April 13, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Colombia Country Director Paul Hogan and the playground industry

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Colombia: Peace Corps Colombia : The Peace Corps in Colombia: April 13, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Colombia Country Director Paul Hogan and the playground industry

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 12:57 pm: Edit Post

Colombia Country Director Paul Hogan and the playground industry

Colombia Country Director Paul Hogan and the playground industry

August 1, 2000

For the past forty years I have been involved in the playground industry in a variety of ways. Starting in 1958 I began work as a teacher's aid at my children's nursery school. More often than not I took my wife's place in the cooperative Charlestown Playschool in SE Pennsylvania.

Being male I was assigned to the playground rather than the classroom. Being a contractor I saw the need for a complete overhaul of the decrepit and unsafe playground. I began working with the preschoolers to bring the play area up to modern and safe standards. I am still working on that very same playground. This last spring of 1998, I replaced a log cabin that I had first built four decades previously. At all times over the years I have encouraged the children to work with me. Once using thirty kids to drag a long heavy log to the building site in the woods or to search for flat rocks to form the floor of the log cabin we built.

Over the years I have designed and constructed over 450 playgrounds from Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific to Leningrad in the former Soviet Union and all points in between. I have written two major books and numerous articles on playground development, use and safety issues involving play. A list of my lectures, books and major projects follows.

I hold two patents on Triax 2000, a playground surface tester. This method of testing surfaces has recently been approved by the ASTM sub committee on playground surfaces -F 8.83.

As an expert witness I have been involved in over 440 playground and recreation related accident cases. A complete list of those cases is available either on hard copy or disc format. A short list of cases related to specific areas and specific types of playground accidents follows.

The remainder of my time, when not reconstructing a 200 year old Y4 mile long stone wall on my property, or rehabilitating an equally old stone barn is spent as an expert witness involving playground accidents and writing two new playground books. One is on building cheap playgrounds in third world countries such as Papua New Guinea and one is on lOO serious playground accidents and how they could have been avoided.

I began my career after discharge from the 11 th Airborne Division in 1952. I started as a laborer, advanced to carpenter and by 1956 was a partner in Hogan & Lynch Construction Co., Inc.

In that capacity I found a niche. We worked on very small but complicated military contracts. The jobs were too small for the large contractors to bother with and too demanding for the small ones to attempt. I stopped doing Government work in the mid- sixties and concentrated on playgrounds.


1960-1962 Director of Construction, Neighborhood Renewal Corps. The president of NRC was former Governor of Pennsylvania Milton Shapp. Worked with community leaders and youth groups in Philadelphia. Built playgrounds on vacant and abandoned lots in inner city with the help of local residents and the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspection's Open Spaces program."

Summer-1964 Developed and ran a vocational training program for 100 high school dropouts. This was the first pilot project of the War on Poverty. The project was under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Human Resources Program under the direction of Dr .Howard Mitchell.

1965-1967 Served as regional director for the Peace Corps in Colombia. Directed 75 Peace Corps Volunteers in a variety of programs including community development, health, cooperatives, handicrafts, agriculture, physical education and elementary support education via television relay from Bogota to rural schools.

1972-1973 Directed the Playgrounds For Free program to provide play and other recreational activities for the children of victims who lost their homes in Hurricane Agnes that devastated the Susquehanna Valley. We operated 20 trailer parks and employed approximately 50 recreation leaders under a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs.

1982-1987 Consultant to North Central West Virginia Head Start Program. Built several playgrounds with student and community participation.

1983-1985 Consultant to Hildalgo County (Texas) Head Start Program to inspect 25 playgrounds, upgrade some and construct several more. We had the help of local parents and a US Navy Seabee battalion.

1988 Consultant to the Government of Papua New Guinea. Trained local park personnel to construct economical playgrounds utilizing used materials in Lae, Mount Hagan and Port Morseby.

1989 Consultant to the City of Leningrad (Now St. Petersburg) School Authorities to construct a teenage obstacle course type playground. Performed work at a summer camp that was formerly a woman's political prison 30 KM outside the city.

1991-1992 Consultant to Universal Studios to critique the plans for the Hollywood 2 I -- Theme Park. After construction, I again inspected the Hollywood Park as well as the Orlando Theme Park.


