As executive director, Benninghoven worked intently to modernize the organizational structure and services of LCC to meet the very diverse needs of all cities. He was passionate about including the voices of city officials when setting LCC policy and was the driving force behind the creation of a variety of handbooks and library materials to help cities meet their unique needs for fiscal enhancement, economic development, land use planning, and dozens of other topics.

Benninghoven earned bachelor's and master's degrees in political science and public administration from the University of California, Berkeley. He's a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administrators, which includes a worldwide membership of 250. Don served on the boards of directors of the National Civic League, the National League of Cities, and the National Association of Regional Councils, and served as secretary of the City-County-School Partnership. He was on the executive committee of the Institute for Local Self Government and is currently chairman of the California Center for Civic Renewal. Don has continued his interest in city government by working with local officials and universities as an advisor and lecturer. He was first appointed to the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the north central coast.