Developing the next generation of right of way professionals
Like many others, the right of way profession is experiencing a loss of professional expertise
as the Baby Boomers retire. Adding to the shortage of qualified right of way professionals is
the decades-old practice of state highway departments' reducing their staff, doing away with
their internal training programs and encouraging early retirement. With state budgets already
inadequate for the transportation needs of the states, training new right of way professionals is a
low priority for most. In the utility sector, there is also a shortage of qualified professionals due
to the demographics of our population.
This was the topic of a panel discussion at the IRWA Annual Conference this year in Portland,
Oregon. Led by Catherine Colan Muth as facilitator, the panel included Drew Gilmore
representing Ohio, Rob Stapley representing Montana and Carol Bellinger from HDR
representing the private sector. Each panel member was asked: What is your agency or company
doing to create the next generation of talent for our industry?