BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jeffrey Daughtry, President
Chris Kielty, Vice President
Kim McFarlane, Secretary
Ted Smith, 2nd Vice President
Marty Donner, Treasurer
Renee Gilmore, CEO, The Saja Group
Colonel Ben Knisley, US Air Force (Retired)
Jeffrey is a graduate level instructor at an online college. He served in the US Army, 1992-1996. He was Tactical Radio/Satellite Operator, From 2001-2005 he was Civil Affairs Sergeant. Jeffrey says his governance position on the Sarasota County Veterans Commision is an exceedingly rewarding opportunity to extend unwavering gratitude and appreciation on to veterans-- selfless servants that have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to guaranteeing the freedom of others.
MARTY DONNER, TREASURER
Marty served in the US Navy, 1960 -1964, on board the USS Saratoga (CVA 60).
He completed military service as a Main Engines Officer. He was later employed at the NY Times for 30 years, retiring in 1998 as Vice President of Facilities. Today he volunteers at Sarasota National Cemetery, the Navy League, and Sarasota County Veterans Commission. Marty uses meaningful volunteer service as his avenue for giving back to veterans that went before him-- so that he can live and prosper in the greatest country in the world.
2nd VICE PRESIDENT
Ted served in the United States Marine Corps, 1960-1964. After a career in pharmaceutical sales he started a career in volunteering. The Kairos Prison Ministry, Gifts From God Outreach Ministry, Tidewell Hospice Honored Veteran Program and the Sarasota National Cemetery Advisory Committee. Ted’s commitment to veterans and their families through the Sarasota County Veterans Commission is a continuation of lessons learned in the Marine Corps: Honor, Courage and Commitment. His enlistment had a beginning and an end, but the oath he took is forever.
RENEE GILMORE, MBA
Renee is the founder and CEO of The Saja Group. Renee is also Chairman of the Board for Sarasota National Cemetery Advisory Committee, Inc, a 501(c) 3 supporting the US Department of Veterans Affairs' national cemetery in Sarasota, FL. Prior to forming The Saja Group, she led a large non-profit that focused on aligning workforce and economic development initiatves. Renee received recognition from the White House for infusing sound business principles into government systems and co-leading the national initative that has increased the systemic capacity of publiclly funded programs to deliver scalable solutions to myraid workforce challenges, including several programs designed specifically for veterans. During her early career she helped launch major new technologies at a national telecom (now Verizon), honing her strategic planning and financial management skills.
A Notre Dame graduate, Kevin owns Apollo Sunguard Systems and is past president of the Sarasota Manatee Manufacturers Assoc. He has broad economic development experience. Kevin is passionate about contributing to initatives that promote the well being of veterans. He believes veterans should be recognized and by every community for their service.
COLONEL BEN KNISELY, US ARMY (Retired)
Ben grew up in the small town of Osprey, Florida. He graduated from Riverview High School, Sarasota, Florida. He entered military service following graduation from the University of South Florida. Twenty-seven years later he retired from the US Army, having performed his duties as a Medevac Helicopter pilot and surviving a harrowing MIA experience during the Viet Nam war. Following military retirement, Ben worked for 10 years in the corporate world in medical logistics and security operations and retired again in 2008 as a Vice President from Lockheed Martin. Colonel Knisely now lives in Sarasota, Florida and currently serves on the Board of Directors of a Wounded Warrior organization called Operation Second Chance. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Sarasota Military Academy, and is the Military and Veterans Liaison Officer for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
Kim is a retired loan officer. She rides as captain with the Patriot Guard Riders, an organization of motorcyclists committed to honoring fallen veterans during funeral services. She believes it is an honor to give back to veterans.
DENNIS JAMES PLEWS, ATTORNEY
Dennis voluntarily enlisted for US Army on July 17, 1967. He was received an Honorable Discharge in 1973. Shortly after military service, he was employed as a public defender, 1975-1977. Dennis would go on to establish a thriving private practice in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, 1977-2015. In 2002 he became a founder member of Florida Veterans for Common Sense, where he still holds a seat on the Board of Directors. In addition to serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Sarasota County Veterans Commission, Dennis contributes to the veterans community as a founding member and director at Democratic Veterans Caucus of Florida.