For Lloyd Ferguson, his lifelong career and experience in the construction industry taught him valuable lessons he was able to apply to other parts of his life, including his time on municipal council and working on various boards and committees in his community.
Ferguson was recently inducted into the Hamilton-Halton Construction Association’s (HHCA) Hall of Fame during its 103rd annual general meeting and dinner.
Ferguson spent 32 years with Dufferin Construction Company. He started as an estimator and eventually worked his way up to general manager.
Over the years, Ferguson worked on a number of projects and said the most memorable ones were the redevelopment of Pearson Airport; Highway 407; the Welland Canal rehabilitation; and the Peace Bridge resurfacing and repair.
Many of these were big projects and were built on aggressive timelines.
“During my tenure as GM at Dufferin we won national safety awards and a big one was a national innovation award where we brought in a high load shoring system to build a departure level bridge at the new terminal at Pearson,” he recalled.
He retired in 2006 but began working for Strabag on the Niagara Tunnel project as the deputy project manager.
In addition to serving as president of the HHCA in 1993, Ferguson also served on the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Contractors’ Association in 1995; the Ontario Road Builders’ Association from 2000-2003; Hamilton and Niagara District of Sewer and Watermain and Road Building Contractors from 1993-2003; the Road Builders and Heavy Construction Council for the Canadian Construction Association from 2000-2005; and director with the Canadian Construction Association from 2000-2005.
From 2006 to 2022, he was on the Hamilton Airport Authority board.
“We actively worked as a heavy construction contactor in all those sectors, roadbuilding, heavy construction and sewers,” said Ferguson. “I was able to network with a lot of senior decision-makers in government during that process.”
He also served as a Town of Ancaster councillor from 1984 to 1994 and as Hamilton city councillor from 2006 to 2022.
The Ferguson family has a long history in politics in Ancaster and Hamilton. His father got into political life from 1955 until he died in 1970. His mother ran in a byelection to fill his father’s spot. She won and stayed on council for 10 years until she passed away. Ferguson then decided to run for council and got elected.
“I didn’t seek reelection in 1994 because I became the general manager of Dufferin,” Ferguson explained. “There was a lot of travelling involved…and we worked across the country so it wasn’t practical.”
His brother ran for council in 1994 and after the amalgamation with the City of Hamilton, he became the only councillor representing Ancaster until he had a stroke in 2005 which rendered him paralyzed on the right side.
“When he wasn’t able to run again I ran in 2006 and won the next four elections after that,” said Ferguson. “I was a City of Hamilton councillor for a total of 16 years until I retired in November. I had worked for 52 straight years so I thought it was time for some ‘me’ time.”
As a councillor, his construction expertise came in handy.
“It was very helpful,” he said. “I chaired the city hall renovation committee, which is a very high-profile project and I brought a new delivery model. Rather than a conventional design-bid-build it went to a design-build using something called the Integrated Team Approach. We took the city hall right back to its bare bones, right back to the concrete and then rebuilt it all.
“At the end of the day we finished it five months ahead and $800,000 under budget. The contractor actually gave us a cheque for $800,000 at the end.”
Another board where he put his construction knowledge to use was with Hamilton Health Sciences.
“They had a $600 million capital program, so I chaired the planning and building committee,” said Ferguson. “We did the rebuild of the Juravinski Hospital, we built the rehab centre at the general, built the research centre at the general and converted McMaster Hospital into a pediatric hospital.”
He is also known for being cost conscious.
“I was called ‘frugal Fergie’ on council because I always watched costs and I didn’t mind being called that,” he said.
“That’s another rollover from what you learn in the construction business, because I always said, ‘You have to have a relentless quest for cost reduction otherwise you’re out of business.’ You only win projects in construction by being the low bidder…that helped me a lot in my political life, bringing that culture to a government environment.”
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