Serving land acquisition professionals throughout the Land of Lincoln since 1955!

About Us

IRWA Illinois Chapter 12 is a chapter of the International Right of Way Association and has been serving land acquisition professionals throughout Illinois since 1955.

Our members are land acquisition professionals who work in all facets of acquisition, management, and disposition of real property, and serve many sectors of industry and government, including:

  • Local, Regional, State, and National Government
  • Public Utilities
  • Energy
  • Commercial and Office Development
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunication

The land acquisition profession is an important one. The infrastructure associated with modern society: highways, airports, broadband fiber optic cable, skyscrapers, pipelines, just to name a few, require real property.

Explore our web site and feel free to contact us. We want to hear from you and show you how IRWA Illinois Chapter 12 can serve you. Membership provides many important benefits for land acquisition professionals.

Our History

On a vacation trip to California around 1955, Frank Kaplan, head of the Survey Division of the Cook County Highway Department, visited the California State Highway Department to investigate their operation. While there, he was introduced to Frank Balfour who was head of the California State Highway Right of Way Department and who had founded the Southern California Right of Way Agents Association in 1934. The organization evolved into the American Right of Way Association.

Upon returning, Kaplan discussed the meeting with Balfour and ARWA literature with Raymond J. Budinger, the head of the Land Procurement Division of the Cook County Highway Department who was Frank’s boss. Ray Budinger was interested. The first organizational meeting of Chapter 12 was held in Ray Budinger’s office on September 29, 1955. Fourteen men attended; all enthusiastically offered their services for any job. Budinger was elected President at a subsequent meeting. On October 31, 1955, the Charter meeting for Chapter 12 was held at the Bismark Hotel in Chicago. There were thirty-eight charter members and applicants. A year later the chapter had seventy-six names.

In 1957, the Third Annual Education Seminar was hosted by Chapter 12, and in 1968, the Fourteenth National Seminar was hosted by the Chapter at the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago. Chapter 12 has always stressed the educational needs of its members. In fact, Chapter 12 was one of the first chapters to present a course on “Negotiations” in 1966.

Today, IRWA Illinois Chapter 12 has approximately 160 members, and still strives to meet the educational needs of those members.

Meet the Officers

President / Smedmore Bernard

Bill McIntyreSmed is the Managing Director of 1st AEROW Valuation located in Chicago, Illinois.





Vice President / Rob Kirkpatrick

Rob KirkpatricRob works for Ameren Services as a Real Estate Supervisor, leading a team of 11 ROW agents across Illinois that handle electric distribution, gas transmission, gas storage, and property management. He started with Ameren in 2012 acquiring electric substations and was on the team that handled real estate activities for the divestiture of Ameren's merchant generation fleet in 2013.

Prior to joining Ameren, Rob worked in commercial real estate development, brokerage, and property management for nearly two decades across Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Rob is a die-hard football fan, and spends much of his time at his youngest son's sporting events. He and his wife Jackie enjoy traveling, boating, and exploring new wineries.

President Elect / Patty Bajt

Bill McIntyrePatty works for ERM as a Project Scientist in the Impact Assessment and Planning Practice, Land Services. She has four years right of Way experience including document review and information management. Previous to joining ERM, Patty worked at Land Surveying/Civil Engineering firms in the land surveying departments. She has also held an Illinois Real Estate license since 1991. Over the last few years she has worked primarily on the Ameren Illinois Rivers Project, recently branching out to ComEd work.
Patty spends her free time gardening and beekeeping.

Treasurer / Don York

Don York Don works for Ameren Illinois Company as a Senior Right-of-Way Agent in Peoria, IL. Prior to working for Ameren, Don studied Business at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale and held an Illinois Broker's License.
He also worked in the Oil and Gas industry as a Land Agent in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York securing land rights for production.
Don grew up with three older brothers who ran a construction company building houses and currently holds a card as a Journeyman Carpenter at Local #243.
He and his wife, Kalley, spend their free time camping, fishing, and kayaking on the river with family and friends.

Secretary / Laura Moonshower

Laura MoonshowerLaura works at Black & Veatch as a Senior Right of Way Agent in Westmont, IL. She has over 20 years of right-of-way experience and worked at BP Pipelines as a contract right-of-way agent for 6 years. Laura and her husband, Lee have three children Ellie (17), Coleman (15), & Addie (11). Laura has been a Girl Scout Leader/Coleader for the past 10 years. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking with her dogs, and spending time with family and friends.

Past Presidents

Bill McIntyre
Cassy Beary
Kris Koehler
Rachel Bricout
Laura Moonshower
Tim Fehr
Debra Leetzow
Andy Viola
Alice Johnson
Brad Krabel
Robin Upchurch
John Pribich
Gerald Cain
Carol Bellinger
Terry Mulcahy
Jeffrey Stenger
Rick Trelz
John Ammons
Dave Sommerfeld
Thomas Mahoney
Dave Sommerfeld
James Pauk
John Ammons
Donald Penn
James Tatera
C. David Ward
John Lay
Terry Mulcahy
Norman Lienemann
Bernard Boyle

Service Committees

Communication & Marketing: Lisa Krenz
Education: Theresa Campbell
Ethics: Lawrence Bellinger
Membership: Cassy Beary
Nomination & Elections: Kris Koehler
Professional Development: Robin Upchurch

Education Committees

Asset Management: Vacant
Environment: Dan Field
Legal/Legislative: John Ammons
Local Public Agency: Theresa Campbell
Pipeline: Dave Sommerfeld
Relocation: Kim Polk
Surveying & Engineering Mike Filipski
Transportation: Carlos Molina
Utilities: Rob Kirkpatrick
Valuation: Dave Rogers

IRWA-Illinois Chapter 12 Bylaws