Nashville native and founder of Knestrick Contracting, Inc., Walter Knestrick retired from his firm in 2002. He was appointed by Governor Don Sundquist to serve as the State Finance Chairman and to serve on the State Board of Licensing Contractors. Appointed to the first Individual Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange, Knestrick has held multiple leadership positions in fiduciary and civic service. He has served as a board member of First American National Bank, two terms on the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, and on the Board of Trustees of Brentwood Academy, where he served as president for two terms.
As co-founder of the Tennessee State Museum Foundation with Senator Douglas Henry and TSM Executive Director Lois Riggins-Ezzell, Knestrick served as Chairman of the Foundation Board for two terms. His work as an arts advocate also includes his service on many past boards and committees, including Chairman of the Nashville International Airport Arts Committee (15 years); Board of Directors, Frist Center for the Visual Arts Foundation; Founding Board Member, Frist Center for the Visual Arts; Member of Nashville’s First Metro Arts Council (appointed by Mayor Fulton); Board Member and Chairman of the Tennessee Performing Arts Management Board (appointed by Governor Lamar Alexander); Board Member and Chairman of the Tennessee Arts Commission (appointed by Governor Lamar Alexander); Past Chairman of Fine Arts at the Cheekwood Museum and Botanical Gardens; Board Member of the W. O. Smith School of Music; and Past Board Member of the Blair School of Music.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Knestrick has been an active alumnus having served as Charter Member of the Fred J. Lewis Society School of Engineering, a member of the National Commodore Club, and two terms on the Board of Directors for the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. He was also served as the 1989 Chairman of Reunion and Annual Giving in which he raised $6.4 million for his alma mater.
Other honors and awards include, but are not limited to the 1990 Applause Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Tennessee Performing Art Center; Coordinator of the Art Collection at the American Embassy, Paris, France (Appointed by Ambassador Joe M. Rodgers, 1987-1988); 1986 Governors Awards in the Arts for Outstanding Patron of the Arts in Tennessee; Honorary Trustee for Brentwood Academy; and the 2011 Martha Ingram Arts Visionary Award which was presented by the Nashville Arts and Business Council.
In addition to serving on the DHSMC, Knestrick also currently serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Nashville YMCA (Past President) and State Commissioner on the Board of Trustees at Watkins School of Arts & Design (appointed by Governor Don Sunquist).
He is married to the former Sarah Lindsey Thompson. They have five children, two step children and twenty grandchildren.