The Railway Tie Association (RTA) Executive Committee is pleased to welcome Nathan (Nate) Irby, Ph.D., as the association’s next Executive Director.
Since 2013, Dr. Irby has field managed the strategic sourcing wood tie program for Union Pacific, the nation’s largest Class 1 railroad. He has also served as an adjunct professor with Mississippi State University’s Sustainable Bioproducts program since joining the faculty in 2019 as a graduate Ph.D. in Forest Resources.
During his tenure at UP, Irby created training, inspection, and research & development initiatives to establish UP quality control processes for all wood crossties and bridge timbers purchased for railroad service.
Most RTA members know Irby well. While at UP, he worked with a multitude of industry personnel, at all levels, ranging from sawmillers to treating plant and on-track professionals. He has also served as a regular instructor for the annual RTA Tie Grading Seminar for many years and was Interim Chair for the 2021 event.
As a third-generation wood industry professional, Irby’s passion for forest products and education runs deep. His father retired from Anderson-Tully as Vice President of hardwood lumber sales, and his grandfather enjoyed a long, fulfilling management career with International Paper. Irby’s mother was an accomplished teacher whom he credits for his love of training and teaching.
A talented communicator with strong relationship-building skills, Irby is only the 10th Executive Director in RTA’s more than 100-year history of serving the wood tie industry.
“We couldn’t be happier to have a professional of Nate’s abilities and depth of industry knowledge join us to launch a new future for the organization,” said RTA President Rick Gibson. “We are certain RTA members will be excited to meet with and congratulate Nate at the upcoming 103rd Annual Conference, Nov. 1-4, in St. Louis.”
The timeline for onboarding Irby is under development, and RTA and Irby will send an outreach message to all members as soon as possible. In the meantime, Irby may receive personal notes regarding this appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RTA Team