Robert Bennett's other Washington experience included three years as the D.C. representative for the J. C. Penney Company and two years as chief congressional liaison at the U.S. Department of Transportation during the Nixon administration. There he earned the department's highest civilian award. From 1971 to 1974 he operated his own governmental relations firm.
Bennett left Washington, D.C., in 1974 and moved to California to join Summa Corporation as director of public relations and became vice-president of public affairs for Hughes Airwest. At the death of Howard Hughes, Bennett became president of Osmond Communications. In 1980 he became chairman of the board of American Computer Corporation. In 1981 Microsonics, a struggling public corporation producing educational audio materials, tapped the entrepreneurial skills of Bennett to serve as its president. Within eighteen months, he had helped the company reach the break-even point.