Do you know a retired cop who is also in a rock band?! Well, we sure do, and we are very thankful to have him on our Banning Engineering team. Jeff Lewis is an observer/inspector and a CAD Technician and works under our Construction Services department in observation. Before working for Banning Engineering, Jeff spent twenty-five years in law enforcement and, prior to that, ten years in a band.

Jeff grew up in Franklin, Indiana, and after graduating in 1980, he had two choices playing baseball in college or jumping into the music business. After some thinking, he decided he was tired of school and pursued his music career. At the beginning of his career, Jeff performed six nights a week. He traveled from Grand Rapids to Daytona Beach for shows. After being out on the road for a while, Jeff would come back to play local Indiana shows. Jeff mentioned that in the 80s, you could find live music anywhere in town. Near the end of his ten-year music career, he and some other musicians formed a band named Headline. His wife later became pregnant, and Jeff chose to leave the band to be there for her and the baby. He told us leaving the music business for his family was an easy choice. Within a couple of years and some networking, thanks to his musical talent, Jeff was a cop. He started his law enforcement career with Hendricks County and served as the deputy sheriff. Jeff was vice president of his graduating class. In 2000, he began working at Avon and spent most of his law enforcement career working with kids in a school setting.

In 2019 Jeff retired from law enforcement and began working as a dispatch manager. After some time, he decided he needed a job change and looked through Indeed ads. He found a posting from Banning Engineering for a rodman. The advertisement noted that applicants needed Total Station and CADD experience. Jeff wanted a change and knew he wanted to work outside. Because of his work reconstructing accidents in his prior career, he also knew Total Station, plus he had former job experience with drafting. Living and working in the area for so long, Jeff had met Mr. Banning a few times but didn’t know him or the company well. After applying and receiving an interview, Jeff immediately made a connection when he walked into our office; he happened to know one of our employees through a former band member. During his interview, he also discovered that the HR Manager’s son was an Avon student and knew Jeff from his time at the school. The interview went great, and Jeff fit the position on multiple levels.

After receiving an offer, Jeff accepted and began working right as COVID hit. His wife has some health issues, and to protect her, he was cautious during 2020 and initially worked from home for six weeks. After a few months of working at Banning, Jeff was diagnosed with throat cancer and spent eight months in treatment and recovery. Jeff commented that someone was consistently checking in on him, and people were looking out for his well-being. Even through the ugliest times, Jeff felt reassurance knowing he never missed a paycheck and his job was secure. He was shocked to return from treatment to a new job assignment, a raise, and a vehicle to drive for work.

Jeff’s job varies from day to day. He works with Mike McCrary on many observation projects and Steve Brehob and Lance Ferrell on residential projects, cutting sheets, and getting drawings ready. Jeff shared that the best part about his job is the educational piece and the constant challenge. He also mentioned that the people at Banning are the absolute best. Jeff shared his appreciation for the way Jeff Banning runs the company. He told us, “The benefits are indescribable. When I share with others about my benefits, jaws drop. And the culture is great. Makes it a whole lot easier to come to work on Mondays.”

Currently, Jeff plays in two bands. The Toons, who perform on the northeast side of Indy, play a lot of current rock and covers of the 60s, 70s, and 80s music. Jeff also plays with Deadline, a band formed with guys he toured with in the 80s. Their name is a play on Headline, thanks to their older ages. Deadline plays a lot of 80s rock, and Jeff plays electric guitar and bass. Because of their horn section, Deadline performs at many outdoor venues. He’s been a part of both groups for a year or so. Outside of rocking and working, Jeff and his wife have three children and two grandchildren. Jeff’s a great coworker and has a great life story. The best way to find out where Jeff’s bands are playing is to ask him personally or look on Facebook.