Presidents Message

July, 2018

Greetings Chapter 4 Members!  I look forward to my term serving as your next Chapter 4 President.  First, I want to thank Matt Hansen, Meghan Spradling, and everyone else at Miller  Nash Graham & Dunn, LLP for hosting our installation event, Past President Leslie Beaird for performing the installation of officers, and Immediate Past President Kent Melton for making sure the event ran smoothly.


I also want to congratulate our Chapter 4 award recipients:

  • Employer of the Year – Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, LLP
  • Professional of the Year – Jesse Ray, SR/WA, Contract Land Staff
  • Instructor(s) of the Year – Leslie Beaird, Brad Thomas, and Faith Roland, SR/WA’s

At the installation, I shared my goals for the upcoming year, which includes increasing communication to Chapter members.  We will be discussing Chapter goals, the fiscal year’s budget, regular meeting schedule and program, Region Forums, next year’s conference in Portland, chapter awards, social events, golf tournament, and other topics at our upcoming planning session on August 4th.  Please feel free to contact me if you have anything you would like us to consider for the upcoming year.

I recently returned from IRWA’s 64th Annual International Education Conference in Edmonton, Alberta from June 24th through 27th, 2018.  Thank you, Chapter 4, for sponsoring my attendance.  A total of 794 individuals were pre-registered for this always busy and fun event.  I started the conference off Sunday morning by working in Chapter 3’s exhibitor booth to promote next year’s annual conference being held in Portland, Oregon from June 9th through 12th, 2019.

Sunday’s opening ceremony included a “Coast to Coast to Coast” view of Canada by Rick Mercer, followed by the Region 7 Caucus and a fabulous welcome reception full of networking opportunities.  Monday through Wednesday was full of educational opportunities on a multitude of topics for the ROW professional, as well as various social events.  This year, the SR/WA Recognitions were included at the awards luncheon on Monday June 25th, where both Jesse Ray SR/WA and Krista Chambers SR/WA from Chapter 4 were there to receive their official designations in person.  Approximately 185 members attended the event.  HDR, Inc. was recognized as the recipient of the award for Employer of the Year More than 20 Employees, from Region 7.  There were two Region 7 nominees for the Frank C. Balfour Professional of the Year Award, Leslie Finnigan, SR/WA and Patricia Thayer, SR/WA, with the award being presented to Patricia (“Pat”) Thayer.  This was Pat’s 5th nomination for the IRWA’s highest honor, and as the MC Carrie Doll put it, she is the Susan Lucci of the IRWA!

Chapter 4 was nominated in both categories, Highest Numerical Gain and Highest Percentage Gain, for the Gene L. Land Award, and we won the Highest Numerical Gain.  As part of the award, the Chapter received a free conference registration, which was used to defray the Chapter’s expenses for leadership representation at the conference.  Congratulations to all the nominees and award recipients in our Chapter, Region, as well as all the others.

The Monday night event at the Knoxville included an auction to benefit both the Right of Way International and Canadian Education Foundations.  Chapter 4 donated $200 for the purchase of an autographed hockey jersey which sold for $475.00.  This more than doubled our contribution!

I attended Tuesday’s International Luncheon where representatives presented on ROW issues from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia . . . such interesting diversity! I had the pleasure of networking with four of the international speakers at the Canadian Hospitality event later than night.

Tuesday afternoon, fellow Chapter and Region members and I went on a nearby Segway Tour, a great impromptu social activity.  Wednesday morning I attended the Leadership session where Chapter and Region Leaders discussed the future remodeling of the IRWA with members of the IEC.  This hot topic (which I hope to share at an upcoming Chapter meeting) was followed by the annual meeting of the Board of Directors in the afternoon.  This was my third time attending the Board of Directors meeting, second time voting as an International Director, and the first time where I had more than one choice for candidates in three out of four of the positions being elected to office due to nominations from the floor.

Judy Jones, SR/WA, Region 6 Vice-Chair, was nominated to run against incumbent Aimie Mims, SR/WA, for President Elect, where Aimie succeeded in the vote.  This was followed by Jacob Farrell, SR/WA, Region 3 Chair being nominated to run against incumbent Ana Rausch, SR/WA, for the position of Treasurer.  The vote was close, but Jacob prevailed over Ana, and I understand this was the first time in the history of the IRWA when a vote resulted in the elimination of an incumbent from a position on the IEC.

Lastly, our own Dee Oakland, SR/WA, Region 7 Chair was nominated to run against James Olschewski, SR/WA, for the office of Secretary, where James was the successful candidate.  Congratulations to all of the nominees and incoming officers on the IEC.  After the exciting Board of Director’s meeting, Region 7 met for a champagne toast and to install Cyndi Whelpley, SR/WA, as Region 7 Secretary, and Michelle Talbot, SR/WA, as Chapter 4 Treasurer before ending the conference with a black tie Closing Gala.

As always, the conference was a whirlwind, and now it’s time to focus on Chapter business.  The website is updated with the new officers and committee chairs. We also recently added meeting agendas and minutes to ensure transparency and accountability to our members, along with the updated expense form with the latest mileage rates.  Save the date and watch for upcoming events, including the Chapter 4 Annual Golf Tournament on September 13th, 2018, at High Cedars in Orting, and the Region 7 Fall Forum in Spokane October 26th through 27th, 2018.  Once we finalize our calendar during our upcoming planning session on August 4th, we will be resuming our regular board and chapter meetings (second Wednesday of each month) in September.  Please be sure to read your Chapter 4 emails and check the website for new information about what’s happening in your Chapter!

Enjoy your summer, and I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Dawn Fletcher, Chapter 4 President