MINUTEMAN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE DANA HAM HELPS BUILD THE FUTURE
Dana Ham is thinking big these days. Really, really big.
That’s because he is Director of Facilities for what is probably the largest construction project presently underway in Massachusetts – Wynn Boston Harbor, the first five-star resort and casino in the Commonwealth. Situated in Everett, this massive $2.1 billion project will encompass over 3 million square feet on 33 acres and has an anticipated opening date of June 2019. Mr. Ham, 51, of Lexington, works with the Wynn team overseeing the project.
He is a 1983 graduate of Minuteman High School, in Lexington, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2015. He credits Minuteman with giving him a solid foundation for his professional success. “I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for Minuteman,” he said.
Mr. Ham’s other notable endeavor these days involves working toward the creation of a modern, state-of-the-art school building to replace the current Minuteman facility. He serves on the Minuteman School Building Committee but his ties with the school go even deeper; Mr. Ham’s son, Kevin, graduated from Minuteman in 2015. While attending Minuteman, Kevin earned six college credits through Dual Enrollment, had an internship with his current employer, and was accepted into IBEW Local 103 as an Electrical Apprentice.
Mr. Ham’s career has been eclectic, allowing him to accrue a wide range of skills. He studied welding in high school and remained in that field for five years, then took the civil service exam and was hired by the Lexington Police Department in 1988. Mr. Ham was the first school resource officer in Lexington and he also was on the detective bureau investigating juvenile crime. Mr. Ham subsequently pursued a different interest by becoming Director of Facilities for the Lexington Public Schools for two years. In 2005, he was named Director of Facilities for the Cambridge Public Schools, with responsibilities that included 13 buildings with a total of 1 6 million square feet and nearly 100 employees. While in Cambridge, Mr. Ham planned and supervised over $500 million worth of school construction, including the phased and occupied renovation of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School.
When a challenging new opportunity presented itself in the fall of 2015, Mr. Ham accepted it because he felt that it would fully utilize the depth and breadth of his varied background. Today, after nearly a year, he describes his position at Wynn as “a dream job.”
It’s definitely not an easy one. Mr. Ham’s hectic 12-hour days are consumed by meetings with vendors, architects, construction experts and others representing a wide array of trades from carpentry to plumbing. “It’s a very fast-paced, never-ending project,” he said. “It’s go, go, go until you go home.”
He appreciates the way the Wynn organization brings in their engineering staff early in the construction process of a project “before the walls are closed up,” as Mr. Ham put it. Using that approach, he said, means that every nuance of a structure, from the placement of a boiler to the siting of light fixtures, is done the first time around in precise accordance with how the Wynn operations staff want it done. By contrast, Mr. Ham explained, most companies hire a contractor who builds the building, then the company’s own operations experts come on board – when it’s often too late or problematic to correct anything. Now that the City of Somerville has dropped its environmental objections to Wynn Boston Harbor, construction is proceeding rapidly.
As for the value of a Minuteman education, Mr. Ham believes that the school provides students with a multitude of viable pathways. He gladly points out how his own training there has paid off. In today’s world, Mr. Ham noted, students need options. Minuteman provides what 21st-century students need, he feels.
“If I didn’t go to Minuteman,” he said, “I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today.”
Minuteman is an award-winning regional high school that integrates robust academic and career & technical learning to deliver a revolutionary competitive advantage. The school serves a diverse student body with multiple learning styles, expanding opportunities for college and career success. As an accredited member of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), Minuteman challenges all students to aspire to their full potential, accelerate their learning, and achieve success in the 21st-century global community.