Michael J. Knapp is a business executive and entrepreneur who has served as a community leader supporting higher education for more than 20 years in both elected and appointed positions. As a leader at the local, state, and federal levels, his ability to bring groups together to address challenging issues has allowed him to be an ardent advocate for educational institutions to provide an inclusive environment for economic growth; meaningful opportunities for students, faculty and staff; and collaborative learning and community spaces for residents.
Mr. Knapp served on the Montgomery College Board of Trustees in Montgomery County, Maryland, for 11 years receiving appointments by both a Democratic and Republican governor. He served in board leadership for 10 years of his tenure, including the final four years as chair of the board. In this role, he strengthened relationships with College’s stakeholders and brought the MC board together as a team to achieve success as they oversaw the College’s reaccreditation process; managed two presidential transitions—that include the selection and appointment of an interim president and leading the process for the selection and appointment of a new president; provided governance and policy guidance during the pandemic; and spearheaded efforts to gain approval for a fourth College campus to help meet the needs of the county’s underserved communities.
Elected as a County Councilmember in Montgomery County in 2002, Mr. Knapp served as the Council President and chair of the County’s Education Committee—overseeing an annual budget of more the $2 billion for Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College. While in this role, he served to bring the disparate interests of the greater Washington DC region together as chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments representing 24 jurisdictions from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
Mr. Knapp served as chair of the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) Board of Advisors for five years, while also serving on the board for 15 years from 2006 to 2021. USG is a Regional Higher Education Center in Maryland that provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs from nine different state universities in a single location in the community designed to meet the specific workforce requirements of local employers.
He is currently the CEO and co-founder of SkillSmart, a software company helping communities and organizations track and demonstrate economic impact. Mr. Knapp previously helped found two groundbreaking biotechnology companies, and also worked as a staff member in the U.S. Senate.
A graduate of The College of William and Mary in Virginia—Mr. Knapp received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Government, where he also received his commission into the U.S. Army Reserves and served as an Infantry Officer for 10 years. He and his wife live in Germantown, Maryland, where he continues to serve on the board of a number of local organizations.