A 40-year veteran of the attractions industry, Cleary began his work career in Broadcast Television as a Scenic and Lighting Designer in New York.
In 1991 Cleary supervised the design and construction of Splish Splash Waterpark on Long Island, New York, and served as the park’s president until 1999 when he and his partners sold the company to a private equity firm. Mr. Cleary was a VP of the newly created firm, Palace Entertainment. Palace Entertainment was purchased by Spain-based Parques Reunidos in 2007 and Cleary was named senior vice president to oversee the company’s portfolio of waterparks in the U.S. He worked with Parques Reunidos until he accepted the top staff position of President & CEO at IAAPA in April 2011.
Cleary was an active volunteer in IAAPA for nearly 15 years, prior to joining the organization as president and CEO. He served on the association’s exhibitor awards, government relations, safety and maintenance, and conference and trade show advisory committees and chaired the membership, strategic planning, compensation, and executive committees. He served two terms on the board of directors and was elected third vice chairman in 2007. He served as second and first vice chairman in 2008 and 2009 respectively and he was chairman of the board in 2010.
Cleary returned to the Theme Park Industry in the position of Senior Consultant to Europa Park in May of 2013 where he is heavily involved in Europa Parks new Water Adventure Resort Rulantica, He is also involved in strategic planning and was tasked with a complete reimaging of the parks Parade efforts.