Jenn Suhr and Alex Conti weren't the only Chautauqua County residents to have a part in the Olympics this year.
Ben Fergus, born and raised in Findley Lake and a 1969 graduate of Clymer Central School, worked on the Olympic Park in London as a member of the international consortium CLM.
Fergus, now a seasonal Findley Lake resident, served from 2006 to 2009 as a project delivery manager for CH2M Hill. He was responsible for design quality and procedures for the designers of the Olympic Park and various other venues on the park. The Olympic Park includes the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Velodrome, Basketball Arena, International Broadcast Centre, Media and Press Centre and 600 acres of new parkland.
Ben Fergus, originally from Findley Lake and now a seasonal resident, stands in front of the Aquatic Center during construction in November 2009.
"It was a competition between a lot of large companies because it's a pretty prestigious project to get a hold of, and our company was one of three (CH2M Hill, Laing O'Rourke and Mace) that were selected," said Fergus. "So, I was part of the team that went over to London about a week after we won the work."
Fergus' client, the Olympic Delivery Authority, charged him with the responsibility of ensuring that all the venues met its seven priority themes. Themes included: sustainability, accessibility, equality and inclusion, safety and security, on budget, on schedule and legacy.
"We put together all the contracts for contractors and designers, the requirements that they had to attain during design and construction, and monitored that," said Fergus. "It was my job to ensure that all the designs met expectations from a quality perspective."
Legacy, one of the priority themes, was a business model for what happens to the venues after the games ended.
"I think that's one of the primary reasons that London won the games and beat Paris," said Fergus. "If you look at what happened in Athens for example, a lot of those venues are locked up and not used. It's just a real shame to invest all that money, have the games and not use those facilities afterwards. So, the U.K. wanted to make sure that there was a business model for each of the venues on how it's going to be used long term. The main stadium has a full capacity of 80,000 and it has an upper deck and lower deck of seats. London didn't need a large stadium like that after the games so the stadium was designed for the upper ring of seats to be taken out to support one of their local football (soccer) clubs like West Ham."
Another example of the legacy model includes the basketball venue. It is a temporary structure that may be sold to a university after the games. Even the Aquatics Centre is that way, Fergus said.
"It's a beautiful structure designed by internationally renowned architect Zaha Hadid," said Fergus. "The two wings that come up on each side to hold all the spectators will be taken down so that it can be used as an aquatics center for London and the U.K. going forward."
Sustainability was also a major focus.
"We wanted to build everything in a very sustainable manner," said Fergus. "If you look at how much steel was in the Bird's Nest Stadium (Beijing), it was incredible, a fabulous building, but not very sustainable. So, the stadium we built took into consideration how much energy was in that building and what we're going to do with it afterward."
While living in London, Fergus also had the opportunity to explore the city. His wife, Sharon (Sheri) Roush and their two daughters Kelly and Kristen, had the opportunity to visit him while he worked in London.
"I think London is the best city in the world and I had a really good time there," he said. "I had a flat where I could actually walk to work, and I didn't have to have a car for three years because I could take public transportation."
One of his favorite memories from London includes his membership with Holy Trinity Brompton (www.HTB.org.uk). The Vicar Nicky Gumble founded of the Alpha course, a program that allows participants to "explore the meaning of life" and the Christian faith.
"It is a ministry for bringing people into the church in a very non-threatening conversational kind of way," said Fergus. "They also have a vibrant worship led by Tim Hughes - worship leader and signer-songwriter. I was blessed to be a member of HTB for two years while in London."
He also enjoyed the many theaters located throughout the city. But, the most important thing, he said, was building friendships, getting to know and appreciating a diverse culture.
Fergus has a Bachelor's of Science in chemical engineering from Clarkson University and a master's in environmental engineering from University of Delaware. Fergus feels that the Olympics may have been the peak of his career, but he is still working on same other great projects.
"I'm at the point in my life where it's probably the peak," said Fergus. "Since the Olympics I've been all over the world working on different projects that are a lot smaller in nature. But, I've been to Brisbane, Australia, Calgary, Atlanta and just got back from Milan. So, I've really had the opportunity to see a lot of the world through my job. "
Fergus currently lives outside Washington D.C., but Findley Lake is where his roots are, he said. He comes to Findley Lake to visit family, enjoy the lake and celebrate holidays.