LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) Director Scott Bennett is retiring effective March 20, 2020. Bennett informed the Highway Commission of his decision in a letter dated Feb. 19.
“I’ve had a great career at ARDOT, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many success stories,” Bennett said, “but it’s time for me to step down. I’ve always been told ‘you’ll know when it’s time,’ and I believe that time has come for me.”
Commission Chairman Tom Schueck of Little Rock praised Bennett for his leadership. “It’s been a privilege to work with Scott,” Schueck said. “He’s a great leader – he is a visionary, he’s knowledgeable, and a great communicator. The people of Arkansas have been well-served with Scott Bennett leading the Department of Transportation.”
Bennett was instrumental in leading the Department’s efforts to develop and implement recent voter-approved highway programs such as the 2011 Interstate Rehabilitation Program, and the 2012 Connecting Arkansas Program. He also expressed confidence in the current ARDOT staff’s role leading up to the November 3, 2020, general election where the voters will decide the fate of Governor Hutchinson’s long-term road and bridge funding proposal.
“We have put together a great construction and maintenance program that will serve the citizens of this State for decades to come if the people support the Governor’s plan in November,” Bennett noted. The plan that is on the general election ballot would increase revenue for needed improvements to State highways, county roads, and city streets. “It has been exciting to work with the Governor, the Commission, our staff, and others developing this program. It really has been a team effort. The Commission and ARDOT leadership and staff are well equipped to implement and manage the program as it continues moving forward.”
Bennett is a native of Blytheville and has been with ARDOT for nearly 32 years. He started in the Department’s Planning and Research Division in 1989 after four summers as an engineering intern for ARDOT and following his graduation from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. He also obtained a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering while working for ARDOT. Bennett is a Registered Professional Engineer. He held numerous engineering and management positions during his career, culminating with being named Director in 2011.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been part of a great team and surrounded by so many capable and talented people throughout my entire career. I am indebted to the Commission, the staff, and so many others who have helped me and supported me all along,” Bennett concluded. “Any successes I’ve had have been the result of the efforts of many – I couldn’t and didn’t do this job by myself. It’s been a tough decision to leave, but in my heart, I know it’s the right one.”
Some of the highlights and accomplishments of Bennett’s ARDOT career include:
Receiving the University of Arkansas College of Engineering’s Young Engineer of the Year Award in 2005.
Being inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineers in 2010, where he serves as a Past President.
Being appointed by Governor Hutchinson to the Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors in 2015 and reappointed in 2019, where he serves as a Past President.
Receiving the University of Arkansas College of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.
Being honored by the University of Central Arkansas by having an Endowed Chair in the field of Transportation Logistics named for him.
Being a member of the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, from 2012 through 2018.
Being a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), where he has also served as Secretary-Treasurer since 2017.
Being co-chair of the Joint Committee of AASHTO/Associated General Contractors/American Road and Transportation Builders Association since 2011.
Receiving AASHTO’s Thomas H. MacDonald Memorial Award in 2016, the top award given to an engineer in the transportation profession.
Chairman Schueck stated that the Commission will meet as expeditiously as possible to consider Bennett’s replacement.