North Star News September 2021, Chapter 20, Region 3


Chapter 20 President: Matthew Hagelin

Hello Chapter 20!

It is my absolute pleasure to be giving my first Presidents Message for the Chapter 20 Newsletter! I am looking forward to another year engaging with industry friends and members. Speaking of which, we had an absolute blast at our annual July member meeting at Orchestra Hall. With great food, a fun bean bag tournament and fabulous music from The Remaining Prophets (with one of our own – Chris Rogers). Thank you to all of those who contributed to and attended such a wonderful event. With that small window of “normal” -- we are really looking to getting back together and reengaging with our members again & again in the near future.

As a member driven organization, we thrive when our members are actively engaged with the Chapter, while taking the opportunity to network and get to know each other. The IRWA’s educational platform is essential to ensure our members are continuing to learn and grow in the industry to address the challenges of the future. There are a few member events are on the horizon that you may be interested in attending -- our College Outreach meeting and the Region 3 Fall Forum coming up in October. You can find dates and details contained in the newsletter or on our website. Please mark your calendars and consider participating in the events if you are able; we would love to see you there!

What’s the most important thing in a member organization? Its members! It has been an interesting 18 months as we have endured the ups and downs of this pandemic. How we go about in the world has changed in a big way. I am sure that all of you have taken stock of priorities in all aspects of your lives. Chapter 20 Leadership wants to tap into how the Chapter brings value to our members. We’d like to know what keeps you engaged with the Chapter 20. We want to understand what would increase your engagement with the Chapter and the IRWA. Please read more in this newsletter about an opportunity to provide feedback to the Chapter leadership on how you’re doing, how we’re doing and what we should be doing. We understand and respect the value of your time. What we do with our time and where we place our effort is very important. We hope that you find the time and effort you put in to Chapter 20 to be worthwhile and meaningful.

With the resurgence of COVID variants, things are a little touch and go right now with in-person events. However, I am optimistic that we will turn the corner eventually. When that happens, I want to make sure that we, at Chapter 20, are ready to reengage at a high level with our members to move the mission of the IRWA forward – and have a little fun doing it!

Stay safe, be well.

Matthew Hagelin, SRWA

2020-2021 SPONSORS


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


The 7th annual College Outreach Program will be held once again this fall in St. Cloud. The College Outreach Program seeks to change and improve people’s lives by making education more accessible to young people. The program will feature an in-person Q&A session with a panel of right-of-way professionals consisting of Chapter 20 Members Brent Rolf (WSB), Joe Haefner (Bolton & Menk), Sean Lawler (Xcel Energy) and Faye Gillespie (WSB Eng). The program offers a great opportunity for college students to network with industry professionals and right-of-way employers from across the state. The program will be hosted at Beaver Island Brewery on Monday, October 4th at 5pm. A taco bar will be provided courtesy of Mexican Village. In addition to the October 4th event, Chapter 20 in conjunction with St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College will award two scholarships in the amount of $500 to qualified students. Please register for the event online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5C9TCDK and click here for more information. We hope to see you at Beaver Island Brewery on Monday, October 4th at 5pm!


Chapter 20 members finally had a chance to get together face to face to celebrate Chapter 20 with our July Board and Member meeting event which was held at MN Orchestra Hall. We had a blast enjoying appetizers, bean bag tournament, and live band featuring our very own member, Chris Rogers. We want to thank Chris Rogers and his band for providing amazing live music. The big winners of the bean bag tournament were Jeff Christiansen and Carrol McCracken. It was great to see everybody again and we are looking forward to future meetings and events going forward.


There has been a lot of things going on all around us in the last year or two and the Chapter 20 leadership wants to check in with YOU! We are sending out a survey to take the pulse of our Chapter community to ensure that we are bringing as much value as possible to our members. We want to hear what you want when it comes to Chapter events, speakers, workshops, education and networking opportunities. What brings you value? What will increase your engagement and enthusiasm for the Chapter?

  • What makes a survey successful? Participation.
  • What do people like to see when they provide feedback? Action.
  • What happens when you blend constructive feedback with meaningful action?

We will be sending out an online survey in the month of October and keeping it open for a few weeks. I respectfully ask for your participation and genuine feedback. We will be taking the feedback and discussing at our November Board meeting where we will begin to outline any necessary steps to ensure to that purposeful action turns to meaningful member value. We have something special here at Chapter 20 and we want to continue to build on all the great years we’ve experienced.


The IRWA Region 3 will be hosting the 2021 Fall Forum from October 17th - 19th in Omaha, NE. Hotel accommodations are set up under the IRWA block at Hilton Garden Inn - Aksarben Village.

On October 19th, Class 213: Conflict Management will be offered for anybody who would like to sign up.

Click here for more information regarding the Fall Forum and accommodation information.


Chapter 20 would like to welcome Carly Haiby as our newest member to IRWA Chapter 20. Carly is employed by Otter Tail Power Company. Please extend a warm welcome to Carly, and we look forward to her participation in Chapter 20.

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!


More Courses Coming Soon! Please contact Shawn Zepper and let him know if there are courses YOU would like to see offered!!!

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


  • Dan Lesher (Great River Energy) – SR/WA Recertification
  • Todd Oschner (Enbridge) – RWA Certification


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.