Q & A
Dan Bridget – Plainfield Town Council
Writer / Jamie Hergott
I grew up in Decatur Township. I used to ride my bike to Plainfield at the age of eight years old with my best friend.
I have been in quality management since I was 30 years old. I’ve been a consultant for a large firm and for myself. I’m retired from Gilchrist & Soames where I was the Director of Quality and Regulatory Compliance. I always did what I loved, that’s the amazing part. I’ve worked with 70 different organizations as a consultant, including Notre Dame and Purdue University.
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for 43 years. I have one daughter and one grandson. My daughter teaches at Cascade High School. My grandson Gabriel is my buddy. We talk about guy stuff. He and I have done day hikes, primarily in the Smoky Mountains.
How long have you been on the Council, and what is your role on the council?
This is my first term. I came on two and a half years ago. I’ve lived in the town for 33 years, and I noticed when the infrastructure went in, it was done well. I really admired it. Since business planning and quality management are what I’ve always done, I had the opportunity to run for office. There’s a lot of continuity in the leadership of Plainfield, and it shows in the way the town was planned. I always did that in my business career: long-term planning for a company to grow into a system. I’m able to keep doing that for Plainfield.
All of the leadership thinks in systems rather than currents. That’s what makes the town work.
My grandfather taught me you’re never old as long as you’re teachable. I’ve always taken it to heart. Even now my life is about learning. When everything is interesting, everything is fun.
My main responsibility is sewers, and I also work on a focus group for the downtown project, a telecommunications team and an ordinance committee. I love it. I’d be so bored in retirement. I’ve always been able to do what I like. I’m very blessed.
What do you like most about the Plainfield community?
We have the atmosphere of a small town but the amenities of a large town. That’s because of the planning. Our trail system and the quality of life here and the things we are working on for quality of life is so exciting. We are simple people. The roots of the town are deep. It’s a very old town. We’ve been able to keep that small-town atmosphere and constantly strive for excellence.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I really enjoy bike tours. I’ve done the Tour Across Indiana. I have done the Hilly Hundred for 31 years. I like to backpack. I summited Mt. Rainier in 2012 with a friend. I hiked rim to rim on the Grand Canyon in 2013 with some friends who are marathon runners, and we did it in 76 hours. I’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail across the Smoky Mountains, and I have hiked the backside of the Swiss Mountain Eiger.
What is your favorite book?
I love biographies. The most interesting person to me is Winston Churchill, so I think my answer is the book Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill by Carlo D’Este.
The book that woke me up to reading again, which I think is one of the greatest books of western literature, was All Quiet On The Western Front. I love the historical aspect. Being able to climb inside the head of someone who was there is fascinating.
What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
It’s a tossup between two. In my daughter’s senior year of high school, we took a family trip to Ireland. We rented a car and went around for three weeks. That was wonderful. The other trip was when my wife and I spent 18 days in northern Italy. It was amazing. I never travel with a tour. My fun is planning the trip.
What do you want people to know about what’s coming up for Plainfield?
The big thing I want people to know about is the plan we are working on for downtown. The plan is available through the website at this link: evogov.s3.amazonaws.com/media/30/media/95623.pdf. The original village that was Plainfield has been marked off. We started formulating, in our perfect world, what would our town look like? The things we have didn’t happen by accident. We want people to choose to live in Plainfield because it’s the best place they can think of to live. You can either manage change or let change happen to you.
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Other people have a lot to teach you if you’re willing to listen.