North Star News November 2020, Chapter 20, Region 3


Chapter 20 President: Benjamin R. Tozer

Chapter 20 Members!

Happy Thanksgiving! While everyone I talk with is having a difficult year, I hope you are able to find things to be thankful for this season. One thing I am thankful for is the long institutional memory of our chapter and the wisdom of the people who have held this seat before. That has been really valuable to me during this unusual time.

As you may be aware, our Annual College Outreach meeting was cancelled due to the pandemic. We still however are giving out the Gary Ostrom Memorial Scholarship, and I’d like to say thanks to the team (Sean Lawler, Mindy Leadholm, Ben Barker, and Greg Cooley) who helped again with review of applications. This has been a strong program for us in the past and while we were disappointed to not be able to be on campus this year, I am sure we will be back next year.

Our next meeting is Wednesday December 2 at noon. Dial-in Information will be coming by separate email. We hope you can join us! With the cancellation of the annual college outreach meeting, it has been a while since we have had a meeting and I know I would love to (virtually) see you all there. Yes – Virtually. Please do not come to my house for the meeting.

I also wanted to make sure you were aware of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. 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. The idea is to use the money to directly help YOU – Our Chapter 20 Members – for YOUR specific needs. We have not had many requests to date and we would like to make sure this fund is useful to our members. Please let us know how we can help!

We’ll be presenting Course 502 – Non-Residential Relocation Assistance – virtually on December 9 and 10. Hope you can join us!

Finally, 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.

Have a great Thanksgiving.


Ben Tozer, IRWA Chapter 20 President

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


Like many gatherings in 2020, Chapter 20's 6th Annual College Outreach Program had a different feel this year. The annual gathering of right-of-way professionals and college students in St. Cloud was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Chapter 20 Board Members met virtually with St. Cloud State University's Real Estate Club to discuss all things right-of-way. We look forward to the 7th Annual College Outreach Program in 2021!

The 2020 Gary Ostrom Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Wayne Duroux of St. Cloud Technical and Community College. Wayne is a Land Surveying / Civil Engineer major who volunteers his spare time at Snowball Cancer, a nonprofit organization raising funds for cancer patients. Wayne is also a volunteer snowmobile safety instructor for the Country Snowcrusier Snowmobile Club. Congratulations Wayne!

2019 Gary Ostrom Memorial Scholarship Recipient Michelle Hedges recently began her professional career at Patchin Messner Valuation Counselors in Burnsville, MN. Michelle provided the following words of support for the College Outreach Program: “I can’t express enough how thankful I am for organizations such as the IRWA and their continuous support towards education and the future of young professionals. The panel I attended on behalf of the College Outreach Program provided valuable insights and connections which have helped plant the seed that has gotten me to where I am today.” Congratulations Michelle!


Membership Renewal Reminder

Your 2021 Membership Invoice has been sent and while there is plenty of time to renew your IRWA membership, December 31st will be here before you know it.

By renewing your membership you stay connected to your profession through, 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 and Chapter 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 to call the IRWA Headquarters to discuss options on how you can maintain your membership for the upcoming year.

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 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.


The IRWA Region 3 held its Fall Forum on Wednesday, September 23rd and had a great turnout. The Forum was completely virtual and was a big success. Approximately 50 people were able to attend and Dan Lesher, Region 3 President, provided updates on a variety of topics including the Chapter Incentive Program, an Education update, Membership numbers, Region Professional of the Year application and deadlines, RWIEF Report, and the 2020-2021 Strategic Plan. For more information regarding the discussions at the Region 3 Virtual Fall Forum, click here!


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. Courses 501 & 502 are great for taking as a set and also as our Chapter's alternative for Real Estate Credits in lieu of the MnDOT conference being cancelled this year.

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.