COL Knisely grew up in southwest Florida and entered military service via a direct commission following graduation from the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Following twenty-seven years of active duty, he retired at the rank of colonel from the US Army In 1993. That same year he joined Information Network Systems (INS) Incorporated, a Defense Services Company. In 2002 he was promoted to senior vice president, directing the Medical Response and Security Operations (MRSO) Group of INS, Incorporated. In this position he was responsible for the business operations of the Group, including strategic planning, program development, administration, and technical performance. In 2004, INS Incorporated was acquired by Lockheed Martin and Ben’s Group responsibilities grew to over 600 employees with a $120 million dollar annual budget.
The primary activities and business lines of COL Knisely's commerce and government background includes medical logistics sustainment and planning; public health bioterrorism support and emergency response programs; security management services for the physical protection of critical infrastructure sites of national significance and; operational support for a select number of DOD and Veterans Affairs Telemedicine Research activities.
Throughout his forty-year career, COL Knisely has been involved with emergency medical response, public health and special security programs. He was a Medical Service Corps Officer and MEDEVAC Helicopter Aviator in the US Army.
As a young lieutenant in combat, he was shot down by an enemy missile in Vietnam and declared, Missing in Action (MIA). Wounded with second and third degree burns and a fractured ankle; he and his co-pilot survived four days without food and water evading enemy capture until finally being discovered and rescued by a highly publicized search operation of the Army’s 101st ABN Division. Following nine months of hospitalization, with permanent disabilities, he petitioned the Army to allow him to remain on active duty and subsequently completed a twenty-seven year military career. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991, COL Knisely served as the Deputy Command Surgeon on the special staff of H. Norman Schwarzkopf at the United States Central Command.
COL Knisely’s educational background includes an A.A. Degree from Manatee Junior College in Bradenton, Florida, a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Florida, and a Master of Science in Systems Management (MSSM) from the University of Southern California. He is also a certified flight instructor and an active FAA fixed wing instrument pilot logging several hundred flight hours a year.
COL Knisely is an active patriot, dedicated to supporting military veterans and young wounded soldiers in the current war on terrorism. COL Knisely currently serves on the board of directors for Operation Second Chance, the Sarasota Military Academy, and is a Military Liaison Officer for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.