Annual Education Conference


Each year, the Association sponsors the IRWA Education Conference which combines educational programs, governance and committee activities, and social and networking opportunities in a single event. While IRWA Headquarters is responsible for all income and expenses associated with the event, Chapters "host" the event and provide valuable assistance identifying local and regional resources that enhance the meeting's regional flair, as well as provide necessary volunteers to conduct the meeting.

General Role Responsibilities for the Annual Conference

The following provides a general description of the respective roles involved in conducting the annual education conference:
IEC Role:

  • Develop budget and establish conference fees
  • Approve general format consistent with approved budget
  • President appoints Conference Committee.
  • Identify and monitor the strategic purposes to assure it is furthering the core purpose and vision of the organization
  • Solicit potential topics and speakers from committees
  • Select topics and assign session times; provide IRWA staff Final Program assignments
  • Invite and arrange federal agency speakers, including invitations for receptions and other functions

IRWA Staff Role:

  • Negotiates and monitors all contracts for the annual conference, including but not limited to hotels, audiovisual support, ground transportation, catering, exhibit support, printing of brochures and promotional material
  • Creates all promotional/marketing campaigns
  • Selects all meal, breaks and other items included in the budget
  • Oversees negotiations for tours and spouse/guest/children events.
  • Collects and accounts for all funds; responsible for all payments to vendors
  • Coordinates speaker audiovisual requests
  • Confirms registrations, exhibits and sponsorship
  • Responsible for all onsite logistics
  • Oversight of appropriate training and support of local host volunteer efforts

Local Host Committee Role:

  • Identify and recruit manpower for onsite logistics as defined by IRWA
  • Develop a plan for use of volunteers in support of registration, workshops, and other functions as defined by IRWA staff
  • Identify potential registrants, sponsors and exhibitors in the Chapter/Region service area
  • Identify local resources (color guard, musicians, etc.) that lend a local flavor to the meeting
  • Suggest potential keynote speakers to the Annual Conference Committee that reflect local/regional flavor
  • Provide promotional assistance for the host city as a destination
  • Provide input into the budgeting process for the annual conference
  • Provide insight to committee chairs and committees as to local programming resources and tour possibilities
  • Organize and provide volunteer support for the annual auction
  • Provide volunteer support for the Finnegan Fun Run
  • Provide suggestions as to bands/entertainment for functions such as the Installation Banquet/Dance
  • Suggests an appropriate theme for the annual conference

Annual Education Conference Committee:

  • Coordinate roles of IEC, Staff and Local Host Committee to ensure that proper resources and direction is given for implementing the plans associated with the meeting
  • Makes decision as to keynote speakers and other programming issues not made by the IEC.
  • Prepares following year host committee to assume role

Choosing The IRWA Education Conference Location
Locations for the Annual Education Conference are selected by the IRWA Board of Directors from among competing host Chapters. When no host Chapter steps forward, the responsibility for selecting a site is assigned to the IEC.
Chapters interested in hosting the Annual Education Conference must complete a comprehensive form outlining venue options, airport availability and capacity, estimated room rates and other factors that will be used to determine the potential host city's viability. This form must be completed and presented to IRWA headquarters by March 1 prior to the Board of Directors meeting in June. Contact the IRWA Business Development Officer at Headquarters for more details.
Future Annual Education Conferences

  • June 12 - 15, 2011: Atlanta, GA
  • June 10 – 13, 2012: Seattle, WA
  • June 23 – 26, 2013: Charleston, WV
  • June 22 – 25, 2014: Hartford, CT
  • June 14 – 17, 2015: San Diego, CA


Business Meetings

If you have not had previous experience conducting meetings, we suggest that you review IRWA's online leadership training program, "Time Management for the Volunteer Leader."

Review the online training program

You may also want to familiarize yourself with Robert Rules of Order:
Review Robert Rules of Order online

Effective Meetings:

The Agenda: Always have an agenda—distributed in advance—and stick to it! Study your agenda before the meeting, become familiar with each item you've listed. If possible, show the expected time required for each item. Among the items that you should have on the agenda are:

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call - Chapter Officers (This establishes for the record the presence of members, the existence of a quorum, and the presence of visitors, if any.)
  • Reading and Approval of Previous Minutes (The minutes are the official record of chapter transactions, and approval by the membership is mandatory.

This is the appropriate spot for members to offer amendments or changes and corrections. Ideally, they will have been circulated prior to the meeting. Make sure it is clear who is taking the minutes of this meeting and when the minutes are expected to be completed)

  • Financial Reports (Presented by Chapter Treasurer. Again, ideally the financial reports will have been distributed in advance)
  • Unfinished Business (These are agenda items that have been tabled previously or are continuing.)
  • New Business
  • Review of Communications from Association Headquarters and Officers
  • Review of Other Communications
  • Announcements (Often, the essence of what is said is missed if these are merely read aloud. If copying facilities are available, a set should be made for each member, as a point of information. Key items can be pointed out and briefly discussed. The official minutes should include these items.)
  • Any member with an item for discussion and/or action, which does not appear on the agenda, should speak up at this point and ask for its inclusion.
  • Reports of Officers and Committees (Ideally, this should be in writing from the reporter giving a brief review. All officers and committee chairs should be surveyed. If there is "no report", this should be noted in the minutes.
  • Adjournment

For your own protection (and peace of mind) in running a meeting, follow these simple rules:

  • • Only one speaker at a time. A particularly lively group may need a firm reminder.
  • Make sure each member has a turn to contribute. This may involve a polite but firm "squelch" of a member who seems to be dominating the discussion.
  • When an action is decided upon, make sure the record shows what specific individual has the responsibility for carrying it out.
  • Your chapter Bylaws should be readily available for guidance. They should spell out rules of procedure.

