Scott Williams joined the DPA team in November and will begin his role as President and CEO on Jan. 1, 2019.
I am thrilled by the exciting opportunity to join the DPA team.
Because of my work in the museum, attraction and tour and travel business and my passion for West Tennessee history, I’ve long been a fan of the work the staff and community have been doing here under Jim Rippy’s impressive leadership.
Every morning, as I turn the corner and the DPA tower comes into view, I am awestruck by the sheer enormity of this impressive attraction. Robert Kirkland’s vision combined with the dedicated work by the community throughout this region created a transformative experience like nothing else in the world. The people who live and work here clearly embraced his vision and made it their own. From the award-winning permanent and temporary exhibits, to the exciting special events that take place throughout the year, the hundreds of thousands who enjoy DPA each year experience something that can’t be found anywhere else.
The future is bright here and I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work, joining you in executing DPA’s important mission of enhancing the educational experience of children and adults from this area and around the world.
Please feel free to contact me anytime you have comments, ideas or questions.
Five Questions with Scott Williams
1. What interested you in this position at DPA?
SW: In the past, when I’ve mentioned I was from West Tennessee, others in the museum and attractions business would frequently ask me about Discovery Park of America. Of course, I’ve considered it one of the most unique success stories in my home state that I could brag about, so the opportunity to join the team here was irresistible!
2. As a seasoned museum professional, what aspect of this position are you most eager to dig into?
SW: First step for me is listening and learning. I’m meeting with as many people as possible both inside and outside the organization. One of the things that makes DPA so special is that it was created by the community. Of course, I want to continue that tradition of the people here being the true heart of the organization.
3. Any surprises or trends you are seeing from your initial meetings?
I’ve primarily been meeting with the internal team first and I’ve found the level of talent and enthusiasm among Jim Rippy and his team to be incredible. The creativity, passion and excitement for DPA is infectious and is certainly the primary reason this place is so memorable for guests.
4. What’s your favorite exhibit at DPA?
SW: There is certainly a lot to love here and “my favorite” seems to be changing from day to day. In an interview, Robert Kirkland said, “We want to tweak the imagination in a child or an adult and cause them to say, ‘Wow!, Let’s pursue that a little further.’” It would have to be the train that has done that for me. I still say “Wow” and see parts of it I had not noticed before every time I check it out.
5. How does the rest of your family feel about the move from Washington, D.C. to Union City, Tenn.?
SW: My wife and I have been blown away by the hospitality we’ve been shown from the entire community. It already feels like we’re at home and we’ve not yet completely unpacked. My wife was an art teacher in the Fairfax County, Virginia School System and for a few of the area art centers and museums, so she’s excited to find ways she can contribute to the region using her skills and experience. My oldest daughter, Alex, will be transferring from Loyola University New Orleans to the University of Memphis so she’ll bit a bit closer. We’ve left my youngest daughter, Liv, back in Virginia at James Madison University. She’s planning to visit often and loves hiking so I’m certain she’s going to have fun exploring the trails around the Reelfoot Lake.