PPAAA head moving to Silver Key

       Michael Decker, current director of the Pikes Peak Area Agency on Aging (PPAAA), will take over as chief executive officer of Silver Key Senior Services Monday, June 4.
       The Westside-based non-profit “is the premier social service agency in Colorado Springs that serves the needs of older adults,” said Decker, 50, when asked why he had sought the job. “I feel very fortunate to have been selected. I look at the position as an opportunity for an individual with vision and, with the support of the board, to do wonderful things for senior citizens in the community.”
       The opening was created when former CEO John Morse stepped down to run for (and eventually become elected to) the Colorado Senate last July. Mary Cathryn Haller, former executive director of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association, had filled in temporarily. About 50 applicants responded to ads for the post that were placed in Denver and Colorado Springs publications.
       Dawn Webber, the current chair of the Silver Key board of directors, lauded Decker for his experience and accomplishments in working with the elderly. “There are so many reasons (for his hiring), it's hard to pin them down to a sound bite,” she said. “His entire background has been working with elderly people. He can help take Silver Key to the next level.”
       By “next level,” Webber said she was referring to the “huge explosion” of baby-boomers reaching their 60s in the next decade. “Keeping up with the aging population is going to be more difficult because there will be so many more of us,” she added.
       The PPAAA is a government-supported agency, run through the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, that provides information, assistance and referral for seniors in a three-county area. As a private agency - funded through donations, user payments and some government aid - Silver Key augments such services in metropolitan Colorado Springs, and offers programs of its own, including meals and transportation to about 16,000 elderly in all.
       Decker, whose family goes back three generations in Colorado, had worked at or run nursing homes for about 20 years before being hired as an ombudsman (advocate) for nursing home residents with PPAAA in 2002. He was hired at its director in '04.
       Going to Silver Key, he said he is especially mindful of trying to fill the shoes of Morse's predecessor - Mikki Kraushaar, who was with the agency for 33 years after it was started by Betsey Myers Burroughs in 1971. Kraushaar “had a vision and mission for Silver Key that is extraordinary and unique,” Decker said. “We're not going to be changing that. But to meet the mission, we will try to establish mechanisms by which Silver Key can provide services as in the past yet remain financially viable.”
       One Silver Key change that Decker will inherit is a broader transportation area. Where the agency formerly just served Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, it now provides trips in certain outlying areas as part of an agreement for increased funding last year from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA).
       Decker said his last day with PPAAA will be May 25.

Westside Pioneer article