TAVARES — R. Wayne Bennett celebrated a homecoming of sorts this week as he returned to Lake County Government to begin his new job as Planning Director for the Lake County Department of Growth Management.
A graduate of Mount Dora High School, Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree in pre-law/political science from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Florida (UF). His first job out of college was with Lake County Government as a community planner.
His career path led him to hold several distinguished positions including director of planning and zoning for the City of Orlando, professional consulting in the Central Florida area and, most recently, executive director of the Louisville and Jefferson County Planning Commission in Kentucky. He has also served as the Professional Development Officer for the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Bennett said he decided to return to his old stomping grounds to be closer to family and to his son, who is beginning classes at UF this fall.
“I’ve come full circle in a couple of aspects and I think Lake County is a great place to continue my career,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities here to do some creative and innovative planning to ensure this County can thrive in the face of so much expanded growth.”
Bennett’s wealth of experience with several different types of government entities includes joint planning commissions, counties and municipalities.
“I have a lot of experience working with a variety of communities to address growth issues,” he said. “What’s appealing about Lake County is the wealth of natural amenities and resources. Being able to utilize and protect those resources in a positive way is a challenge I look forward to.”
Bennett is in the process of moving his family to Lake County, which includes wife C.J. and children, Nicole, Rosemary and John.