North Star News January 2021, Chapter 20, Region 3


Chapter 20 President: Benjamin R. Tozer

Chapter 20 Members!

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday season and that 2021 is off to a good start for you and your family.

At our last meeting, the Chapter discussed the upcoming year. We are optimistic that at some point in time this year we will all be able to get back together in person, and we hope that when we are able to do so that we will be able to put together some great meetings and events. If you have ideas, we would always be happy to listen.

Our next meeting is Wednesday January 27th, 2021. Dial-in information will be coming by separate email and I hope you can join us. Jeff Christiansen of WSB will be presenting, and I’ve seen a version of Jeff’s presentation before and found it exciting and interesting. I think you’ll really enjoy it and I think it will translate well to these digital meetings.

This meeting is sponsored by WSB and so would also like to say thanks to WSB and all our sponsors. Their historical support has kept us strong and keeps us moving.

Our COVID-19 Relief Fund is starting to see some use, but still has plenty of availability. This fund has been set up to help our members with course registration costs, forum registration costs, membership dues, and other relevant IRWA-related costs during this time, in which many of our members may not be receiving as much employer support. More information is available here. Please let the Chapter now how we can help!

Finally, I’m writing this on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Every year, on MLK Jr. Day I try to read something that MLK wrote or listen to something he said. I’ve been able to find wisdom in his words, and so I thought I’d share with you what I read today. Today I read his sermon the “Drum Major Instinct.” (Available here: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/drum-major-instinct-sermon-delivered-ebenezer-baptist-church) In it, Revered King discusses the human need and impulse to feel important, to be first, to be the drum major leading the parade. Check it out and let me know what you think.

As always, if you have any ideas for how Chapter 20 can best serve its members right now please let me know. You can email me or call – I would love to talk to you.


Ben Tozer, IRWA Chapter 20 President

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

2020-2021 SPONSORS


  • Director: Ben Barker, SR/WA, R/W-NAC, R/W-RAC
  • President: Benjamin Tozer
  • President Elect: Matthew Hagelin, SR/WA
  • Treasurer: Brian Mielke, SR/WA, R/W-NAC
  • Secretary: Sean Lawler, SR/WA


Due to precautions set in place regarding COVID-19, Chapter 20 will be conducting our next Board Meeting via video conference on January 27th, 2021. Jeff Christiansen of WSB will be presenting on visualization and we think you’ll really enjoy it and how beneficial it is especially in these times when everything is virtual. An invitation to the Meeting will be emailed out to you for more information and to sign up.


On December 2nd, 2020, We conducted our Chapter Board and Member meeting via a video conference. Items that were discussed included the COVID-19 Relief Fund, how to improve engagement during the challenges of COVID-19, Professional of the Year (Ben Tozer), Employer of the Year (Xcel Energy), Young Professional of the Year (Shawn Zepper), the upcoming board and member meeting, and education updates. For details of the Board Meeting, please find our meeting minutes by clicking the link below.


Membership Renewal Reminder

You should have received your 2021 Membership Invoice. If you have not received your renewal invoice, please contact Ben Barker at 612-581-6572 or bbarker@wsbeng.com.

As of the end of December, 57% of our membership has renewed. Chapter 20 wants to thank everyone that has renewed already. If you have not renewed your membership, please renew your membership at your earliest convenience by going to www.irwaonline.org.

By renewing your membership you stay connected to your profession through the Right of Way Magazine, educational programs and the community of your peers. You also receive reduced member rates when you take a course, attend Association conferences and seminars, Chapter 20 meetings and events.

If you are facing the difficult choice of paying for your dues out of your own pocket or letting your membership lapse altogether, we encourage you research Chapter 20’s Covid-19 Relief Fund and see if that is an option for you. For information about Chapter 20’s Covid-19 Relief Fund, please go to www.irwa20.org.

If Chapter 20 is able to retain 90% of our membership total, we will receive 1 free conference registration from Headquarters. We are hoping to meet that goal and can do that with your help

There are many other incentives as well based on our net growth that would also give us free memberships that we could pass on to our members. If you know anyone that is in our industry that would benefit from the IRWA, please let them know about us.

If you have any questions about your membership, please feel free to contact Ben Barker at 612-581-6572 or bbarker@wsbeng.com.


Most of us know that the Right of Way International Education Foundation is the non-profit funding mechanism for right of way education, providing funds for new courses, updates of existing courses and other education initiatives. Not as many of us remember that RWIEF supports three scholarship programs, click here to get the skinny!


Below you will find the list of our upcoming classes.

With the inability to offer in-classroom courses during the pandemic, the IRWA has adapted and currently is offering many courses VIRTUALLY.

Virtual Courses are different from Online Courses in that the Virtual Course is set up on a specific day with all participants and the instructor online and learning together. Course material will either be mailed or emailed (depending on the material) to each participant directly. For everyone who has been working remotely the past several months, it is similar to a ZOOM meeting for IRWA education!

This is an extremely valuable tool that we can all take advantage of to continue our education needs throughout the pandemic. Check the link below to see all of the Virtual Learning Opportunities that are currently available.

IRWA Virtual Learning Courses

For more information on our upcoming education opportunities, visit our Chapter's Education Page or contact Chapter 20's Education Chair, Shawn Zepper.


Chapter 20's Blog was created to foster meaningful communication and sharing of information between our Executive Board, Committee Chairs, Chapter 20 Members, and all others who wish to participate. Please visit the Blog often as Committee Chairs and Executive Board Members post updates, news, and other relevant information pertaining to the Right of Way profession.