Arkansas Department of Transportation 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 said.
A native of Blytheville, Bennett 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 said. "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."
Schueck said the commission would move fast to hire the next director.