Bob Bennett , a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army, will join Kansas City as Chief Innovation Officer in January, Mayor Sly James announced today.
“Bob’s experience leading process improvement strategies and efficiencies at the highest military levels will renew efforts throughout City government to make Kansas City more effective for all citizens,” Mayor James said. “His talent and enthusiasm will focus the City’s efficiency and digital momentum to even greater success.”
The CIO position reports to both Mayor James and City Manager Troy Schulte, who also welcomed Bennett to City Hall.
“Kansas City continues to lead the way by using innovative and smart solutions to solve complex City problems,” Schulte said. “As a result, satisfaction with City services is at an all-time high. We are pleased to welcome Bob to the role of Chief Innovation Officer. His experience as a leader and an innovator are the right fit for the future of Kansas City.”
Throughout his career, Bennett has excelled in managing multiple organizations, military units and agencies to improve efficiency and maximize performance. Currently an instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the West Point graduate has served in multiple Army roles in the United States and on military front lines around the world.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to transition the planning and innovation skills that I developed in support of Army operations around the world to my hometown,” Bennett said.
“To be able to join the Mayor and City Manager’s team in Kansas City and work to accelerate and maximize Kansas City’s technological and innovation prowess is a dream come true.”
In his career, Bennett planned combat, humanitarian and training operations for a unit of 300 American and 800 Iraqi soldiers operating in an area the size of Rhode Island. He commanded a battalion that supported a 6,000-soldier brigade deployed to Iraq with trained replacements, medical support for wounded soldiers and care of families whose soldiers were deployed.
He also served in Iraq as an interagency integration planner, writing and implementing strategic-level threat strategies affecting Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Agency of International Development.
As Chief of Operations for U.S. Army Africa, Bennett was responsible for planning and synchronizing more than 500 annual military and humanitarian assistance operations, including development and implementation of digital tracking systems for U.S. Army personnel travelling on the continent.
He was deployed to Mosul, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and as Chief of Staff for a unit that planned missile strikes during Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., Bennett holds a master’s degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth; and a master’s degree in public communication from American University, Washington, D.C.
Bennett is also active in the community as a volunteer with the Heart of America Council, Boy Scouts of America and VFW Post 7356. He and his wife, Tara, are natives of the Kansas City area and are parents of three children.
Kansas City is among a select handful of cities with a Chief Innovation Officer dedicated to finding innovative ways to solve complex City problems and improve citizen satisfaction. Bennett is Kansas City’s second CIO. He succeeds Ashley Z. Hand, who relocated with her family earlier this year.