U. “Rick” Henke, founder and president of Goric Marketing Group USA, Inc., has been dedicated to providing children with the most innovative play equipment since 1977. He is still a key figure in developing exciting and challenging play spaces accommodating children to freely grow and develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually.
Pioneering the design of accessible outdoor play equipment for children of any ability, Rick was one of the creators of integrated playscapes. The founder and owner of Children’s Playgrounds Inc., he was instrumental in developing safety standards and guidelines for public playgrounds in Canada (CSA). In 1994, he introduced and promoted cable net structures to the commercial U.S. playgrounds market which are now considered mainstream. He continues to bring ideas and designs from the European playground industry and integrate them into the North American market.
Rick has an engineering background and vast knowledge of American and Canadian standards. His compassion for children’s needs, his connection to European play equipment manufacturers, along with the support of great sales consultants and designers form the foundation of Goric’s success story.
We welcomed a new President and owner of Goric, Laura Guscott, in January 2021
After an early career with Challenge and Fun Inc., a supplier of natural children’s products, Laura joined Goric in 2004. Over the next decade she worked at almost every job in the company, before becoming chief executive officer in 2012. Laura’s leadership at Goric is colored by her interest and educational focus in child development, with her Bachelor’s degree in psychology, from Huron at Western University, Ontario, Canada. Besides her broad industry experience, as a mother with two active youngsters – a daughter 10 and a son 4 — she knows first-hand the importance of play.
“Rick has been my step-dad since I was 12 years old, but more than that, he’s my mentor and biggest cheerleader. We’ve had an incredible journey together, finding new and innovative play equipment that would be different than what was already available on the American market. Running a small business takes a lot of work, but we’ve had a lot of fun over the years. Rick has taught us that playground equipment needs to be designed for children of all abilities, that it should provide varying challenges as children grow and develop new skills and interests. As president and CEO, I will continue the Goric tradition of inclusive leadership in the playground world by pushing the boundaries of what we expect from a play space.” – Laura