UNION CITY, Tenn. — The board of directors of Discovery Park of America announced today the selection of Scott Williams as the organization’s new president and CEO. Williams will replace retiring president and CEO, James Rippy, who has been instrumental in the development and management of the organization since its inception. Rippy will continue in an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.
A West Tennessee native, Williams is currently the president and chief operating officer of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. He earned his degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and held leadership positions at several advertising agencies and other Memphis companies including Cleo, Inc., ServiceMaster, Baptist Memorial Health Care and Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
“Scott brings a significant track record of success in the entertainment, museum, attraction and tourism businesses,” said board member Chris Kirkland who led the search committee. “I’m confident that his background and experience as a trusted leader and his unique set of skills in strategic planning, operations, development and education will be extremely valuable as DPA begins the next chapter.”
Last year, under Williams’ leadership, the Newseum welcomed a record-breaking 850,000 visitors to its 250,000-square-foot museum of news and the First Amendment on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the United States Capitol. Additionally, the Newseum has been named a Top 25 Trending U.S. Attraction and a Top 25 Museum among museums in the world by TripAdvisor.
“Because of my work with museums and attractions and my love of West Tennessee history, I’ve been following Discovery Park of America since the groundbreaking,” said Williams. “Robert Kirkland’s vision combined with the dedicated work by the community in Union City has created a transformative experience like nothing else in the world. I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the team there, and I look forward to contributing to this impressive organization.”
In addition to his work at the Newseum, Williams serves as vice chair on the board of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and recently held the position of president of the board of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Advertising Federation. A published author, Williams is currently working on his third book, “Forgotten Stories from the History of West Tennessee.” Additionally, Williams produces a blog on West Tennessee history and culture at HaywoodCountyLine.com.
Williams and his wife, Michelle, who is an elementary school art teacher, have two daughters, Alex, a junior at the University of Memphis and Olivia, a freshman at James Madison University.
About Discovery Park of America
The mission of Discovery Park of America, a premier world-class museum and attraction located in Union City, Tennessee, is to enhance the educational experience of children and adults and to inspire them to see beyond their current level of knowledge. Included is a 100,000-square-foot museum featuring 10 interactive exhibit galleries with additional space for temporary exhibits from around the world and a 50-acre heritage park. Discovery Park of America is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations including its principal funder, the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation. For more information, visit DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.