Dan Ferguson

Relentless Ally

Maximizing Every Priority

Building corrections facilities pulls owner and stakeholder priorities in many different directions. Our clients must simultaneously consider budget, safety and facility security, critical system redundancy and more. There are simply no negotiable priorities. Over a nearly 40-year career, Dan Ferguson, Balfour Beatty’s director of justice and civic projects in California and a true market expert, helps clients balance and maximize them all.

Decades of Market Expertise

Some construction professionals take a circuitous route to their ultimate career calling, experiencing a range of construction types before dialing into a niche that suits their skillsets and personalities. Not so for Dan – educated as a designer, he first entered the industry as an intern architect for a Kansas-based design firm that specialized in precast detention modules.

“At the time, my employer specialized in turnkey services, where we could provide our clients with cost and schedule guarantees and a full-service package,” Dan says. “I learned early in my career that corrections clients value construction allies that align completely with their mission, a philosophy that found its highest application with Balfour Beatty.”

Over the following decades, before becoming Balfour Beatty’s preeminent corrections expert in California, Dan consulted and led successful corrections and civic projects across the entire US – in Alabama, Georgia, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, up and down the Eastern seaboard and more. In addition to sheer weight and variety of experience, Dan’s project history further reinforced the value of complete mission alignment in public work.

 Mission Alignment Meets Custom Solutions

Corrections construction involves many wholly unique considerations, especially related to safety, durability and redundancy. Office building or multifamily housing developers will likely never have to consider the relative safety of bolted-down furniture, anti-ligature measures for light fixtures and door handles or the utility implications of certain room arrangements, but corrections experts like Dan solve these problems and many more on every project.

Dan’s and Balfour Beatty’s approach involves engaging in the design and preconstruction phase at the earliest opportunity. During this phase, our team of market experts collaborates closely with clients to align with their program values, comprehend their vision for a safe and transformative facility and then introduce innovative and cost-efficient construction solutions to bring that vision to life.

“The needs of our client’s program determine the most suitable project solutions” Dan explains. “Whether a client values time, budget, quality of finish, safety or a combination thereof in varying proportions, our teams possess the necessary expertise and extensive project history to guarantee successful outcomes.”

Dan’s extensive corrections resume includes almost every possible iteration of these changing client priorities and consequently extensive experience implementing varying design solutions. For example, Dan has built facility structures using almost all the standard industry building materials, including prefabricated modular steel cells, metal studs, precast panels, precast cells, grouted metal TrussWall panels and masonry. Each represents some balance of schedule, budget, safety and durability considerations, but Dan has seen the real-world impact of each solution and can therefore provide expertise and advice in response to our clients’ needs.

Transition Team-Ups

As much as Dan and his fellow California teammates have embraced the importance of early program value alignment with our corrections clients, they’ve also learned that alignment is just as important as a project progresses and ultimately approaches completion. Early and active engagement with the client’s transition team – and maintaining that engagement throughout the entire project lifecycle – is critical to avoiding costly rework and ensuring a safe, functioning facility from day one.

Client transition teams typically include facility maintenance & operations staff, a chief deputy, experienced corrections officers, the client project manager, a training coordinator and other logistical staff, all familiar with the eventual needs of the planned new correctional facility.

“We work hard to understand and align with client needs as early as possible, but how our design and construction solutions interact with real-world implications can be hard to identify on paper,” Dan adds. “Active engagement with client transition teams ensure our early planning and subsequent work are consistent with the facility’s and client’s program needs at turnover.”

On the San Diego Youth Transition Campus, a design-build partnership between DLR Group and Balfour Beatty, the leadership team demonstrated final security camera views for the client’s transition team during the design phase. Due to mid-project program changes and changing facility operational staff, the planned new camera system required further refinement to meet the detection, observation, recognition and identification (DORI) standard of CCTV coverage.

“Using the DORI standard, the transition team identified an increased need for high-resolution cameras that could be used for positive recognition and Identification of an individual beyond a reasonable doubt,” Dan says. “By bringing the transition team on as early as possible, we were empowered to make the security system changes during the design phase while still reducing expenditures elsewhere, keeping the project’s budget and schedule on-track.”

Meeting Community Needs

Dan and Balfour Beatty recognize the dynamic nature of correctional facilities, whether public or private, as they evolve to meet the changing needs of our communities. The design and construction of new justice facilities is critically important to the creation of restorative justice. Dan’s extensive history of accomplishments, from his previous roles before joining Balfour Beatty in 2020 to his current director position where he showcases deep industry knowledge and exceptional leadership skills, highlights his continued dedication to fostering client connections and delivering top-tier construction services throughout the US justice market.