President & CEO

Our Story

Docked at San Diego’s north Embarcadero, with spectacular views of the downtown skyline, Coronado Bridge, and active U.S. Navy Ships from the flight deck, the USS Midway Museum is both an icon and a landmark attraction. Founded in 1992, the Museum opened its doors in June 2004, offering visitors a unique experience aboard the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century. With a $30 million annual budget, 207 employees, and over 800 volunteers – 70% of whom are veterans – Midway welcomes over 1 million visitors each year from around the world. We achieve our mission through the unparalleled experience our guests receive through the array of exhibits, activities, and education programs.

Our impact goes far beyond the ship itself: each year we host over 55,000 STEM education students aboard Midway, with our distance learning programs reaching another 12,000 students in 27 states across the country. We also host nearly 700 community and private events annually across Midway’s flight deck and other meeting spaces, accommodating gatherings of up to 3500 guests. And the USS Midway Foundation provides significant funding to other nonprofit organizations, granting over $2.7M since its founding in 2004 to support active-duty military and their families, veterans, and first responder operations. Including education scholarships, Midway donates more than $1 million annually to San Diego schools and community organizations.

The USS Midway Today

We emerged from the pandemic exceptionally strong and will enter 2023 in an excellent financial position. As we prepare to close 2022, we will deliver an overall estimated $54.5M economic impact to the San Diego region. Our board is also working closely with both the Port and City of San Diego on an exciting $40M capital campaign to upgrade the museum and transform the adjacent pier parking lot into “Freedom Park”, an expansive 6-acre space extending into the bay alongside Midway. As the most-visited historic naval ship museum in the world, Midway was also ranked the 6th most-popular museum overall in the U.S. by Trip Advisor last year, as well as California’s best tourist attraction by For more information, please visit:

Leadership & Culture

Our Mission: Preserve, Inspire, Educate, and Entertain, Our Vision: To Be America’s Living Symbol of Freedom. The Midway’s exceptional volunteers are truly the heart of this operation and the key to our success. It is they who not only “run the ship,” but who also shape and deliver an outstanding visitor experience. Many have actually spent time aboard Midway during their military careers, bringing an incredibly rich and authentic element to everything we do. Some of our volunteers have been with us for decades, with an unbelievable tenure of nearly 10 years.

The USS Midway’s culture is built around stewarding this incredible community asset, while honoring and preserving the history and legacy of service it represents. We are an integral part of both the San Diego community and national conversations around American military history, support for military communities, and cutting-edge museum leadership. The organization is led by a dynamic Board of Directors, highly engaged, and committed to maintaining the integrity of the ship and the mission of the organization while allowing the CEO and staff space for autonomy and innovation. The CEO will join a highly collaborative team of experienced and knowledgeable staff and volunteers dedicated to our core values:

  • Volunteers: Our volunteers deliver our operational and financial success.
  • The Guest Experience: We proactively engage our guests and create a fun and inspirational experience.
  • Community Resource: We create partnerships that support our San Diego community.
  • Culture: Midway’s culture of safety, fun, teamwork, ownership, and balanced work-life creates the ability to deliver an interactive and memorable guest experience.

This is an incredible time to join the Museum, as we prepare to embark on the largest capital campaign in the Museum’s history to support the development of Freedom Park on Navy Pier. The CEO will play a key leadership role in laying the financial groundwork for the $40M campaign and managing the partnerships and important infrastructure investment it will fund.

Benefits & Features

  • Salary: $200,000 – $250,000 DOE
  • $50,000 max performance-based incentive
  • 403(b) retirement plan – 100% employer match up to 5% of annual salary
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • 25 days annual PTO
  • 9 paid holidays


This role will be aboard the USS Midway, located at 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

Position Summary

Reporting to a 24-member Board of Directors, the President & CEO will work collaboratively with the Board to evolve the strategic direction of the Museum, while building on its past successes. The President & CEO is responsible and accountable for developing and maintaining a financially successful business operation, meeting the Museum’s overall objectives, developing, and managing relationships with a variety of stakeholders, and managing through direct oversight those responsible for creating and implementing the various components of the operation. The CEO serves as an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and oversees the Midway’s senior management team. This is an incredible opportunity for a dynamic leader to build off the legacy of Mac McLaughlin and take the organization to new heights.

