The Smithsonian-affiliated Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in April, has selected an executive leadership team to guide the organization into the future. Dick Hollowell, who has been Interim CEO since November 2011, will serve as Chief Executive Officer; and Jim Remar, a former Senior Vice President of the museum who worked there from 2000-2008, will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer.
"The CEO selection committee conducted an exhaustive nationwide recruitment effort," said Tom Giller, Cosmosphere Governing Board Chairman and co-chair of the selection committee. "We received more than 55 resumes, and interviewed seven outstanding candidates. In the end, we realized we had two people in our own back yard who have not only exceptional skills in museum management, but who have already gained the respect of our community, staff, volunteers, donors and executives throughout the international space science and museum communities."
"As an organization, we are extremely happy with the direction Dick has taken us and are delighted that Dick and Jim will be working together to direct our future endeavors," said Allen Fee, co-chairman of the selection committee. "Both men have proven track records for fiscal responsibility and have created models for internal and external organizational success. The added bonus is that there is no learning curve required by the new team: They both have a first-hand understanding of the Cosmosphere's past, present and vision for the future."
Credit: Kansas Cosmosphere
Above: Cosmosphere CEO Dick Hollowell
Dick Hollowell, a South Hutchinson native, joined the Cosmosphere in July 2011 as Vice President of Operations. Since being named interim CEO in November 2011, Hollowell has initiated targeted sales programs for both museum admissions and Space Works restoration/conservation projects, which have generated new revenues. His keen fiscal management has helped the museum reduce expenses by more than $200,000 annually.
With Hollowell's oversight, the Cosmosphere recently launched a $1.6 million capital campaign and celebrated a highly successful 50th anniversary event. Later this year, the Cosmosphere will undertake the refurbishment of the Carey Dome Theater, implementing new state-of-the-art digital technology for feature-length films. Hollowell was instrumental in negotiating the equipment contract and securing funding for the project.
Prior to joining the Cosmosphere, Hollowell was president of Hutchinson-based Kanox for 25 years, before its purchase by Airgas, Inc., in 2005. He continued with Airgas as a consultant for two years, before taking a position as vice president of operations for Denver Drywall Company, one of Colorado's oldest commercial drywall contractors.
"I am very excited to accept the CEO position and appreciate the board's trust," Hollowell said. "We have a major job ahead of us to establish our role within the new and changing frontier of commercial space exploration. But with every challenge there is opportunity. We intend to forge an even stronger role for the Cosmosphere as a leader in science education, while offering museum and theater visitors an even greater complement of interactive experiences. Jim Remar's return to aid in that effort is outstanding, as his institutional knowledge and experience will be invaluable to our team. I look forward to what we can accomplish together."
Credit: Kansas Cosmosphere
Above: Cosmosphere President and COO Jim Remar
Jim Remar returns to the Cosmosphere after four years as Vice President of Operations at the Buhler, Kan.-based Gregory, Inc., a national distributor of graphics materials and equipment. His first day at the Cosmosphere will be June 4.
In his previous eight-year stint at the Cosmosphere, Remar rose through positions of increasing responsibility as Curator, Director of Collections, Exhibits & Buildings; Vice President of Museum Operations; and Senior Vice President. He oversaw exhibit development and restoration/conservation projects through the Space Works division, including multiple projects for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and Evergreen Aviation Museum.
Remar has been a technical consultant and/or peer reviewer for NASM; the American Association of Museums Assessment Program; as well as for television and theatrical productions developed by the History Channel, National Geographic and IMAX.
"The Cosmosphere is such a tremendous jewel that it puts an international spotlight on Hutchinson," Remar said. "I'm honored to have the opportunity to return and play an instrumental role in the future of this truly exciting place. Together with Dick, the Board and our incredible staff, our team can take us to the next level of space science education, enhance our collection and further expand the value of the visitor's interactive experience."
According to Giller, "Dick's overriding responsibility is for guiding the strategic vision of the Cosmosphere, overseeing financials, member relations and fundraising. Jim's initial focus is Space Works, selling our capabilities for restoration, conservation and exhibit design projects around the globe. Jim and Dick, together with the Board, will define how this institution embraces our newest generation of space exploration and flourishes in our second 50 years."
The Cosmosphere houses the largest collection of U.S. and Soviet space artifacts outside the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC or Moscow. Founded as a planetarium in 1962, the Cosmosphere has expanded to include the internationally acclaimed Hall of Space Museum, Carey Dome Theater, live space science shows and astronaut adventure camps for children and adults.