Ken Kutska
About Us

Director of Parks and Planning (Retired)
Wheaton, Illinois, USA
Currently - Executive Director
International Playground Safety Institute, LLC
10611 Winding Stream Way
Bradenton, Florida 34212
Phone: 541-312-8826

Since retiring from the Wheaton Illinois Park District Ken is active as an independent consultant and expert witness in many areas of safety specializing in play spaces for children. He also volunteers for various organizations involved in the play and playground industry. He currently is Executive Director of the International Playground Safety Institute, LLC and President of Children and Recreation Environments, Inc. CRE, Inc distributing special surfacing system adhesives, non-toxic cleaners for children's play areas. Just prior to retiring Ken was part of a technical advisory committee to the Illinois Park and Recreation Association who received a Used Tire Recovery Grant to develop a playground safety surface that met or exceeded all safety and accessibility requirements while utilizing recycled tires. The system is currently available in the market place under the name SMARTE. The product can be installed with volunteers or in-house staff and is a pervious system utilizing one passenger tire equivalent per square foot. The product has a critical height in excess of 5 meters and is compliant to ASTM F1951 for access.

Ken received his B.S. in Public Park and Recreation Administration from Western Illinois University. He is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and a Certified Playground Safety Inspector with more than 40 years of full-time experience in all aspects of public park operations management.  He chaired his agency's Safety Committee from 1984 until retiring in 2006. During Ken's tenure with the Wheaton Park District the agency received the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence four times. Wheaton Park District is one of over 125 municipal agencies forming the Park District Risk Management Agency (, a premier risk management agency responsible for all aspects of loss control services including general liability insurance coverage.

Ken was an active member of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). He has served on the; IPRA Board of Directors, chaired the IPRA Park and Natural Resource Management Section, chaired the NRPA Great Lakes Regional Council, the NRPA National Forum, served on the NRPA Board of Trustees, and was President of the NRPA in 1995. Ken is a cofounder of the NRPA National Playground Safety Institute. The NPSI's Certified Playground Safety Inspector Course and Exam Program certified more than 40,000 with a current international registry of approximately 7,500. Ken has been a CPSI Course Certified Instructor since 1994. Ken authored chapters of the first text book used in the CPSI Course and chaired the NPSI five times and has served on the CPSI Course curriculum, exam, and certification committees. Ken was an approved instructor for the NRPA and U. S. Access Board's training program for interpreting the ADA/ABA Accessibility Guidelines for public play grounds.

Ken is a member of the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administrators (AAPRA) and in 2008 was appointed to the International Playground Equipment manufactures Association's (IPEMA) Voice of Play Board of Advisors. Ken has been an active member of several subcommittees of the American Society for Testing and Materials ( since 1989. In 1995, he was appointed Vice-Chair of the F15.29 Subcommittee on safety performance requirements for play equipment for public use and in 2005 he was appointed Chair.

Ken developed a comprehensive manual dealing with playground safety issues for his Agency in 1989. As a result, he co-authored an expanded version, Playground Safety Is No Accident: Developing A Public Playground Safety And Maintenance Program. He released the Fifth Edition of this book in November 2011. He also co-authored a book "Guide to Playground Planning ," Illinois Park and Recreation Association 1995, to assist small communities and volunteer organizations create safe yet challenging play spaces for children. In addition, he has written numerous articles and is a regular contributor to Playground Magazine while continuing to make presentations around the world on various playground management issues.

In 2005, Ken was a part of a U.S. Aid team of experts in play area design, installation, and operation that went to Sri Lanka as part of the Clinton-Bush Tsunami Relief efforts to develop a plan to create 100 play opportunities for the Sri Lankan youth who lost so much.

In 2008, Ken became Executive Director of the International Playground Safety Institute, LLC ( and is under contract to the NRPA to develop and provide international Certified Playground Safety Inspector Courses training opportunities throughout the world.

In 2008 Ken brought the idea of a National Summit on the value of play to a group of his colleagues from Clemson University in South Carolina. He was a member of the planning committee for the first Summit on the Value of Play for All which convened on July of 2009. This Summit developed several calls for action and the Summit resulted in the creation of the U. S. Play Coalition an advocacy organization promoting the value of free play (

Ken continues to work towards further developing the National Recreation and Park Association's CPSI Course and Certification Exam in hopes that every municipality, school district, and public play area owner and operator has at least one trained and certified staff member responsible for maintaining every public playground.