his destination.

    A presentable appearance at the entrance to the historic battleship is just as important as major business decisions to the new president and CEO of the battleship New Jersey Memorial and Museum.

    He has set a course to keep one of the world's four largest battleships of the Iowa class in a financial sea of black ink and make it even more successful.

    Said Collins: "First and foremost, this is a museum and memorial that reflects a period of time and that has a real effect on visitors who are in awe learning about her life, the sailors who served her and her contributions. I have great respect for this."

    Collins, 35, of Voorhees, is an enthusiastic, energetic and experienced executive who is working on a 10-year plan to restore, finance and better market the most decorated battleship in Navy history.

    "My enthusiasm has grown in the four months I've been here, but along with that has come a sense of realism that it will take hard work and time," he said.

    To accomplish his goals, he is drawing from his business experience with Clear Channel Worldwide. His last job was as executive director of the Tweeter Center entertainment complex adjacent to the battleship. He earlier managed the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Franchise show.

    In developing a better organizational structure, he said he is trying to bring aboard the right team of professionals to help increase attendance, revenue and ship exposure.

    "Sometimes you have to spend money to make money," he said.

    He says he wants to expand the now-limited marketing campaign, open up more areas of the ship and offer alternate tour routes. To save money, he is also negotiating with PSE&G on energy usage options.

    As part of his brainstorming, Collins has begun meeting with the ship's more than 500 volunteers to hear their suggestions and concerns. He wants to attract new volunteers from schools and other institutions.

    "People are this museum's best asset, he said.


    Reach Carol Comegno at (609) 267-9487 or ccomegno@courierpostonline.com

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