Thinking it through from the ground up
Dan Donovan / Guidepost Solutions
Dan Donovan is among the top experts for designing security infrastructure at venues. If there’s a new arena or stadium in development, the former Mankato State offensive lineman and his firm, Guidepost Solutions, are most likely consulting on the project.
Donovan serves as vice president of security and technology consulting for the company, which has the Bucks, Warriors, Falcons and Braves among its current clients. All of the teams recently opened new venues or are building them. Guidepost Solutions’ big league clients extend to the Miami Dolphins, who recently completed a $500 million renovation of Hard Rock Stadium.
Donovan is also well-versed on the event side, dating to the 1996 Summer Olympics, where he ran sports technology for the local organizing committee.
All told, Donovan has worked a dozen Super Bowls as an NFL consultant in addition to multiple NBA All-Star Games. For new venue projects, he hires former stadium managers and security directors to form a de facto security division as part of the facility development team.
Guidepost Solutions also contracts with corporate facilities outside of sports, extending from Silicon Valley corporations to the Hudson Yards project in New York.
Earlier this month, Donovan led a 10-person team running the crowd management program for Dreamforce, the massive technology conference attracting more than 100,000 attendees in the Bay Area. As part of the event, Guidepost Solutions helped plan security for the private Lenny Kravitz/Alicia Keys concert at AT&T Park that drew 40,000 people. In the heart of downtown San Francisco, where the conference was held at Moscone Center, Donovan’s team helped coordinate the logistics for closing Howard Street for sponsor activations between the convention center’s north and south buildings.
It is the fifth year Guidepost Solutions has worked Dreamforce, but the 2017 event marked the first time event officials applied additional tactical teams, boosting the visual profile of law enforcement to help stop potential terrorist threats, Donovan said.
Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval saw the operation firsthand as he attended a meeting in San Francisco with design firm HOK to discuss the team’s ballpark project. “The secured perimeter was the most extensive I’ve ever seen,” Kaval said. “It reminded me of the [Oakland] coliseum.”
In sports, those security upgrades will play a greater role, Donovan said. “Given the incidents we’ve seen, you want all the technological and physical elements, but you also need countersurveillance and the tactical teams for an increased security presence.”