Donald J. Bennett is a native of Lewis County. He graduated from WVU in 1964 with a BS in aerospace engineering, and completed his MS in the discipline in 1966. He then moved to the west coast and joined the Boeing Company, where he worked on aerodynamics for the design of the first American supersonic transport plane and on the design of the first jumbo passenger aircraft, the Boeing 747. While working at Boeing, Bennett took engineering graduate courses at the University of Washington.
In 1973, Bennett's career shifted to include analysis of the airline industry, strategic planning and marketing for Boeing. In that role he helped Boeing expand its international sales and addressed issues critical to the industry both domestic and foreign.
From 1988-1990, Bennett returned to design activities, working primarily on the design of derivative models for the 747 and 767 aircraft. He investigated design alternatives that eventually led to the design of the twin-aisle, twin-jet 777.
From 1990 to his retirement in 2003, Bennett was primarily involved in strategic planning and sales for Boeing. He performed analyses of prospective new airplane models in the context of increasing air traffic congestion and changing environmental regulations. He also served as the commercial sales officer for Latin America, the Caribbean and to the Department of Defense.
Since his retirement in 2003, Bennett has served as a tutor for high school math and science students.