n June of 2019, Portland, Oregon opened its doors to over
1,200 right of way professionals for IRWA’s 65th Annual
Education Conference. IRWA International President Jeff Jones,
SR/WA, began the Opening Ceremony by discussing the events
that transpired on May 31st, which changed the IRWA family
“As we begin this Conference, we are thinking of our colleagues
that are not here with us due to the senseless tragedy in Virginia
Beach,” Jeff noted. “As I mentioned before, whether we personally
knew each one of them or not, we do know them by the passion
they had for the people they served, their love of their profession,
and the dedication and commitment they had for the IRWA.”
A moment of silence was offered for LaQuita C. Brown, Mary
Louise Gayle, SR/WA, and Alexander Mikhail Gusev, SR/WA.
Everyone was encouraged to visit the table set up in their honor.
A Warm Welcome
On behalf of Chapter 3 and Region 7, Conference Co-Chairs
Leslie Finnegan, SR/WA, and Jim Lingeman, SR/WA, took
the stage and welcomed everyone in attendance. They invited
participants to all the exciting events that Conference had to offer,
including the incredible educational sessions, the jam-packed
exhibit hall, the Monday Night Event, the Golf Tournament and
the Finnigan Fun Run. Leslie and Jim went on to thank Troop 530
for the presentation of the flags before thanking all the dedicated
individuals and volunteers who helped to make this event happen.
Jeff returned to the stage to call the Annual Meeting of the Members
to order and to acknowledge the 2018-2019 International Executive
Committee (IEC) Members, the International Advisory Council
and the International Governing Council (IGC).
Jeff then congratulated this year’s finalists for our Association’s
most prestigious award, the Frank C. Balfour Professional of the
Year. The finalists—Fredrick Easton, Jr., SR/WA, Leslie Finnigan,
SR/WA, and Cyndi Whelpley, SR/WA—each went on stage to
share their feelings on receiving such a high recognition.
Jeff welcomed Interim Chief Executive Officer Daniel Stekol to
the stage for a few brief comments. On behalf of himself, CFO
Rakhshan Mazarei and all of Headquarters, Daniel thanked
the IEC and the IGC for their confidence in staff during this
BY ETHEL NAVALES
C ONFERE NC E
IRWA’S 65TH ANNUAL