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This week we announced that Laura Guscott has been named president of the company.

As Goric’s CEO, Laura has led the day to day operations since 2012. Now, with her new responsibilities, she will be fully responsible for setting the strategy and growing Goric’s presence throughout North America.

“I am honored to be entrusted with a company that has a long tradition in combining quality, functional excellence, and beauty in providing spaces that provide for both independent and inter-generational play for all children and adults,” said Laura, commenting on her promotion.

Rick Henke

It is a bittersweet announcement because it means Laura will be assuming the president role from Rick Henke, who announced he is retiring from Goric. Although stepping back, Rick will still be available to consult and advise. Rick is not only Goric’s founder, he’s been the company’s North Star since its founding in 1994.

“Laura and I have worked closely together for the past 17 years,” Rick says. “She knows every aspect of the business. I have the greatest confidence in her ability.

“I know Laura will lead Goric towards great success in the future, building upon her solid understanding of Goric’s philosophy, designing and developing nurturing play environments, where children manage challenge and risk through choice and exploration.”

“Rick has been my step-dad since I was 12 years old, but more than that, he’s my mentor and biggest cheerleader,” Laura said. “As a pioneer of the modern playground, he is widely known and admired in the industry. He 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 innovative leadership in the playground world by pushing the boundaries of what we expect from a play space.”

This tradition, unique among play equipment providers, will continue to guide us, said Laura, even as she leads Goric into the next era of play.

Laura & Rick on a business trip in Berlin, Germany, 2005.

“Goric will continue to provide the creative approach in play that Rick Henke built this company on,” she says. “I’m committed to designing play spaces that are fun for children and adults and providing schools and communities with equipment that is as durable and maintenance-free as it is inviting and attractive.”

No one is better prepared to lead Goric than Laura Guscott. She holds a BA in psychology with a focus on child development from Huron at Western University, Ontario, Canada. Besides her broad industry experience, as a mother with two active youngsters – a daughter 8 and a son 2 — she knows first-hand the importance of play.

Though she interned at Goric during her college years, Guscott didn’t intend a career in the family business. “Back then, I recall telling my mom that Rick’s work and vision deserves to be continued far into the future. I just didn’t know that it would be me leading the way. Now it feels like a natural progression.” After an early career with Challenge and Fun Inc., a supplier of natural children’s products, she joined Goric in 2004. Over the next decade she worked at every job in the company, before becoming chief executive officer.

“I’m excited about the future of play in public spaces and the role Goric will play. It’s an exciting time for us and I look forward to this next chapter in the company’s history.”