Posted by: COSI | March 31, 2009

Can’t believe it’s been 3 years?

Tuesday, March 31, 2006 I parked in the team parking area, got out of my car, took a long look at this huge building (all three football fields of length) and wondered “how did anyone think they could entrust this huge facility and venerable institution to my leadership?” Followed by, in my head, the thought of “what have I gotten myself into?”

With the anxious anticipation that most of us have felt that first day of the school year, I dropped boxes off in my office, put on the “team look” and went out to roam the building and start getting to know the great team members we have at COSI. It was a cool and exciting morning.

That mood was altered a bit (well, maybe a lot!) that afternoon when the staff went over the most recent cash flow projections with me. It was clear that we needed immediate action to get help with the high cost of operating this award winning, city owned facility. Within a week, Carl Kohrt, our dynamic and dedicated board chair, and I were meeting with community leaders, including our public officials, to make the case for the type of public-private partnership that any public institution this size has in place to be successful.

A lot of partners came forward and we were able to start to re-invest in COSI and its future, and to begin to allow COSI to re-establish itself as a national leader in the science center field.

I have to admit it didn’t flow smoothly those first 6 months and there were times, with Dottie still not moved to Columbus, that I wondered if I was up to the task that was needed and would stay.

So there is a special sense of pride in what this team, with the support of the board and community, is about to roll out and celebrate over the next few months: with business and university partners, a changing platform to highlight local inventors and their creative ideas in the Innovation Showcase; a celebration with our Girl Scouts partner of the Millionth camper coming to a COSI Camp-in—a worldwide phenomenon that started at COSI; with OSU the opening of the Labs in Life @COSI, the first working University research labs integrated into a science center; the launch of Lost Egypt, a new traveling exhibition which will travel the country after engaging our summer crowds here in Columbus in the science behind the detective work of an Egyptian archaeologist; and the introduction of Lily Pad, our watershed labs that with the support of OSU and the Zoo, has been designed to strengthen engagement and understanding of our regional watershed and issues of water quality and management.

When you have a good plan, a great team, strong community support, and a drive to achieve excellence and innovation, anything is possible. While we maintain that more consistent and stable funding for the cultural community is necessary to truly fulfill our contribution to this community’s needs and future, at COSI we’ve been so fortunate to have the initial financial help to begin moving forward again.

#1 Celebration

#1 Celebration

With some anxiety, but with lots of enthusiasm, I’m looking forward to the next three years to see what all we can achieve with ongoing support.

What’s your perception of what COSI has achieved in the last few years?
What would you still like to see COSI do to better serve our community?


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