New chief of Jamestown 2007 faces challenges

By Bill Tolbert

William W. Cone, a Miami man with experience coordinating major national and international events, has been named chief operating officer for Jamestown 2007.

Cone will have a leadership and management role in putting into place the statewide, national and international commemorative events and programs that are developed by the Jamestown 2007 steering committee.

Cone's job is to coordinate educational programs and signature events tied directly to the 2007 anniversary. He faces some challenges, and a big one is money.

Plans include a new, full-sized replica of the ship Godspeed sailing in 2006 to ports to drum up interest for 2007's events.

The foundation is trying to raise the money to build the new Godspeed, and a new Discovery, but isn't there yet. The original Godspeed and Discovery, along with the larger Susan Constant, brought the English colonists to Jamestown in 1607.

And while Cone won't oversee any of the facilities at Jamestown Settlement, construction of a renovated and expanded museum complex there is tied to a 2007 deadline.

So far, money for construction and renovations is designated through bonds. But the operating funds to pay for staff, utilities and other expenses come through the state's general fund, so the current budget crisis could have a big impact there.

Even after operating money is found, more money is needed to buy artifacts for the new museums.

One other major challenge is developing the "one Jamestown" theme.

The idea is to have Jamestown Settlement, the National Park Service, and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities work together in preparation for 2007.

The park service and APVA own Jamestown Island, next door to the Settlement. The park service is working on major renovations to facilities and new buildings on the island. And the APVA owns the land where the original fort has been found.

Ideas have included joint ticketing and common shuttles for visitors.

Cone has helped create major consumer expos, political and business conferences, sports events, entertainment shows and one-of-a-kind celebrations and special salutes.

Among his past projects were events for Coca-Cola, Kodak, General Motors, and the President's Commission for the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution."