Our History

1933 - 1959

The idea to form an organization of right of way agents was first conceived by Frank C. Balfour and ​George Mitchell in 1933. The duo started the Southern California Right of Way Agents Association in ​1934, which became the American Right of Way Association (AR/WA) in 1935. Bay Area Chapter 2 was ​added in 1938. Oregon Chapter 3, the first chapter outside of California, joined the organization in ​1950. The first National Seminar was held in 1955 in Los Angeles, with 603 attendees representing ​150 private and public organizations. In 1959 the Association welcomed its first chapter outside the ​United States, Ontario Chapter 29.

June 21, 1961

With a letter from Balfour to Emil John at the State Highway Commission in Ames, a movement to ​form a new chapter of AR/WA in Iowa began to take shape.

May 25, 1962

With a letter from Balfour to Emil John at the State Highway Commission in Ames, a movement to ​form a new chapter of AR/WA in Iowa began to take shape.

November 30, 1962

In a letter from Guy Gilchrist of Iowa Power and Light Company in Des Moines to D.H. McArthur of ​Northern Natural Gas Company in Omaha, it was reported that response to the membership ​invitations "does not seem encouraging". Seventeen months after Balfour's letter to John ignited the ​movement, only eighteen applications for membership had been received. That was fewer than half ​of the commitments needed to get the chapter off the ground.

February 1, 1963

William Davis air-mailed a letter from the Iowa State Highway Commission to AR/WA national ​headquarters in Los Angeles. This letter certified that applications for membership to the ​organization had been secured from sixty-seven individuals, each of whom “are interested in Right of ​Way work and are qualified under Section A-10, Article 1 of the By-laws of the American Right of Way ​Association”.

February 15, 1963​

Nearly two years of planning and preparation were finally rewarded when Iowa-Nebraska Chapter No. ​41 celebrated its official admittance to the AR/WA at the Charter Presentation Dinner at the Hotel ​Kirkwood in downtown Des Moines. 134 persons attended the gala, including 73 members, their ​guests, and several visiting "pilgrims" from Chapters 1, 5, 20, and 33. Frank Balfour presented the ​charter certificate. Emil John was sworn in as Chapter 41's first Chapter President by Gene Land, ​President of Universal Field Services and Regional Chairman for Region 3. Also sworn in at the event ​were Don Langenfeld (1st Vice-President), Lowell Burger (2nd Vice-President), Lawrence Quinn (3rd ​Vice-President), William Davis (Secretary-Treasurer), Neil Bohner (Assistant Secretary-Treasurer), Guy ​Gilchrist (Director), and Roy Fisher (Director).

April 19, 1963

The first regular chapter meeting of Chapter 41, an all-day affair including lunch, was held. It was ​preceded by a meeting of the Executive Committee on April 18.


Chapter 41 soared to 120 members in 1964. In 1975, Chapter 41 reached its peak of 126 members.


AR/WA members voted to change the name of the organization to the International Right of Way ​Association (IRWA).


IRWA commemorated its 50th Anniversary. Chapter 41 members Lloyd McLaughlin, Alvin Kay, and ​Leonard Dierking composed a brief history of the chapter for publication in a special 50th ​Anniversary issue of Right of Way Magazine. The year-long celebration culminated in June at the ​International Seminar, held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.


Historical documents reveal that the vast majority of charter members were Iowans. However, the ​chapter’s decision to alternate early chapter meetings between Omaha and Des Moines helped grow ​interest among the right of way professionals in Nebraska. In 1992, Platte River Chapter No. 78 was ​awarded its own charter. Chapter 78 has built an identity and outstanding legacy of its own since ​then. But the link between the two chapters remains strong.

March 14, 2013

Chapter 41 celebrated its 50th Anniversary during the Region 3 Spring Forum at Prairie Meadows ​Conference Center in Altoona. About 75 members, former members, and guests attended the event. ​A day-long presentation of Standards of Practice for the Right of Way Professional was followed by a ​social hour and a grand banquet. Eleven former Chapter Presidents addressed the gathering, sharing ​their thoughts and memories of Chapter 41. More than $1,300 was raised at the event for the Right ​of Way International Education Foundation (RWIEF).