Good Meetings Are Not An Accident - The Efficient President Plans In Advance

It is impossible to over-stress the importance of good meetings and the planning that goes into them. In any evaluation of the facets that make an organization great, the president should place good meetings in the forefront. They are the backbone of every good association chapter. They serve as a vehicle that welds individuals into a cohesive unit, capable of working towards common goals and achieving association purposes.
More than any other single factor, poor meetings can snuff out enthusiasm, cause plummeting attendance, and hurt the chapter's overall objectives and reputation.

The Right of Way Association is an organization essentially serving the professional growth of its members through education. Hence, the chapter can often exist without too many persons getting involved in its non-educational oriented business. Many chapters do, in fact, operate almost entirely through the Executive Board and the appointed committees. In some chapters, members are annoyed if they feel they are being pushed into attending meetings other than the "big" education conference.

If this is the case in your chapter, and the officers and committee chairmen are satisfied, then the president will have to live with it, at least in the beginning.
But, if something does need to be done about meetings and the members indicate that they would welcome action, then the president must move decisively. He should not be afraid to make changes simply because he thinks it might reflect on the ability of his predecessor.
Changes should not be considered a slam at the retiring president; the new leader may simply want to do things in a different way.

The Meeting is Over, Now What

As president, you are an ex-officio member of all committees. It may not be possible for you to attend all committee meetings. However, it is important that you are in regular contact with fellow officers and committee chairs. Not only should you be aware of their progress, you should be alerted to potential problems.

Other actions approved by the board may need your follow-up. Be available to the responsible chairs for consultation and guidance.
Action between meetings is sometimes necessary. If so, discuss the matter with several officers and reach a tentative decision. Then you can poll the board by phone or e-mail, for their agreement. If a majority agree, a follow-up memo is helpful. The item should then appear on the following meeting agenda for ratification.

Follow-up with committees. Follow-up with committee chairs is always necessary to make sure the momentum generated at the meeting is not lost. Call your committee heads regularly to be sure your vice-president responsible for committees keeps in regular contact with them and you.


Volunteer Awards and Recognition Programs

Reporting Chapter Officers to Headquarters

Chapter officers should be reported to IRWA prior to the beginning of the Chapter's administrative year. While most Chapters operate on a July 1- June 30 year, some Chapters operate on a January 1-December 31 basis. Officers should be reported to headquarters online using the Chapter officer report forms.

Online Leadership Directory

Review the current roster of

Oath of Office

IRWA has prepared an oath of office to use for installation of Chapter officers.

Plaques and Other Recognition of Officers

Chapters may want to recognize Chapter officers and leaders by presenting one of our plaques, pins or similar IRWA merchandise.

IRWA Leadership Pins


The Association will purchase and maintain pins for certain members who are in leadership roles and staff.

Leadership Pins:

Headquarters will maintain, for presentation and sale, membership and leadership pins as follows:

  • Regular Member (Blue): Presented to all new members by Chapters, paid for by IRWA
  • Certified Member (Green): Awarded with Certification
  • Senior Right of Way Professional Member SR/WA (Red): Awarded with SR/WA Designation
  • Past President (Blue and Red): Used by Chapters
  • Region Chair (Red and Blue): Pins are passed to new leaders
  • Region Vice Chair (Red and Blue): Pins are passed to new leaders
  • Past Region Chair (Red and Blue)
  • International President (Red)
  • Past International President (Red W/Diamonds)
  • IEC Officers (Red): Pins are passed to new leaders
  • At Large Member (Red or Blue with blank scroll on bottom for special engraving)

All IRWA name badges, membership pins and other merchandise items that contain the IRWA trademark or logo, must be reviewed and approved by the International Headquarters and be purchased through the International Headquarters.

Awards Responsibility

The International Nominations and Elections Committee, in coordination with the Right of Way International Education Foundation (RWIEF), is responsible for soliciting, receiving, and reviewing award nominations and selecting the final recipients. The IRWA and RWIEF are also responsible for providing the resources for the awards presented.

Notification of Awards Programs

The INEC shall solicit and receive nominations for the Association's Awards by appropriate announcements in Right of Way magazine and in such other Association publications as may be appropriate. All nominations shall be made on the appropriate nomination form, copies of which may be obtained from IRWA Headquarters, any INEC Regional Representative or the Association's web site.

IRWA Awards

Below are the awards and recognition programs presented by IRWA and its allied foundations. Each link provides details about the award qualifications, as well as showcasing recent recipients.


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