The Railway Tie Association (RTA) Executive Committee has named Nathan (Nate) Irby, Ph.D., as the association’s next Executive Director.
Irby is only the 10th Executive Director in RTA’s more than 100-year history of serving the wood tie industry.
Since 2013, Irby has field managed the strategic sourcing wood tie program for Union Pacific (UP). He also has 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 and development initiatives to establish UP quality control processes for all wood crossties and bridge timbers purchased.
While at UP, Irby worked with a multitude of industry personnel, at all levels, ranging from sawmillers to treating plant and on-track railroad professionals. Additionally, he has 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 management career with International Paper. Irby’s mother was an accomplished teacher whom he credits for his love of training and teaching.
“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,” RTA President Rick Gibson said. “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.”