Past Presidents

Past Professionals of the Year

2023/24 - Tyler Buckingham, SR/WA

2022/23 - Brian DePrez, RWA-GN

2021/22 - Brian DePrez, RWA-GN

2020/21 - Amanda Vande Voorde, SR/WA-GN

2019/20 - Jay Walton

2018/19 - Jay Walton

2017/18 - Carrol McCracken, SR/WA

2016/17 - Brian Currie, SR/WA

2015/16 - Rita Rasmussen, SR/WA, R/W-NAC

2014/15 - Shelly Whiteing, SR/WA, R/W-RAC

2013/14 - Chad Johnson, SR/WA

2012/13 - Joe A. Anderson, SR/WA, R/W-AC

2011/12 - Tim Bunkers, SR/WA, R/W-NAC

2010/11 - Don Corrigan, SR/WA, R/W-RAC

2008/09 - James P. Diemer, SR/WA

2006/07 - Bernard B. Banker, SR/WA

2004/05 - Shelly Whiteing, SR/WA, R/W-RAC

2002/03 - Bernard B. Banker, SR/WA

2001 - Rita Rasmussen, SR/WA, R/W-NAC

2000 - Nancy Halvorson, SR/WA, R/W-RAC

1999 - Fred R. Cirksena, SR/WA

1998 - David L. Hingtgen

1997 - James P. Diemer, SR/WA

1996 - Susan Albright

1995 - Robert L. North

1994 - Jack C. Jensen, SR/WA

1993 - L. Robert Dahlgren, SR/WA

1992 - Gerald L. Kennedy, SR/WA

1991 - Lance E. Stumbo

1990 - Martin A. Zuehlke

1989 - Darwin C. Monson, SR/WA

1988 - Thomas D. Pillen

1987 - Richard L. Baze, SR/WA

1986 - William H. Lounsbury, Jr.

1985 - L. Robert Dahlgren, SR/WA

1984 - Glenn Graham

1983 - Jessie B. Kelley, SR/WA

1982 - Raymond H. Mehner, SR/WA

1981 - James E. Graham

1980 - Robert A. Nelson, SR/WA

1979 - Raymond A. Callahan, SR/WA

1978 - Alvin V. Kay, SR/WA

1977 - Howard I. Jensen, SR/WA

1976 - Donald D. Shirley, SR/WA

1975 - Robert L. Stumbo, SR/WA

1974 - Dean L. Halsey

1973 - Gordon A. Sweitzer

1972 - Jerome L. Wozny, SR/WA

1971 - James F. Crookman, SR/WA

1970 - William P. Davis, SR/WA

1969 - Thomas N. Wright, SR/WA

1968 - Leonard W. Dierking, SR/WA

1967 - Earl G. Kelley

1966 - Lawrence L. Quinn

1965 - Lowell J. Burger

1964 - Don Langenfeld

1963 - Emil V. John

2023 -

2022 -

2021 - Carrol McCracken, SR/WA

2020 - Paul Gibson, SR/WA-GN

2019 - Amanda Vande Voorde, SR/WA-GN

2018 -

2017 - Carrol McCracken, SR/WA

2016 - Brian Currie, SR/WA

​2015 - Sarah Cook, SR/WA

2014 - Dwayne Myers

2013 - Joe A. Anderson, SR/WA, R/W-AC *

2012 - Chad Johnson, SR/WA

2011 - David L. Hingtgen

2010 - Joe A. Anderson, SR/WA, R/W-AC

2009 - Linda Martens, R/W-RAC

2008 - Don Corrigan, SR/WA, R/W-RAC *

2007 - Shelly Whiteing, SR/WA, R/W-RAC

2006 - Bernard B. Banker, SR/WA *

2005 - Nancy Halvorson, SR/WA, R/W-RAC *

2004 - Dan Shiflett, SR/WA, R/W-NAC

2003 - James P. Diemer, SR/WA

2002 - Rita Rasmussen, SR/WA, R/W-NAC

2001 - Nancy Halvorson, SR/WA, R/W-RAC

2000 -

1990 - L. Robert Dahlgren, SR/WA

1989 - Richard L. Baze, SR/WA

1988 - Jessie B. Kelley, SR/WA

1987 - Raymond A. Callahan, SR/WA

1986 - Glenn Graham

1985 - James E. Graham

1984 - Donald D. Shirley, SR/WA

1983 - Alvin V. Kay, SR/WA

1982 - Lloyd C. McLaughlin

If you have any information for years without past professionals or ​presidents, please send that information to ​irwachapter41@gmail.com.