W. Daniel Cerkan

President, Helion Intelligent Safety Solutions
Carlsbad, CA

Dan Cerkan retired from the Marine Corps in June 2011 after 20 years of service, where he was a designated Naval Aviator.  Dan is currently President of Balefire Safety Solutions, a safety consulting and auditing company.  His expertise is educating about, creating and auditing safety programs, safety management systems (SMS) and risk management/mitigation.  Dan is currently credentialed as an International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) and Helicopter Association International (HAI) auditor.  He is a multifaceted executive with strong experience in management, operations, and program/project leadership.

Dan received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University in 1991, and a Master of Aeronautical Science, Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems and Human Factors Specializations (With Distinction) from Embry-Riddle University in 2013.  He has a Program Management Certificate from Georgetown University and completed the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Amphibious Warfare School, and Naval Aviation Safety Officer Course. 

Dan held numerous billets during his career in the Marine Corps, including operations, administration, aircraft maintenance and safety.  Some notable assignments include:

  • Assignment to the Presidential Helicopter Squadron, HMX-1, where he worked as an Aviation Safety and Standardization Officer, Operations Officer, and Aircraft Maintenance Officer.  He was one of eight designated Functional Check Pilots for Presidential Aircraft, and designated the Standardization Officer for Functional Check pilot training and operations.
  • Assistant Air Officer, 1st Marine Division, OIF-2. He took part in numerous operations to include the Second Battle of Fallujah, Operation Al-Fajr.
  • Aircraft Maintenance Officer and Executive Officer, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161.  Supported ground forces during OIF-3 with CASEVAC and Assault Support Operations. 
  • Director of Safety and Standardization, Third Marine Aircraft Wing.  Dan was responsible for aviation and ground safety of over 15,000 Marines, Sailors and civilians, 500 aircraft and all support equipment, located across 47 global locations.
  • Aviation Safety Officer, Headquarters United States Marine Corps, Safety Division.  He was assigned as the fixed wing and rotary wing Aviation Safety Officer for the Marine Corps. 

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