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Patricia A. Petitto, SR/WA, R/W-RAC
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
As my year as International President draws to a close, I’d like
to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and
continued participation with IRWA.
It has been a busy and productive year. Below is recap of our
latest projects, all designed to support the Association’s Strategic
Plan for 2012-2017.
Membership: Serve, retain and recruit members.
The word is spreading. IRWA is the Association of choice and
we are seeing a continual increase in interest from a range
of agencies, organizations and industry affiliates. Chapter
leaders have been doing an exceptional job with their websites,
newsletters and social media to keep their members informed
about all that IRWA has to offer. Working in partnership with
our Chapter Presidents and Membership Chairs, IRWA’s new
member campaign is generating strong results, averaging
140 new members every month as compared to only 61 new
members monthly in 2011.
In response to member requests, we have made more of our
resources available online. One example is the Principles of Right
of Way desk reference, a valuable resource that’s accessible from
your iPad, iPhone, Kindle or other mobile device. The annual
conference now includes a convenient mobile application to
help participants take advantage of all the educational sessions,
networking events, committee meetings and fundraising
opportunities. With IRWA’s exclusive Member Network,
members can connect, share information, post resources
and schedule events within a number of Association-specific
groups. This members-only benefit makes it easier than ever to
communicate with your fellow members and leaders.
Another successful Federal Agency Update was held in March
in Washington, DC. IRWA hosts this annual meeting, which
brings our members together with our federal partners for a
collaborative exchange of ideas. An International Relations
Group was formed in 2012 to provide support and oversight for
the Association’s growing international footprint, along with
consultation on governance issues that IRWA will face going
forward, such as adding new regions. The demand for our
courses continues to rise and recently, several of our instructors
were contracted to teach IRWA courses in Thailand, South Africa
and Saudi Arabia.
Professional Development: Develop high quality
education courses and programs, along with meaningful
certifications and designations.
IRWA is launching its Five-Year Plan to develop and enhance
the IRWA curriculum based on market demand, survey results
and input from our international committees. The Specialty
Certification Survey was completed, and overall, the industry is
supportive of new certifications in the pipeline, transportation
and utility sectors. We are in the final stages of developing a new
oil and gas course, and in partnership with the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission, we are rolling out a new Pipeline
Personnel Training Program.
An updated Instructor Clinic is now available and a Mentoring
Program for both members and instructors will be launched at
this year’s conference in June. We plan to work more closely with
our Chapter Professional Development Committees and Chapter
Education Chairs to ascertain the needs of their members,
schedule the relevant courses, and promote both online
education and our career path options.
Marketing: Market members, certified members and
designated members to the users of right of way services.
In serving as the central authority for the right of way profession,
IRWA recently published the first in a series of industry white
papers. These fundamental tools, authored by right of way
subject matter experts, can be viewed, downloaded and shared
with coworkers and colleagues.
IRWA also successfully conducted a direct marketing campaign
among public agencies last fall, introducing our Right of Way
Agent Certification and Course 100 online. We’re continuing
to develop agency agreements similar to those recently signed
by some of our Departments of Transportation. As part of
our outreach efforts, we have made connections with the Real
Estate Department of the U.S. Department of Energy, and we
are rapidly expanding our joint efforts with the Federal Energy