BRISTOL — After a dozen years leading one of Elkhart County’s largest nonprofit organizations, ADEC Inc. president and chief executive officer Paula Shively has announced her retirement.
Shively, an advocate for children and adults with disabilities, will leave the organization in six months. She announced her plans to retire Thursday, April 25, at a meeting with ADEC’s board of directors.
“Together we have achieved growth with stability for ADEC, all the while providing innovative and meaningful assistance to children, adults and families living with disabilities,” Shively told the board. “I know ADEC’s future will continue to be bright.”
ADEC is headquartered in Bristol and has been offering services for people with developmental and cognitive disabilities for more than 60 years. Shively began her tenure with the organization in 2001, following the resignation of James Grice. Her work as the group’s leader included the expansion of ADEC’s services in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties. Under her direction, ADEC shifted its focus to community-based sites, allowing clients to interact with the public while taking part in vocational and artistic activities.
“Change is constant in our lives,” Shively wrote in a letter to ADEC’s staff. “ADEC has always been remarkably adept at adapting and responding to change. I know this will be no different.”
Shively oversaw several new initiatives and programs at ADEC including new summer day camp and after-school programs for children with developmental disabilities. The organization opened two coffee shops in Goshen and Middlebury and an adult day service site in Mishawaka. Other accomplishments include the expansion of employment and guardianship services as well as the formation of an autism resource team.
ADEC’s reach into the community flourished under Shively with partnerships with the United Way of Elkhart County on several projects and increased statewide support by becoming more actively involved with The Arc of Indiana, a group that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
ADEC’s board of directors will immediately begin the search for Shively’s replacement.
“The board is in the process of forming a search committee comprised of board representation as well as community representation,” board chairman Kevin Boyer said in a news release. “The goal will be to fill the position in a timely manner, while identifying a successor who will lead the organization as effectively as Paula has for the past 12 years.”