Employee-Owner Spotlight: Right of Way Specialist Tina McLaughlin Brings Character, Valuable Experience to SEH Team

June 4, 2021

Name

Tina McLaughlin

Title

Right of Way Specialist

Practice

Construction Services

Tina McLaughlin has been with SEH for nearly 13 years. Over this time, she’s served in multiple roles including eight years as a business proposal coordinator – working closely with our architects, engineers, planners and scientists to develop strategic solutions in response to client challenges. She's also partnered with our right of way team to hone and communicate their capabilities.

Tina recently transitioned to a new role – right of way specialist – joining our right of way team to further expand the practice and continue to help our clients secure permanent right of way/easements and the temporary construction easements needed for our public and private infrastructure projects. These projects include streets and roadways, utilities, pipelines, transmission lines and airport projects. Tina will also collaborate with landowners to build trust, as well as communicate and alleviate concerns.

“We’re thrilled to have Tina join our team, as she brings years of knowledge, a unique skill set and the personality traits to fulfill a critical role that will help us better serve our client partners,” says Scott Samuelson, Construction Services Regional Practice Center Leader. “I’m very confident Tina will do an excellent job in this role as she helps grow the right of way efforts of our group.”

We recently sat down with Tina to learn about how this role supports SEH clients, why it’s so timely, how her experience will empower her in this new role, and why she chose and has remained with SEH for more than a decade.

What does the role of right of way specialist entail? How will this role strategically serve SEH clients?
As right of way specialist, I am part of the overall multidisciplinary team we can provide to our clients. For transportation, airport and infrastructure projects where additional property is needed or where easements are required for construction, our right of way experts provide valuable assistance to our clients and project teams. We do this by preparing for and negotiating the acquisition of property and right of way needed for each project.

I meet regularly with clients, design staff and landowners to discuss project impacts to parcels and address any landowner concerns. I also complete field title investigations; present offers of compensation and negotiate settlements; research property ownership; create parcel files; assist in project management tracking; and draft permanent easement and construction easement documents. I also help in reviewing appraisals and title reports from independent appraisers and title companies, complete the proper recording of legal documents and maintain the required records for the right of way and easement purchases.

Each of these tasks makes the process easier, more precise and seamless for our clients – saving them time and money, and ensuring they secure what’s needed when needed for their projects.

For our clients, why are this role and SEH’s right of way solutions as a whole so timely?
One of the more important elements with the design and construction of each project is making sure that the needed right of way for the project is obtained properly and on time to ensure project delays do not occur. Seldom does a client or landowner desire to go through the Eminent Domain process which significantly impacts each project’s schedule and budget.

At SEH, our goal is to build relationships with landowners, earn their trust in the right of way specialist they are talking with and, as a result, minimize the amount of Eminent Domain needed for any particular project. With our project work increasing, more projects needing right of way services and project schedules being tightened, this was an opportune time for me to dive into this service and support our right of way team.

How does your experience as a proposal coordinator, often partnering with the SEH right of way team (and others), position you well for this role?
Working at SEH for nearly 13 years in multiple roles, most recently as a business proposal coordinator, has filled me with knowledge and background across the A/E/C industry. I have worked with many people across the entire company, in all offices, which has made me well-versed in all of the types of projects that we undertake.

Working with our wastewater, civil engineering, construction and surveying practices, and many others, sets me up well to partner with landowners, government agencies and design staff in this new role. I’ve gained key knowledge and insight into how these professionals work and what clients need – ultimately allowing me to earn the trust of our clients by letting them know I am here to help and capable of finding the right solutions for all parties involved.

What led you to SEH? Why have you stayed so long?
I joined Yaggy Colby Associates in 2009, which then merged with SEH in 2014, and have stayed so long because of the people I work with. I work with a tight-knit group here in Rochester, Minnesota, and have also worked with many amazing people across all of SEH’s offices. I love meeting new people, and being part of a company of 800+ colleagues has given me the chance to meet new people every day and create friendships that have lasted years.

Another reason I’ve remained at SEH is the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), part of our benefit plan. Being 100% employee-owned means, as employees, we all have stake in the company’s success and are rewarded for strong results. As a result, we are all highly invested in the work we do and accountable to the promises we make to our clients.

As employee-owners, we play a critical role in determining the future of the company. When I look at my ESOP statement each year, I’m reminded that this is a company with great stock benefits. When I pull out my retirement calculator and see where I could be in 5-10-15+ years because of SEH’s ESOP plan, it’s amazing to see the numbers and to know my role directly attributes to this.

What are you most excited about as you undertake this new role?
What excites me the most is working with new people. I am very outgoing; having this personality trait is going to help me excel when partnering with landowners to create a trusting environment. I’m also excited by the learning the process, as there is so much room in this new role to learn, grow, be challenged and help clients overcome.

Our team of right of way specialists are trained and experienced in land values and landowner negotiations. We are here to help landowners who have concerns about their property, topography and business operations, each of which may be impacted by a project. We work closely with the project owner and landowners to communicate and resolve these challenges and concerns, ultimately to develop an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties and fosters a long-term working relationship.

Personal bio
Tina serves as a right of way specialist for the SEH right of way team. She is located in our Rochester office. In this role, Tina is responsible for right of way file creation and updates, field title investigations with property owners, coordination with and determination of land values with appraisers, reviewing title and ownership information, property owner meetings, completion of necessary transfer documents, and presentation of offer letters/negotiation of settlements for the acquisition of property.

Prior to undertaking this position, Tina served as a marketing/administrative assistant and most recently was an integral part of our Sales Operations team as a business proposal coordinator. Overall, she has nearly 13 years of experience with the preparation of proposals and other administration duties, including preparation of contract documents, project reports, bid advertisements, change orders and supplemental agreements.

Tina is highly experienced in the use of standard office software including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Tina has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, is currently completing Real Estate License classes and is readily qualified to perform the duties of the right of way specialist.

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