Harroll "Hop" Backus, executive vice president of State Operations, oversees multiple AARP departments and offices, including a field structure of five regional offices, 53 state offices, over 500 staff and a nationwide network of volunteers. State Operations' staff and volunteer partners work on AARP priorities that include advocacy, government relations and community service.
Mr. Backus has more than 30 years of experience in strategic executive management, community mobilization and lobbying, and human services delivery. Following graduation from the University of Oklahoma, he embarked on a 20-year career with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS). He held several key leadership roles while at DHS — from state director of Volunteer Services and director of the State Unit on Aging to deputy director for the Aging Services Division. He was a founding member of the Oklahoma Center on Aging at the Oklahoma University School of Medicine and was a primary architect of Oklahoma's Advantage waiver program that provides home-based community services.
Mr. Backus joined AARP in 1995, first as state legislative representative with the Southwest Regional Office, then as manager of Advocacy and State & Community Operations in the West Regional Office. After serving as Midwest regional director, he became director of State Operations, where he launched new departments, systems and processes to support AARP's work in the field. A Community Achievement and National Leadership Institute Award winner, an adjunct professor of gerontology and co-developer of intergenerational programs for inner-city youth, he has served as a consultant to myriad community agency boards and councils. Mr. Backus also led AARP's successful National Social Security Campaign.