Press Release

The National WWII Museum Announces Six New Trustees

NEW ORLEANS (August 3, 2023)—The National WWII Museum is pleased to announce six newly appointed members of its Board of Trustees: James N. Gianopulos, J. Tyler Herbert, Jessie J. Knight Jr., Gregory Kowalski, Glenn Solomon and Massey Villarreal. With the addition of these Trustees, who will each serve a three-year term which began on July 1, the Board is now comprised of 57 business and philanthropic leaders representing 21 states and Washington, D.C.

The Board of Trustees works to advance the Museum’s mission and offers leadership and guidance on priorities including the growth of the Museum endowment and support for the development and continued success of significant research, education and digital access initiatives. The new Trustees join the Board at a pivotal time in the Museum’s history as the institution prepares to open its capstone exhibition hall on Nov. 3, Liberation Pavilion; dedicate the Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground in the heart of the campus; and celebrate the completion of the $400 million Road to Victory Capital Campaign that fueled the Museum’s expansion over the last two decades. The Museum is also gearing up to host the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s 2023 Convention. Additional details on these major initiatives are available here.

“We are thrilled to welcome these esteemed individuals to our Board of Trustees,” said Museum President & CEO Stephen J. Watson. “With the opening of our capstone pavilion this November, the leadership from our Trustees will help to drive our mission forward as we continue to educate people around the world about the immense sacrifices the WWII generation made to secure freedom — and allow us to thank the surviving members of that generation while they are still alive to experience the museum that was built in their honor.”

  • James N. Gianopulos, former CEO of Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, California
    • Gianopulos has played a prominent role in the entertainment and media industry for over 40 years. Most recently, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures, overseeing all feature film production, marketing and global distribution of film and television in all media. Gianopulos was also previously the Chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox. He serves as Chairman of the Motion Picture & Television Fund, as a Board member of the X Prize Foundation and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 
  • J. Tyler Herbert, Founding Partner of Gravel Road Partners, Washington, D.C.
    • Herbert is a Founding Partner of Gravel Road Partners, a real estate development and investment firm focused on workforce and mixed-income housing in emerging US markets. Herbert was formerly the Global Head of Real Estate for Convene, a leading meetings/events and workplace hospitality company, where he served as a member of the Executive Team and focused on strategic growth and construction. Prior to that, he worked with Invesco Real Estate and Deloitte Real Estate Consulting. While pursuing his MBA at the University of Oxford, Herbert was the Chairman of the Venture Capital Fund and was awarded the Robert H. Hayes Award for Operations Management.
  • Jessie J. Knight Jr., CEO & Managing Director of Knight Angels, Charlotte, North Carolina
    • Knight is CEO & Managing Director of Knight Angels, a family private equity fund devoted to anonymous philanthropy and financial support of grassroots leaders who improve their local communities with innovative long-term solutions. Knight serves on the boards of the Hudson Institute, the US Chamber of Commerce and Saint Louis University, and he is Chairman of the Board of the Timken Art Museum in San Diego. He is an active homeland security member of InfraGard and the FBI Citizens Academy, and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was formerly Executive Vice President of Sempra Energy, and Chairman/CEO of San Diego Gas and Electric, a diversified Fortune 150 energy company serving over 40 million customers. 
  • Gregory Kowalski, President & CEO of The RK Group, San Antonio, Texas
    • Kowalski is President and CEO of The RK Group, a family-owned company, which has grown to be a global hospitality company. In 1946, Kowalski’s father, WWII veteran and Burma Hump Pilot Henry “Hank” Kowalski, used his mustering-out pay from the Army Air Corps to purchase Uncle Ben’s BBQ in San Antonio. Kowalski began working as a dishwasher at age six and later returned after his schooling to join the family business, which by then had grown to a full-service catering company. Kowalski has been an active community supporter of numerous nonprofit and veterans organizations, including K9s For Warriors, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Friends Foundation and others.
  • Glenn Solomon, CEO & Founder of Simbol Commercial, Dallas, Texas
    • Solomon is CEO and Founder of Simbol Commercial, a commercial real estate development and management company. Real estate holdings consist of raw land, shopping centers and commercial office buildings across the Midwest, South and Southwest. Solomon also founded Coyote Theaters, which develops and operates state-of-the-art drive-in movie theaters. Previously, Solomon served as President of Gulf States Theaters, a privately held corporation involved in commercial theater development and management in New Orleans. Solomon actively supports several charitable organizations, including the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of North Texas and the Dallas Historical Society.
  • Massey Villarreal, President/CEO of Precision Task Group, Inc. (PTG), Houston, Texas
    • Villarreal is known for his work in economic development, his service to numerous advisory boards and the leadership positions he has held across local, state and national chambers of commerce. He has served three Texas governors as an appointee to the Economic Incentive Oversight Board, the governing board of the Texas Economic Development Corporation and the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System. He also serves on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) National Council, Texas Association of Community Colleges Business Advisory Council, Excelencia in Education Board of Directors and the Memorial Hermann Hospital System Board.

New Board member photos can be found here.

For a complete list of Board members, visit The National WWII Museum’s national Board of Trustees web page.

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, the institution celebrates the American spirit, teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information on Tripadvisor’s #1 New Orleans attraction, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit