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meet the team

Board of Directors

Chris Decker

President

Michael W. Shelton

Board Member

Marc Knapp

Board Member

Gary Ericson

Board Member

Lawrence Ruggiero

Board Member

Timothy Tope

Chairman of the Board

Chris Decker

President

President

Chris Decker

Chris Decker, President and Founder of Planate Management Group, is a U.S. Navy Veteran boasting over 35 years of expertise in military and civilian installation management. His career encompasses a rich blend of uniformed service, senior government civilian roles, and leadership in the contractor arena. With a background in the Civil Engineer Corps/SEABEEs, Mr. Decker brings invaluable insights into facilities management and acquisition, honed through his extensive tenure within the US Navy. Notably, Mr. Decker served as the pioneering Public Safety Director for the US Navy, orchestrating a groundbreaking $9 billion program aimed at enhancing counterterrorism efforts in the aftermath of 9/11. His leadership steered critical initiatives, shaping the landscape of global security operations and complex infrastructure environments.

In 2007, Mr. Decker founded Planate Management Group, a dynamic team of technical specialist's adept at navigating complex environments. Under his guidance, Planate has emerged as a powerhouse, delivering innovative solutions in planning, design, construction, and professional services to clients worldwide. Beyond his corporate endeavors, Mr. Decker is deeply engaged in various philanthropic and leadership roles. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA), a Founding Board member and Vice President of the Navy Safe Harbor Foundation and holds the position of Director of the US Philippines Society, among other notable affiliations.

Chris is a licensed professional engineer and alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, he holds a Master of Engineering in Engineering Management from the University of Florida, complemented by a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Naval Science from the United States Naval Academy.

Michael W. Shelton

Rear Admiral, Civil Engineer Corps, USN, Retired

Rear Admiral, Civil Engineer Corps, USN, Retired

Michael W. Shelton

Mike's expertise is built upon his experience in facilities operations, maintenance, and strategic planning, as well as his diverse management capabilities. Before retiring as Chairman, EMCOR Government Services, he was responsible for overseeing all of the EMCOR Government Services' activities. This included planning, coordinating, and implementing the wide variety of programs and processes required to ensure consistently high-quality building operations and facilities maintenance service at all designated government facilities, while maintaining maximum security, cost effectiveness, and responsiveness. Previously, he was president of Burns and Roe Services Corporation, where he was in charge of all activities associated with the growth and operations of this facility and utilities business.

Prior to that, Mike spent over 34 years in the Navy. His naval career spanned six command tours involving all facets of the Navy's facilities and construction forces in worldwide operational areas. In addition to holding an officer-in-charge-of-construction post, he commanded a Seabee battalion; a regiment and brigade; a Navy Public Works Center; and the Navy's largest Engineering Field Division. He is a veteran of two “in country” tours in Vietnam, supporting the U.S. Marines during the ‘68 Tet Offensive, and the Special Operating Forces. He is most proud of the Presidential Unit Citation his command received.

Mike holds a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as well as masters' degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois and in management from the University of Arkansas. He is a distinguished graduate of the command staff course at the Naval War College and completed the Stanford Executive Program. He is registered in Pennsylvania as a professional engineer. A winner of the University of Illinois' 2005 Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumnus Award, he has been elected a Fellow of the Society of American Military Engineers and of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Mike has been president of the Professional Housing Management Association and he served on the Contract Services Association's (CSA) executive committee as the Chairman and served as Co-Chairman of the Professional Services Council (PSC) during the merger of CSA and PSC. Mike is currently on the board of The Folded Flag Foundation which provides scholarships to the families of service personnel who were killed in action or training for combat. He recently published West Point Admiral – Leadership Lessons from Four Decades of Military Service.

Mike is married to the former Mary Cornelius of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They have three grown children: Michelle, Jessica, and Tom and four grandsons.

Marc Knapp

Board Member

Board Member

Marc Knapp

Marc brings over 5 decades of experience in strategy, finance, financial risk management, and organizational design/development to his role on the Board of Advisors.  Among his achievements are:

  • Building a highly profitable financial risk insurance unit (along with related new product offerings) at a major insurance company that produced over $500 million of financial insurance contracts without a single claim being filed.
  • Leading a strategic pivot at a major international bank that repositioned that bank from being perceived by its customers as a “provider of cheap funds” to being viewed as a go-to source for financial creativity.
  • Revamping the loan pricing and funding practices at a Federal Home Loan Bank which led to a 50% jump in profitability with negligible increase in market or credit risk.
  • Building a trans-national risk management consulting practice focused on financial services and financial regulatory agencies into multi-million-dollar business, and then retargeting that practice into one focused on strategy and organizational design and development focused on early-stage domestic enterprises.

    Marc has degrees from Brown University (BA – History/Economics), the Columbia University Graduate School of Business (MBA – Finance), and the University of Baltimore School of Law (JD).  He is a member of the Maryland bar and currently serves as a probate court judge.  He has previously taught banking, finance and general business management courses at the New York Institute for Banking, New York University and the University of Maryland, and has served on the boards of a number of for-profit and non-profit enterprises.