Strategic priorities for Midway’s next CEO include:

  1. Develop and maintain exceptional relationships to include staff, volunteers, board members, local government agencies, and community partners.
  2. Serve as a highly visible leader, both aboard Midway and in the community, to further expand public awareness of, and appreciation for, the USS Midway, both as an institution and a living piece of American history.
  3. Support the $40M capital campaign for Freedom Park and other capital projects.
  4. Expand Midway’s education programs to reach more students locally, and across the nation.
  5. Create and implement strategies for engaging with the next generation of Midway volunteers, staff, and visitors.

Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic and Collaborative Leadership:

  • Work in conjunction with the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors to develop the strategic direction and establish initiatives to fulfill the mission of the Museum, enhancing local, state, national, and international impact, awareness, and prominence.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with key City, County, and Port officials including the local Navy. Maintain an active role as a member of the North Embarcadero Alliance.
  • Become an active member of the Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA), attending meetings, and communicating with other similar museums as the Midway Museum’s principal representative.
  • Embrace a collaborative and transparent culture and work environment in which staff and volunteers are engaged, motivated, and empowered to achieve programmatic excellence and operate as a high-performing team.
  • Be visible across all Museum programs and present at events, taking time to engage regularly with staff, volunteers, visitors, and partners.

Fundraising and Business Development:

  • Use innovative strategies to identify, develop, and grow new donor relationships and financial resources.
  • Increase the Museum’s visibility and stature in the local, state, national, and international communities.
  • Align the strategic focus of development, marketing, and communications to highlight the work of the Museum and inform current and potential donors, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Build new partnerships, coalitions, and collaborations with external groups and organizations to explore innovative opportunities to enhance programming.
  • Serve as spokesperson and chief advocate for the Museum; establish strong partnerships in the community to enhance the Museum’s public image and expand interest and support.

Operational Management:

  • Oversee the day-to-day management of the Museum’s operations, including administration, operations, marketing, exhibit development, safety and security, facility maintenance and restoration, educational programs, and public, community, and government relations.
  • Develop an annual budget, approved by the Executive Committee and Board of Directors that meets the finances required to complete the management objectives.
  • Oversees the management of the Museum’s mitigation property and program as required by agreement with the California Coastal Commission and the Port of San Diego.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant governmental regulations, reports and permits, including but not limited to ADA and EPA requirements for all museum operations.
  • Provide guidance and leadership on all internal, operational, staff and volunteer development, and financial matters.
  • Assess and refine the Museum’s current organizational structures, policies, and procedures to ensure they best serve the Museum’s strategic goals and reflect its values.

Background Profile

  • Executive-level leadership experience within a large, successful organization; senior military experience preferred.
  • Enjoys “getting out from behind the desk;” manages from the front lines and is highly approachable and accessible; makes community engagement a priority.
  • Demonstrated success in creating work environments that are inclusive, productive, healthy, and positive; experience leading and developing an effective, collaborative, and diverse team.
  • Brings authenticity and emotional intelligence to every conversation; creates genuine and lasting relationships; leads with trust and empathy.
  • Proven ability to create lasting and impactful cross-sector relationships/partnerships with a wide array of organizations including government, nonprofit, business, academic, philanthropic, military, and community organizations.
  • Experience working with and reporting to a large board of highly engaged civic leaders, including reporting, advising, and collaborating at a strategic level.
  • Prior experience developing, managing, and growing annual operating budgets.
  • Excellent public speaking and presentation skills; ability to passionately and effectively tell the Museum’s story and inspire others to action.
  • Exceptional business acumen, including managing large organizations through growth and change, with the ability to plan and act ahead of potential impacts. Brings sound risk management skills.
  • Excellent written and oral, including strong listening skills and the ability to connect with and inspire a wide range of partners and stakeholders.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Sarah Thompson, Director
1855 First Ave., Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92101