Paul Darley looks for opportunity around every corner Featured

11:32am EDT July 5, 2011
Paul Darley looks for opportunity around every corner

There’s almost nothing that could happen to Paul Darley in the business world that would present more of a challenge than what he faced in his late teenage years. At 16, his oldest brother committed suicide. Two years later, his mother died of cancer during his first month of college. And a few years after that, his best friend and cousin died.

While these would be unimaginably difficult for any person to endure, Darley chose to learn from the experiences and seize every day and every opportunity that presented itself. And if the opportunity was not there, he simply created it himself.

As the president and CEO at W.S. Darley & Co., Darley leads his company with complete transparency. He shares the direction of the business, which manufactures and distributes firefighting equipment, with all his employees on a regular basis to keep them informed of what’s happening.

He shares those challenges that crop up and engages his people in the effort to find a solution. He regularly talks about the importance of innovation and strategic direction.

Darley encourages his people to continue their own education at the company’s expense so that they can be more effective on the job. The company also sponsors a health club plan that encourages employees to stay in good physical shape.

This spirit of team and family stems in large part from the fact that the company is a 102-year-old family business. And those family deals are embedded in the company’s culture through its emphasis on honesty, integrity and respect.

But the thing that keeps the company going is Darley’s drive to live up to his own high standards and get the most out of every day and every opportunity he gets. The personal mantra that he lives by is to, ‘Work hard. Play hard. Give back.’

How to reach: W.S. Darley & Co., (708) 345-8050 or