District Diversity Officers

District diversity officer and
civil rights coordinator
Jose Cajigas
José Cajigas

Assistant district
diversity officer

About the District Diversity Officer

A member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary since December 1980, Allen Knish qualified as Instructor in 1981 and as boat crew member in 1993. He has held various staff officer positions on the flotilla, division and district levels. His elected positions include flotilla commander of two different flotillas; Division Seven vice captain in 1991 and 1992; division captain in 1993, 1994 and again in 1996; district captain from 1997 to 1999; district chief of staff in 2002 and 2003, and district commodore in 2004 and 2005.

He retired from Ford Motor Company, Cleveland Engine Plant complex, after working there for 36 years. His last position at Ford was as a material control specialist and a Ford/UAW diversity facilitator.

He served in the U.S. Navy from March 1965 to March 1972. During his service he studied business management at LaSalle University, earning an associate's degree. While working for Ford he attended Cuyahoga Community College.

His awards include Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medal, Aux Achievement Medal, President Unit Citation (for Katrina), Secretary DOT Outstanding Unit Award, Coast Guard UNIT Commendation, Transportation 911 Ribbon.

Knish and his wife, the former Elinor (Ellie) Bryant of Farmington, Maine, have one son Allen Jr.

About the Assistant District Diversity Officer

A member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary since 2006, José Cajigas has participated in boat crew training, public education classes, beach clean-ups, environmental protection efforts, and many other programs. He spent his initial years in the Auxiliary in Puerto Rico before moving to Akron, Ohio.

Since 2007, Cajigas has served in the USCG Auxiliary Interpreter Corps of the International Directorate of Intelligence where he also is a Qualified Language Examiner for Spanish. He was an employee of the Coast Guard Exchange System from 2007 to 2008 at Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also was an active participant of the USCG Morale, Well-Being, and Recreation (MWR) programs at Borinquen AIRSTA, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. In 2008 he was publications officer for Flotilla 1-10 in District 7.

Cajigas is currently with District 9ER's Flotilla 6-1, where he serves as flotilla diversity officer.

He works in the restaurant business and academia (University of Akron) as a human geography researcher. He was a geography lecturer at the University of Akron from 2009 to 2012. Since 2009, he has attended international and U.S. national academic conferences where he presents his cultural, political, social, and theoretical geography research.

Cajigas graduated with honors from University of Puerto Rico with a BA in Geography. He finished his Master of Arts in Geography coursework in 2011 and this summer (2013) he defends his thesis. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Geography. Cajigas was a cadet in the U.S. Air Force ROTC while in college, receiving numerous awards and recognitions.

Born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, home of the world’s largest radio telescope, Cajigas now resides in Akron with his wife, Nilda.