New Museum Director Offers Background in Fundraising, Events, Marketing
The U.S. Space Walk of Fame Museum (SWOF) in Titusville has hired a new Executive Director. Tara Dixon Engel of Cocoa Beach joined the museum in June to assist with fundraising and promotions and stepped into the Director’s position as of Sept. 18. She replaces long-time museum President Charles Mars, who will remain active in the organization as a board member.
Dixon Engel is an Ohio native whose professional history includes serving as Director of Research & Strategic Planning for the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Vice President of the American Veterans Institute and Executive Director at the Downtown Tipp City Partnership. She also co-founded Integrity Marketing & Communications which provided fundraising and marketing consulting services to non-profit agencies. Dixon Engel is a commercially published author and her fourth book is due out in November. She is an award-winning video script writer and a former newspaper journalist and college instructor in computer design. Dixon Engel also served for several years on the blue ribbon panel that inducted Astronauts into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville.
“I have a passion for all things aerospace and especially the achievements of the early space program,” Dixon Engel said. “This museum is an amazing little gem and I tip my hat to Charlie Mars and the incredibly devoted staff and volunteers who kept it going and growing all these years. Now that we own our own building, the opportunities are coming fast and furious. It’s going to be a great ride!”
Upcoming projects include ramping up the facility’s acclaimed regional and international education program as well as updating exhibits and displays, enhancing the web site, and developing an educational book series for young people. In addition to a widely respected STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) program, the museum is now adding its own unique “SALT© curriculum.”
“SALT© stands for Strategic thinking, Administration, Leadership and Team building,” Dixon Engel explained. “These are essential tools in modern business and industry – and companies are desperate for new employees skilled in these disciplines. Nowhere do these qualities shine more prominently than in the history of the American space program. We will use that history – and the compelling, inspiring and sometimes quirky individuals who made it happen – to show young people that they, too, can become leaders, innovators and world changers!”
Dixon Engel added that “through my work at the National Aviation Hall of Fame I was blessed to know many pioneers of modern aerospace achievement; amazing folks like Scott Crossfield, Neil Armstrong, Wally Schirra, Joe Engle, and so many others. They inspired me to go ‘higher, faster and farther’ in any endeavor…and now I have the opportunity to share their stories – and the stories of all those dreamers and doers who built NASA and its achievements – with the world. If that isn’t a dream job, I don’t know what is!”
“We have been very fortunate to have great leadership over the years,” said Board Chairman Dick Beagley of Merritt Island. “We are confident that Tara’s experience with museum management, fundraising, and strategic planning will help us take our existing strong foundation and shape it into an enduring presence that benefits everyone on the Space Coast and, in fact, for people across the country and the world. Big things are coming and we are very excited about the future.”
Dixon Engel noted that the museum is seeking new partners, volunteers and visionaries who stand ready to “inspire, educate and motivate” a new generation of innovators. She can be reached at 321-264-0434 or Tara@spacewalkoffame.com.