BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- After serving as CEO and Executive Director of the National Corvette Museum for 23 years, the NCM held a retirement dinner Thursday night as a way to say thank you for Strode's time serving at the museum.
"Well I started working here in December of 1996. And that was after a 25 year banking career. But I actually became involved with the museum in November of 1988 when this idea was first being talked about and first being floated out there that the corvette community wanted to start a museum," said former CEO and Executive Director, Wendell Strode. "And we thought it ought to be located in Bowling Green, Kentucky because we had the only assembly plant."
With Wendell's background in banking and business know how, his tenure at the National Corvette Museum can be attributed to it's current success.
"We're financially strong, we have a great staff here. I feel that my most outstanding accomplishment has been the staff, the team. The leadership team, the management team and the overall staff that has been put together to manage this, said Strode. "When we first came to the museum we had about 13 full-time employees and we had about 22 or 23 part-time employees," said Strode.
"Today we have about 65 full-time employees and about 75 part-time employees. So a lot of positive is going on," said Strode. "From a personal standpoint and being 71 years of age, I think it's time for some younger blood to step in and help move the museum to the next phase."
"We may be sad some January 4th, but right now we're looking forward to it," said Strode.
The National Corvette Museum Board of Directors has selected Dr. Sean Preston to serve as President and CEO of the National Corvette Museum.
At the retirement dinner 13 News asked Dr. Preston about his new position.
"Well it's an absolute honor to follow an icon such as Wendell. Certainty there's big shoes to fill, and a lot has been done in the museum but I'm just excited to be apart of the family going forward," said Preston.
Dr. Preston has been serving as full time CEO as of July 1 2019.
Strode will remain with the museum through January 3, 2020.