Dr. Richard (Dick) Ferguson grew up in a small western Pennsylvania town where a college education was not the norm. Neither of his parents received a college education so he was determined to become a college graduate. Finding his high school teachers to be strong role models, Dick attended the nearest teaching college where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and his PhD in Educational Research.
Dick began working at ACT, Inc. in 1972 after attending an American Educational Research Association meeting and where he literally stepped on a copy of ACT’s company newsletter. Although he knew nothing of the company, he called one of the employees whose text he was familiar with and at their urging, flew to Iowa City. He was offered a position in Test Development and was named CEO in 1988.
Under Dick’s leadership, ACT, Inc. has become a world leader in educational and workplace assessment, and has expanded internationally in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Throughout the years, ACT, Inc. has increased revenues five-fold, doubled employment, expanded their campus in Iowa City, and impacted millions of students, adults and institutions. He has also been a key leader in developing ACT WorkKeys®, a comprehensive system for measuring, communicating and improving the common skills required for success in the workplace. This program allowed ACT, Inc. to expand beyond a college aptitude testing company.
Dick’s professional commitments have never hindered his involvement in the community. He has served as President and Member on the Board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters; President and Member of the Board of the United Way of Johnson County, Chairman and Member of the Board of Mercy Hospital, Iowa City; and Member of the Iowa City Area Development Group.
Although Dick recently retired from ACT, Inc., he will continue to be involved in the world of work and education as he assumes the position of vice chair for Best Associates, a privately owned merchant banking institution headquartered in Dallas, Texas. He will primarily be involved in the education sector of Best Associates.
Dick has been an integral part of ACT, Inc. for the last 38 years and has brought the company to the next level in the educational assessment field. His presence will be greatly missed both at the company and the Iowa City community as he begins his new journey in Texas.