Kenneth J. Knuckles is a prominent business and civic leader from the Bronx who has distinguished himself over the past two decades as an attorney and public servant. Prior to becoming the Chief Executive Officer and President of UMEZ, a position he has held since January 2003, Mr. Knuckles served on UMEZ’s Board of Directors.
Mr. Knuckles also spent seven years at Columbia University where he was the Vice President of Support Services. In this senior administrative role he was the university’s Chief Procurement Officer, responsible for providing administrative and support services to the faculty and administration of the historic Ivy League institution. His duties included management of the division responsible for more than $250 million in goods and services purchased annually.
Before joining Columbia University, from 1994 through 1995, Mr. Knuckles served as Senior Vice President for Economic Development at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation; and from 1990 through 1993, during the David N. Dinkins mayoral administration, he was a Commissioner at the New York City Department of General Services. From 1987 through 1990, Knuckles served as Deputy Bronx Borough President during the first term of former Borough President Fernando Ferrer. He has also served as an Assistant Housing Commissioner, as well as legal counsel to several city agencies.
Mr. Knuckles is also a member of the New York City Planning Commission. In February 2002, he was appointed Vice Chairman of that body by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.S. in architecture and he also holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Howard University School of Law and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.
Mr. Knuckles cites as his top priorities the implementation of strategies to enhance economic development throughout the communities of Upper Manhattan. By expanding retail investment, supporting the growth of the culture and tourism industry, and providing greater assistance to small businesses, he believes the Empowerment Zone will continue to be the catalyst in the unprecedented revitalization underway in Upper Manhattan.