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Banning Engineering: Celebrating 30 Years of Engineering Excellence and Making Your Project Their Priority

Banning Engineering: Celebrating 30 Years of Engineering Excellence and Making Your Project Their Priority

On a sunny winter day in 1994, Jeff Banning and his lovely wife Nettsie, found themselves contemplating their future as the engineering firm he had been working for was in financial trouble. So, they sat on a park bench in Swinford Park in Plainfield and said a prayer, asking that God be with them as moved forward in their plan to start a new engineering company.  Sure, they both had concerns about this new venture but as Jeff told her, “The worst that can happen is that we don’t succeed”. Thus began the start of Banning Engineering. Their business began to grow and that leap of faith they took was starting to pay off. What started out as 5 employees using the Banning home as a base, using their personal vehicles, and utilizing the public library for a meeting space quickly morphed into the need for a more permanent workspace. Looking to set themselves apart from other engineering firms, they determined that their business remain in Plainfield, relocating from a few different locations and then to their current facility on Ronald Reagan Parkway and the rest is history. “Who would have thought that from a park bench prayer, we would become a thriving company that is now employee-owned (ESOP) with over 60 employees who have become corporate citizens in the communities we serve? We have been so blessed for the past 30 years and look forward to being even more blessed as we move forward. Thank you to all who have made Banning Engineering what it is today,” said Banning. 

Here’s A Quick Q & A With Jeff: 

Q: What led you to start your business?

A: The need to find another job. I took a leap of faith and tried something new. 

Q: What need did your business start out to solve or accomplish?

A: When we started out, it was to help local businesses. We loved (and still love) working with the Hendricks County Community and assist with working through the proverbial bureaucratic red tape. That has since evolved into working with larger companies on larger projects. As a company we still love working with smaller businesses but had to pivot to keep the company going. 

Q: Do you feel like that need has changed or evolved over the years?

A: Yes, the needs have changed and are ever evolving. There is a need for redevelopment or more dense/compact development within the downtown areas of our communities. There is a start to change our downtown area to a place where you can walk to the store and shops, the way it was 50-60 years ago.  

Q: With all that you have learned over the years, what advice would you give your younger self?

A: To tell you the truth, I’ve been pretty thankful and happy with the way things have turned out. I guess, if there was one thing, I would say to start thinking about the transition of the company to the next generation of leadership earlier. Don’t worry, though! I am not ready to retire yet! 

Q: Would that be the same advice you would give to other business owners or aspiring business owners? If not, how would you advise others?

A: Well, I have to say that I would almost hate to start a job nowadays. It is much more complicated than it used to be. So much red tape, rules, and regulations. But I will say, it goes back to that leap of faith. Jump in, start swimming, and remember why you started in the first place. 

Q: In the budding years of your business, what area or areas of business do you feel like you needed the most support?

A: Probably having someone to talk through decisions, next steps, ideas, etc. After all, no one knows what you’re going through like someone who is walking the same walk. Get out there and surround yourself with those that will support you and lift you up. 

Q: What inspires you in business and keeps you motivated?

A: Helping others keeps me motivated. It is very gratifying to me.  As I’ve gotten older and I am more and more hands off the engineering part of the firm, I find that mentoring those around me is very rewarding. 

Q: What does the future look like for your business and the work your company does?

A: Well, from a work standpoint, I think that there is going to be a lot more infrastructure needing updated, fixed, and replaced to keep up with new developments in our community. From a business perspective, we are always trying to evolve. We are now employee-owned (ESOP), which is important to us. 

Q: Do you have an inspirational quote or a tenet that you live by? 

A: Hebrews 11:1- “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I feel like people get caught up in the things that don’t matter. We need to have more faith in humankind. We need to have more faith that things will work out.

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