By Todd Travis
Donna Smithers first moved to Center Grove in fourth grade and has always loved being a resident. She graduated from Center Grove High School and married her husband, Chris, when they were 20 years old. While at CGHS, she got into the surveying and engineering field and realized that’s what she wanted to stick with for the long haul. After trying college for a short period of time, she realized that she just wanted to go back to what she knew best in surveying and engineering. She changed tracks and went to IUPUI so that she could get licensed as a surveyor.
“Honestly, I just fell into it. I went to Central Nine Career Center while in high school and got really into drafting. At the time, it was basically just mechanical engineering or architecture. I really liked architecture so I started with a small company called Sightline – I would go to school and then go work with them afterwards,” remembered Smithers.
“I just stuck with it. At that time, we would use drafting boards by hand – nowadays it’s all done on computers. I’ve always loved to draw so that was really fun for me. Now I just draw fun caricatures of everybody at work and we all laugh,” Smithers chuckled.
Fast forward to 2005 and Smithers started a business called Northpointe Engineering & Surveying Inc. When her sister Venus was considering her career options in college, Smithers recommended she get into engineering so they could work together down the road. Venus took her advice, came on with her at Northpointe, and now they are practically inseparable. Just recently, the two of them bought a plot of land and built homes next to each other.
“It’s kind of comical; people are like, ‘How do your work with your sister?’ It’s like, well, we’re best friends, and we’re with each other every day all the time. My husband and I are right by her, and her family and I really enjoy that,” Smithers explained.
Later this year, Northpointe will be celebrating 18 years in business and has gone from about four employees to 20 today. Smithers spends the majority of her time running the company, but when she wants to relax, she loves to watch old movies and play guitar. She also loves joining Venus and her kids as they participate in their sports teams.
What do you consider your greatest virtue? Kindness and courage. I want the best for everyone and the courage to always do what is right.
What do you most deplore in others? Not truly understanding what you have.
What do you like most about living in Johnson County? I have lived in the Center Grove area most of my life. My family moved here when I was in fourth grade. It feels peaceful to me. The family joke is I don’t like to go north of County Line Road. I love the community, my friends and family.
If you had to live elsewhere than in Johnson County, where would it be? I would rather not, but if I had to, I would live in Destin, Fla.
If you could begin life over, what would you change? Nothing. I would do it over again.
If money were no issue, how would you spend it? I would spend it on family and friends and those in need. I would also like to travel and explore the United States. My company takes up most of my time. Yes, traveling would be great.
What makes you happiest? Music. I love to play my guitar and sing. It is a stress reliever.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Destin, Fla. I can get there once or twice a year. Destin is definitely my happy place. I could sit by the ocean for hours.
What is it that makes you angry? Those who truly do not understand what they have in life. It can be the simplest thing. Life is hard and not fair but make the best of it. There is always that little thing that makes it worth everything. Stay humble and take in your blessings.
What do you do to escape from reality? I enjoy relaxing and watching old movies. TCM is one of my favorite channels. There are so many older movies with great movie stars: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Katherine Hepburn, and the list goes on. This is relaxing to me; I could make a day of it, and it gets me away from the real world.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband, Chris Smithers. We were 20 when we married. This June we will celebrate 35 years. He is my biggest cheerleader and always by my side.
Which living person in Johnson County do you most admire? My mom. I would say my mom and dad, but my dad passed away from COVID in October of 2020. They both are my world. My Mom is ALWAYS supportive and well, the GREATEST MOM a kid could ever wish for.
What is the quality you most like in a person? Integrity
What is your greatest extravagance? My Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk; it has a Hellcat motor with 707 HP. Not really needed, but boy is it fun to drive. I did sell it last year, and I am looking forward to another speedster to drive.
What are your fears and phobias? As I get older my fear is the passing of those you love.
What has been the happiest time of your life? Chris and I have no children. So the births of my nieces and nephew would be the happiest time of my life. They range in age from 10 to 28. I love these kids.
Which talent would you most like to possess? Painting. I love to draw but would love to be able to paint well. I am sure it would be relaxing.
What do you most value in your friends? Their love. My best friend is my sister, Venus. There is a 10-year difference in our age. We just have a special bond.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? I love history, but I could not provide you with any historical figure I identify with.
What is your greatest regret? I cannot think of any.
What tenet do you live by? Be kind and loving.