Franklin engineer joining former mayor at INDOT

Underhill to become McGuinness’ deputy commisioner

For four years, he has been in charge of overseeing road and infrastructure projects in Franklin.

But when his boss took a job with the Indiana Department of Transportation and asked him to come along, Travis Underhill couldn’t say no.

Next month, Underhill will leave his job as Franklin’s city engineer to become a deputy commissioner for Joe McGuinness at the state department of transportation. The two have become close after working together in the city for four years, and Underhill couldn’t pass up the opportunity to advance his career, he said.

McGuinness also wanted Underhill to be able to continue the work he has done in the city on a greater scale, including finding efficiencies and ways to streamline processes, he said.

Underhill also brings experience and knowledge of INDOT, since he has routinely worked with the state department during his time in Franklin, McGuinness said.

“He has a great reputation with INDOT, and I think it will be a good fit,” McGuinness said.

What his new job will entail is still being determined. Underhill was used to heading out to the site of a road project to meet with contractors and crews about the work that was going on — a part of his job he also enjoyed. But now, he isn’t sure that will happen as much, he said.

But he also is looking forward to doing his job on a larger scale with more resources, he said.

Underhill came to Franklin from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has always felt welcome here, he said.

And he has enjoyed the work he has done here, from rebuilding Main Street to redeveloping the east side near Interstate 65 to kicking off work to rebuild Jefferson and King streets.

“This is nothing against Franklin,” he said. “I am infinitely grateful for the opportunities I have had here.”

He will miss the close collaboration and family atmosphere in Franklin, and hopes to somewhat replicate that at the state level, he said.

In his final days on the job, Underhill has been working to find his replacement and making sure all ongoing projects are ready to go. That includes work along Jefferson and King streets, where phases two, three and four are set to begin this year. And those projects are all ready, he said.

“All of the big stuff is under contract, and they are not going to let it fail,” Underhill said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.