IPEMA Member Spotlight: Barry Leahey, Playdale Playgrounds

IPEMA is proud to highlight our members, who share in our mission to promote play and encourage safety in the work they do each day.

Our members are the backbone of IPEMA – helping us encourage safer play spaces for children and families by prioritizing the certification of their play equipment, surfacing and products. We’re proud to showcase that great work of our members here.

We’re highlighting Prof. Barry Leahey MBE, CEO of Playdale Playgrounds, a family-owned business that dates back to 1735 and has installed over 23,000 playgrounds in the world over the last 40 years. Learn more about Barry:

How long have you worked in the industry and what drew you to it?

18 years. Who wouldn’t be drawn to this industry? We sell fun all over the world!

Tell us about your business, your customers, etc., and what do you do in your current position?

Playdale Playgrounds Ltd. has designed, manufactured and installed over 23,000 playgrounds around the world over 40 years. It is a family-owned business that dates back to 1735 when the Croasdale Family began working in the forestry and allied timber trades. It progressed into the playground industry in 1978 when Playdale Playgrounds Ltd. was established. The company prides itself on providing an experience of high-quality products matched with a high-quality service. As CEO, I have the privilege of leading a dedicated and enthusiastic team driven to provide smiles.

What’s been a key to your success in this industry over the years?

Our team at Playdale. Our Net Promoter Score (NPS) is currently 79–anything over 70 is truly world-class service and that, coupled with using the most robust, quality materials, explains our global success.

What is a project that you’ve done that you’re especially proud of, and why?

So many! Due to having strong personal links with the U.S., I was exceptionally proud when we first broke into the market and, in 2021, it was our largest international market.

Have you faced any industry-related challenges lately, and what have you done to overcome them?

Global businesses tend to be more agile and resilient; I am not saying the last few years have not been tough (they definitely were), but the team at Playdale came together as a family unit and strategically worked our way through the issues. We are thrilled to have come out the other side, leaner, fitter and stronger!

How long have you been a member of IPEMA and what are the biggest benefits of membership?

We are coming up on a decade of membership and have enjoyed getting to know the community and committees. We have had support when needed and always felt welcome–reach out and come and say hello!

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