Lorie Tudor, a 36-year veteran with the Arkansas Department of Transportation who began at the agency as a clerk typist, was named Thursday the director of the state’s high-profile department. She is the agency’s first female director.
The Arkansas Highway Commission has named Tudor as director following a special meeting held Thursday. She succeeds Scott Bennett, who announced his retirement effective March 20, 2020.
Tudor began her 36-year career with what was then the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department in 1981 as a clerk typist. She resigned in 1995 to return to school and obtained a bachelor’ degree in civil engineering degree from the University of Memphis.
She returned to the department in 1998 as a civil engineer I in the Planning Branch. She held various titles in Planning, Research, and Program Management, becoming assistant chief engineer for planning in 2011. In December 2014, she was named deputy director and chief operating officer. She is a Registered Professional Engineer. Tudor was inducted into the University of Arkansas’ Academy of Civil Engineering in 2018, and was the recipient of the AASHTO’s Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award in 2019.
Tudor will become the Department’s first female Director, and the fifth person to serve in that role in the Department’s last 47 years. She follows Henry Gray (15 years), Maurice Smith (6 years), Dan Flowers (17 years), and Scott Bennett (9 years).
"One of the primary functions of the Commission is to make sure we have the right leadership in place at ARDOT," said Commission Chairman Tom Schueck said in a statement. "Scott Bennett has been that person for the past nine years, and Lorie Tudor has been at his side the majority of that time. We know we’ve got the right person in Lorie to keep the agency moving forward without skipping a beat."
"I am both honored and humbled by the trust that the Commission has placed in me to lead the Department," Tudor stated. "I have had many great mentors over the years, but Scott Bennett has taught me the most. His strong and effective leadership has resulted in many positive changes at the Department. He will be greatly missed and we wish him the best as he begins this new chapter. With the Department’s competent staff and support, I am confident that we can continue that progress as we head into the future."
The department is responsible for the construction, maintenance and other aspect of the state’s more than 16,000 miles of highway. The Arkansas Highway Police is the law enforcement branch of the department.