STC logo Houston Skyline
STC Houston Chapter
STC Houston
About Us
Mailing List
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Site Map

  Featured Links
  STC Houston Forum
  Newsletter download
  Directory download
  Volunteer Opps
  Louisiana Satellite
  Houston traffic

Publications > Dateline Houston > December 2002 > Chapter News

Volume 42, Issue 4

December 2002

Chapter News

January Program Meeting
Helping You Find Employment

January’s STC Houston Program Meeting is an employment progression, with the opportunity to listen to three different topics during one meeting. Speakers will be seated at tables in the room, and attendees will move from table to table to listen to the
different topics. Each session lasts approximately 30 minutes. Here are some of the confirmed speakers and topics:

  • Ryan Bernard and Melanie G. Flanders: “Independent Contracting: Another Option for Career Growth.”
  • Cathy Stucker: “Marketing Yourself by Having an Expert Reputation.”
  • Joan Bolmer: “How to Write a Dynamite Resume.”
  • Deborah Silvi, Susan Stotzer, and Jamie West: “Non-Management Career Path for Technical Communicators.”
  • Connie Davis and Everett Puckett: “Portfolio Development: Show Your Stuff.”
  • Paul Mueller: “What Software Companies Look For.”

Send your questions to Cindy Pao at


Hilton Houston Westchase and Towers
9999 Westheimer Road


Tuesday, January 14, 2003


5:30 p.m. networking (hors d’oeuvres)
6:20 p.m. announcements
6:30 p.m. program


During January, STC Houston is offering a special admission to its program meeting. Members who bring a non-member guest get in free! Non-members will also receive free admission after they complete a simple form. Otherwise, normal fees apply:

$10 (members)
$13 (nonmembers)
$3 (student and unemployed members)
$6 (student non-members)


A drawing for various prizes is held at the end of each general meeting. Proceeds benefit the Marx Isaacs Student Scholarship Fund.

STC Employment Committee

by Gary Foster, Program Manager, Kitba Consulting Services

The Houston market for technical writers is slow to almost a crawl during November and December months. This does not mean that there are no jobs out there, because there are. Jobs are just more difficult to find during these months.

Be prepared, so when the market does open, you are ready. Come join us at the second annual Employment Share-the-Knowledge session on January 11, 2003 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hilton Houston Westchase and Towers, 9999 Westheimer. The STK is free. In our lineup we have the following people with their advice and expertise:

  • Terry Devlin (Bernard-Haldane)–Job market and how to prepare for changes
  • Deborah Long–Shot-gun approach to finding a job
  • Maria Fee and Cindy Pao–Portfolios
  • Various experts will provide on-site resume reviews

This is an exciting and informative event for our members and the chapter. Enrollment instructions will be posted on the chapter mailing list ( For more information, please call me at 281-871-4406.

From the Members
Creative Jargon

by Dan Tolleson, Editing Consultant

Last month, I did some editing on a lengthy technical proposal. Aside from the usual grammatical, spelling, and punctuation problems, I came face-to-face with some new vocabulary—for instance, “to matrix.”

I had already heard of the noun “matrix,” but this is a verb. It is a buzzword among technical people, and it means to share expertise across disciplines and formal job descriptions in order to get the job done more efficiently. In other words, “to matrix” means to cooperate. What about “to cross-utilize?” Upon consulting with other, more experienced editors, I found out that it means the same thing as “to matrix.”

Now, what about “a flexible movement of activities?” Huh? At first glance, the mind boggles. The mental image conveyed by this phrase is blurry, yet very dynamic. Eventually, I figured out what the writer was trying to express: the sharing of expertise across disciplines necessarily entails flexibility, movement, and activity. Yep, you guessed it—“a flexible movement of activities” is a clumsy but creative way of describing the process of “matrixing.” Wow! As I remarked to my immediate supervisor, “There’s some real creativity going on here!”

Another etymological jewel that jumped out at me is “forward action plan.” Did the writer mean to suggest that there might be such a thing as a “backward action plan?” Ooooo! Frightening! Such neophraseologisms are welcome comic relief for grammatical surgeons and experts at message clarification. Perhaps all editors should join in a forward action plan to compile their linguistic discoveries. With enough flexible movement of activities, we might even be able to write a book.

Please send your letters to the editor through our web form at

Judging Party Highlights

STC Houston held its annual Judging Party November 16 at the Hewlett-Packard Company (formerly Compaq). At the party, judges returned the entries that they evaluated, chose Best of Show entries, and enjoyed refreshments.

The annual Technical Publications, Art, and Online Competition remains one of STC Houston’s biggest activities. STC Houston will host its annual Competition Awards Banquet on Friday, February 7, 2003, at the Hilton Houston Westchase and Towers, 9999 Westheimer.

Thanks to Competitions Director Deborah Crockett for organizing the party, and to Melinda Patrick for both serving as Technical Art judging manager and as photographer. Thanks also to Competitions General Manager Deborah Silvi, Technical Publications Judging Manager Jocelyn Williams, Online Judging Manager Brenda Pereira, and to all who participated as judges!

| main | about us | committees | competitions | employment | events | leaders | links | mailing list |
| membership | publications | sigs | site map | sponsors |
| comments? |

  Copyright © 2002 Houston Chapter, Society for Technical Communication
P.O. Box 42051, Houston, TX 77242-2051 | 713-706-3434