Living out the mission of the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County, Board Member Jeff Banning believes in the importance of cultivating the trails, parks and open spaces in Hendricks County. He affirms the organization’s belief that these spaces directly improve the community’s quality of life, providing healthy activities and community engagement opportunities.

Jeff has always been interested in bettering the Hendricks County community. He created Banning Engineering in 1994 and takes pride in the company’s role in how Hendricks County has changed over the years.

“From parks to roads to subdivisions, to warehouse buildings—there are so many things we have been involved with,” said Jeff.

This dedication to Hendricks County can be seen in his involvement with the PFOHC, and his involvement has only further strengthened the community in which he lives and works. He places emphasis on the Foundation and its ability to provide spaces and opportunities for his community to gather and enjoy nature.

Involved from the very beginning, Jeff has had a hand in multiple aspects of the organization, including leadership roles as president, vice president and secretary. His wide range of involvement has provided a unique look at the ways others have gotten involved in PFOHC and made the organization what it is today.

“Look at what we have. It did not happen on its own. Many people had a hand in what exists here. It takes a community to make things happen,” said Jeff.

Jeff credits the power of community and celebrates how the Hendricks County community has played a significant role in creating and maintaining the resources that PFOHC is able to provide.

Reflecting on the positive impact that PFOHC has had on Hendricks County, Jeff highlights some of his favorite spots to bike, run and wander—he enjoys Swinford Park in Plainfield, as he spent time coaching a middle school cross country team that frequented the course.

He has also grown a love for Sodalis Nature Park. “I cannot wait for more to open up,” he says. Jeff values some of the more unknown trails that are available, namely the Waste Management trails that can be found on the south side of the landfill near the shooting range and archery.

Given the emphasis Jeff places on the role of the community in the success of the parks, it is no surprise that he has had a huge role in creating events that allow for residents to come together and enjoy all the parks have to offer. He organized the Park to Park Relay and has been involved in the Summer Fun Run since its inception.

“I believe we have succeeded, and once we get past COVID I truly believe we will have even more success. Maybe do it multiple times a week or throughout the year,” he says.

He connects this to a motto he held dear to his heart when creating Banning Engineering—Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.”

Dedicated to the continuous growth of existing parks, Jeff is an advocate for continued stakeholder involvement with and support of existing parks.

“Continued growth and improvement of existing parks is the most enjoyable aspect of donating to the PFOHC,” added Jeff.

His belief in the power of collective engagement and the lasting impact individuals can have on the growth and development of resources that will benefit residents for years to come can be seen through his words and his work with the PFOHC.

When Jeff isn’t working you can find him hiking in a state park with his 4 kids and wife of 36 years, Nettsie.