Don McGillem has made his mark on the streets of Plainfield, bringing years of engineering experience to the community.
McGillem recently announced his retirement. He came on the Town of Plainfield payroll full-time as transportation director in 2004, but had already been working with the town for several years.
“I stated working with Don back in 1992, ‘93,” said Tim Belcher, the town engineer. “Don had his own engineering firm and did a 20-year comprehensive plan for us.”
McGillem sold his firm a few years later and started working part-time on a contract basis for Plainfield.
“His years of experience have benefited our community tremendously,” Belcher said. “His retirement will be a great loss for the town. He has done such a great job for us.”
McGillem said it was 2004 when he was asked to go full time for the town.
“So I’ve worked both directly and indirectly with the town for about 20 years,” he said. “It’s really been a great place to work. I was able to draw on almost all of my past experience while working on projects here.”
He grew up in Washington and graduated from Purdue University.
“I went to work for the federal highway in their Region Five office in Chicago,” he said. “I worked there for four years then transferred into Indiana. That was in 1969 and I’ve been here since.”
McGillem and his wife, Kathy, reside in Plainfield. She works for the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library. They’ve been married for 32 years.
“Several years ago, my wife and I discussed our financial position for retirement,” he said. “She kept joking that I needed to work until I was 70. I’ll be 70 next March, so I thought it was time. I’ll probably hang out for two or three weeks then start begging for some part-time work. I know I’m going to miss it.”
There have been many changes and updates done to the streets and roads in Plainfield since McGillem started as director nine years ago.
He said the implementation of the industrial park brought about many changes.
“Essentially, we built a perimeter parkway,” he said. “It was very enjoyable to see that happen. Bringing in Metropolis Mall also brought more access points.”
He said working with the Plainfield Community School Corporation when it constructed the new high school was also a very interesting project.
“We needed to identify what roadway improvements would be needed to support the new school,” he said. “And of course the Street Scape project of the Town Center was a great project.”
He said the completion of Ronald Reagan Parkway through Plainfield was a recent accomplishment, along with Township Line Road.
“Township Line Road will be open here next week,” he said.
The Town of Plainfield is hosting a retirement open house and reception in McGillem’s honor from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 20 in the second floor meeting room at the Plainfield Town Hall.