The right of way industry is a vital part in the development of our nation’s infrastructure, as it deals with the acquisition of land and property rights needed for projects such as highways, airports, pipelines, and power lines. As the demand for infrastructure projects continues to grow, so does the need for professionals in the right of way industry.

Right of way experience isn’t always a necessity. Many individuals have come into the right of way from other closely related fields and already possess some of the needed skills required, such as the ability to interact and communicate with others, while also being detail-oriented and can meet deadlines. Firms, such as OR Colan Associates, provide thorough training programs to help one hone their skills and further learn about the industry. Let’s take a closer look at what a right of way professional does and some of the career options available in the right of way industry.

What Does a Right of Way Professional Do?
Right of way professionals handle all aspects related to acquiring land rights, or “right-of-way,” on behalf of public and private entities. They research and analyze available properties, negotiate agreements with landowners, document transactions, manage projects and oversee data related to land rights acquisitions. This type of work may require individuals to enjoy interacting with other, possess strong communication skills, negotiation skills, legal knowledge, organizational capabilities, and a keen eye for detail.

Some Types of Positions Available
There are many different types of positions within the right of way industry. You can find roles in both the public sector (working for government agencies), as well as in the private sector (working for utility companies). Common positions include appraisers, acquisition agents, surveyors, title researchers, project managers/administrators, GIS technicians/analysts and more. Depending on your experience level and education background there are many opportunities available.

Agent: Right of way agents are responsible for acquiring land and property rights for infrastructure projects. They work closely with project teams, property owners, and stakeholders to identify and secure the rights needed for a project. This involves conducting research, negotiating with property owners, and overseeing the legal and administrative aspects of the acquisition process.

Appraiser: Right of way appraisers are responsible for determining the value of land and property that is needed for a project. They use their knowledge of real estate markets and appraisal techniques to estimate the value of a property and negotiate with property owners.

Document Specialist: A document specialist for a right of way company manages and organizes various documents and records related to land acquisition and right of way projects. They ensure documentation accuracy, track deadlines, maintain databases, prepare reports, and assist with legal document preparation and filing. Their role ensures that all documentation related to right of way projects is properly managed, organized, and accessible to all stakeholders, contributing to timely, budgeted, and legally compliant project completion.

Engineer: Right of way engineers are responsible for designing and planning the layout of a project to minimize impact on properties and the environment. They use their knowledge of engineering principles and design to create plans that balance the needs of the project with the concerns of the community.

Project Manager: Right of way project managers oversee the entire right of way process from beginning to end. They are responsible for managing the acquisition of land and property rights for a specific project. This includes coordinating with project teams and stakeholders, developing acquisition plans and timelines, and ensuring that the project stays on schedule and within budget.

Surveyor: Right of way surveyors conduct surveys to determine property boundaries and potential right-of-way access for a project. They use their knowledge of surveying techniques and equipment to create accurate maps, legal descriptions and plans for a project.

Title Researcher: Title researchers in the right of way industry are essential for ensuring that private entities, developers, or municipalities acquire the appropriate land rights for whatever project they may be working on. As such, a title researcher’s main role is to investigate public records and deed books in order to accurately gauge the chain of title of a piece of land. Furthermore, they must be comfortable working with local and state governments as well as municipal agencies to ensure that all applicable laws and regulations are properly followed and adhered to throughout all steps of their research.

With the growing demand for infrastructure projects, the right of way industry is an ever-growing profession and offers a wide variety of career options for professionals with diverse skills and interests. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a second career or have the desire to expand your right of way career, there are many right of way positions available to meet your needs. By researching right of way services, right of way agents/document specialists and right of way project managers, you can find the right job for you in the right of way industry.

Learn about job openings available at OR Colan Associates.