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Bennett Retires, Tudor Named Arkansas DOT Director

LITTLE ROCK, AR — The Arkansas Highway Commission has named Lorie Harris Tudor as Director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT). The commission made the announcement following a special meeting. Tudor will succeed Scott Bennett, who announced his retirement effective March 20, 2020.

“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.”

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. 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 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.

“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. “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.”

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 her Bachelor of Science in civil engineering 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 is the Vice-Chairman of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Committee on Funding and Finance and was recently appointed by AASHTO to represent the United States on the World Road Association’s Technical Committee for Finance and Procurement. Tudor was inducted into the University of Arkansas’ Academy of Civil Engineering in 2018, and was the recipient of AASHTO's Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award in 2019.

“I am both honored and humbled by the trust that the commission has placed in me to lead the department,” Tudor said. “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.”

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.

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