Age 71, excellent health, HA Degree from Goddard College, Plainfield, VT. Three adult children. Divorced.


During the past thirty- five years I have lectured or given seminars on play, Design and play safety at the following institutions:
Burley Technical College, Melbourne, Australia
California State University, California, PA
Carrolton University, Ottawa, ONT
Delaware County (P A) Community College, Rosetree, P A
Drexel University , Philadelphia, P A
Maryknoll College, Wilkes Barre, P A
McGill University, Montreal, PQ
Merseyside Play Group Association, Liverpool, England
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfeesboro, TN
Minneapolis College of Art, Minneapolis, MN
Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ
Pan American University , Edinboro, TX
Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Rensselaer Institute of technology, Rensselaer, NY
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN


International Playground Association
National Recreation and Parks Association
World Waterpark Association
NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) Member - Subcommittees on public Playground Equipment and Playground Surfaces
Certified Playground Safety Inspector (National Recreation & Parks Assoc.)


Playgrounds For Free, MIT Press, 1974
Peace Corps, Colombia, Unpublished 250-page manuscript
Ways to Play (Co-author), Rodale Press, 1975
Agricultural Gleaning, Thesis for Goddard College
A Brief History of Children's Play, Playground Press
Playplans, Bi-monthly magazine -1976-78
The Nuts & Bolts of Playground Const., Leisure Press, 1984
A Philadelphia Boyhood, Holbrook & Kellog, 1995
IPA Quarterly Newsletter -Accident of the Month column.
International Play Journal. England
Articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Bulletin, Park & Recreation Journal, Mother Earth News, Home Magazine, Handyman Magazine, Brandywine Magazine and others.


Adjunct Associate Professor, Drexel University, 1976- 77
Instructor, Phila. College of Art (Now University of the Arts) 1976- 77
Recipient, Design Fellowship ($10,000), National Endowment for the Arts. For design & construction of a playground for handicapped children at Washtanaw County (MI) Intermediate Unit #24
Honorary Commissioner, US National Commission for the International Year of the Child -1979. Appointed by President Carter 1978-79
Lifesaving Award, Chester County (PA) Fireman's Assoc. 1964
Recipient, Center for Accident Control & Prevention - $45,750.00 grant to develop surface impact tester.
Received US patent # 5,490,411 granted February 13,1996 for playground surface tester
Elected to Board of Supervisors for Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA on Nov. 4, 1999 for a four year term.

Capitol Foreign

Spanish 3-3 grade by US Forein Service testing group.
French: Elementary
German: Elementary


Massachusetts State Guard, 1944-45
United States Merchant Marine, 1945-47
United States Anny, 11 th Airborne Division, 1950-52


Testing jump landing pits for USMC, Parris Island, SC
Safety Inspection for Cincinnati Children's Museum
Safety course and inspections for Anchorage School District
Safety Testing for playgrounds in Hensted, NY


Working with prisoners of Pennsylvania State Correctional Facility to reconstruct playground we worked on ten years ago. The playground is to provide opportunity for prisoners' children to maintain a bond with their fathers during their incarceration.
Building a log cabin at Charlestown Playschool to replace the one I built forty years ago.
Producing a 50-year retrospective video of Charlestown Playschool from old movies dating from the thirties. To be used to help promote their building fund.
Rebuilding three suspension bridges that were partially destroyed by Hurricane Floyd.

Also Visit: www.triax2000.com

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Colombia; Country Directors - Colombia; Children; Playgrounds



By joanne ruiz (pcp03751135pcs.walngs01.pa.comcast.net - on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 1:41 pm: Edit Post

I am searching for help. I am a second grade teacher in Chester, PA. The school I have worked in for seven years is located in a low socio-economic area. The violence rates are very high in the community and schools. Our students need a playground to socialize, exercise, and help cut down on violence. Our leadership team at our school has discussed the fact that our children do not have outside equipment, except balls, jumpropes, and one basketball court. For 350 children this is not enough. We could use assistance. Do you know who can help us? Do you have any suggestions. We know you have a great deal of wonderful deeds going on around the world. Please contact me.
Joanne Ruiz

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