Every year, IRWA recognizes a young
professional who has demonstrated
innovative ideas, a commitment to
professional development and active
participation at the Chapter level.
In 2016, this honor went to Mindy
Leadholm, SR/WA, who works as a
Property Acquisition Manager for
Washington County Public Works
Department in Minnesota. Mindy also
serves as the Education Chair of Chapter
20, where she strives to provide members
with educational opportunities through
IRWA courses. As a role model for other
young professionals, Mindy was asked to
share her experience—about receiving
this award and her personal advice for
incoming young professionals.
How did it feel to receive the Young
Professional of the Year Award?
Unbelievable. I see so many empowered,
motivated and dedicated young
professionals within our industry and
organization. It was very humbling to be
How did you first get involved?
I joined the Association about nine years
ago when I started at my current job.
That first year, I went to a few Chapter
meetings and took a few courses. The
Education Chair at the time asked if I
would be willing to serve as a Course
Coordinator with the perk of taking
the courses at a reduced rate. Since
then, I slowly got more involved. I
volunteered to work on the redesign
of our Chapter’s website and helped
organize our annual golf fundraiser for
the Education Foundation. I became
our Chapter’s Education Chair and then
went on to serve as Secretary, Treasurer
and President Elect. After attending the
Region 3 Forums, I got involved in the
Young Professional’s Group and helping
out on Minnesota’s bid for the 2019
Annual Conference. I hope to be elected
as Chapter President this year.
How would you describe your right
of way career?
I love every project that I am a part of. In
acquiring right of way, I am able to meet
so many new people, discuss planned
roadway improvements with property
owners and provide a piece of the puzzle
that is essential in making the projects
How has IRWA changed your work
IRWA has expanded my work world
exponentially—from the education
experiences to networking opportunities
and everything in between. My
experience as a volunteer leader, along
with the support and guidance from my
Chapter, has provided me with knowledge
and skills that are invaluable in various
situations that arise with acquisition
What advice would you give to an
Get involved as much as you can—and
participate in IRWA’s Young Professionals
Group! I know that all IRWA Chapters
and Regions welcome dedicated members,
fresh ideas and career-driven individuals.
Step out of your comfort zone, become
involved and help our organization expand
and grow for the future.
What’s next for you?
With a Bachelor’s Degree in Education,
I have always had a passion for learning
and education. Becoming a CLIMB-Certified instructor is my next goal.
Last November, I attended the CLIMB
Instructor Training in Dallas, Texas, and
I hope to become certified in the near
future. It has been an incredible journey
working with people throughout the
organization, and I hope to continue
growing with IRWA in the years to come.
How would you sum up the YP group?
The future of the IRWA. J
At the 2016 Annual Conference, Mindy accepts
the Professional of the Year Award from 2015-2016
International President, Wayne Goss, SR/WA, R/W-NAC.
The future of IRWA will be in good hands