Retired U.S. Army Col. Greg Camp will take over leadership of the National Infantry Foundation, which owns and operates the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, it was announced Thursday.
Camp, who has been involved in the museum since 2002, will replace Ben F. Williams Jr., who is retiring as president and chief operating officer of the foundation. Williams, a retired CB&T vice president, joined the museum effort in 1999 as the idea to construct a standalone facility dedicated to the Infantry was gaining momentum in Columbus and Fort Benning.
Camp’s promotion was approved by the foundation’s Board of Directors at Wednesday’s annual meeting.
Camp has served as the chief development officer for the foundation in his 14 years with the organization and has been instrumental in an effort that has generated more than $100 million in gifts and grants. Williams and Camp were part of a team led by retired Maj. Gen. Jerry White that led the charge to fund and build the museum, which opened in June 2009 on Benning Drive property adjacent to Fort Benning. White left the foundation in December 2010.
Camp, who retired from the Army in 1996 after serving as chief of staff at Fort Benning, called it a great honor to be selected to lead the museum.
“This is something that I never thought about, not even in my wildest dreams,” said Camp, 69. “I have always been thrilled to be a small part of a team that included Jerry and Ben. To ascend into the role of president of the foundation seems a little surreal.”
Camp will oversee an annual operating budget of about $5 million, around 50 full-time and part-time employees and more than 200 active volunteers.
There also is fundraising work remaining. The foundation is involved in a $10 million campaign to retire the remaining debt on the $110 million facility. The organization is about $5 million away from reaching that goal.
“I will remain involved in the fundrasising efforts,” Camp said. “But I know I will have to get more involved in the operations, and I plan to do that.”
The position Camp is vacating will remain open for about six months, he said.
“At that point we will evaluate how we need to fill it,” he said.
Williams, 71, said the timing was right to step away from the museum, though he will continued to be involved on an as-needed basis.
“It is a little bittersweet because I have been involved in this from Day 1 and have seen a whole lot of people come together to make this happen,” he said. “So, there is a sadness, but it is clearly the time.”
Williams will retire Jan. 31.
The board also voted to keep retired Lt. Gen. Carmen Cavezza as the chairman and elected retired Lt. Gen. Tom Meltz as the vice chairman. Meltz lives in east Alabama and has become active in the foundation.