Vol 44, Issue 4

March/April 2005

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January 2005 Program Meeting

Positioning Yourself for Today's Market

by Deborah Long, Courseware Editor, BMC Software Business School

What a great way to start the New Year! The beginning of 2005 is a perfect time to take a look at your job search strategy and position yourself for today's market. STC Houston chapter members were led through this exercise at our January 2005 program meeting with the guidance of Stacie Clark, a recruiter from iFOCUS Corp.

The evening's session was interactive, as the audience asked and answered pertinent questions stimulated by Ms. Clark's presentation of such topics as self-assessment, taking responsibility for your career, and seeking new opportunities. Résumé tips were provided, including advice to more senior members to list only the past 10 years of work experience. According to Stacie, the hot industries in Houston are health care, and oil and gas, with small to medium-size companies most apt to hire technical communicators right now. Why? Because they cannot afford to go “global” and are not currently off-shoring IT services.

A valuable piece of self-assessment is to ask others for feedback on how you are perceived. For example, “How do I show up in the world around five things—meeting expectations, being a team player, having a professional attitude, doing quality work, and basically what works/doesn't work about me?” Another step is to establish your strategic skill set, and then target specific companies in your job search, making it a point to find out contact names. It seems that internal referrals are more effective these days than relying solely on Internet job boards. Ways to meet individuals who can potentially refer you to a hiring manager include “strategically” volunteering for a specific industry's professional organization and working as a part-time consultant in your field of interest.

Stacie urged us to present ourselves as a “solution” when attending networking sessions. She suggested coming up with a 60-second, or less, pitch about your attributes. It helps people help you if they know exactly what value you can add. And don't forget those cover letters. Even when e-mailing a resume, it is recommended to have a compelling statement about why you should be hired, along with your contact information.

Stacie's handout supported her presentation with additional tips for landing your next position. Good luck to those members who continue to search for that “perfect” job!

To learn more about iFOCUS Corp., go to www.i-focuscorp.com .

Pat Bishop and Melanie G. Flanders Named STC Associate Fellows

by Cindy Pao, Information Developer, BMC Software, Inc.

Pat Bishop and Melanie G. Flanders, both STC Houston senior members, have been named Associate Fellows by the STC Associate Fellows Committee and the STC Board of Directors.

Pat and Melanie will be recognized formally in May at the STC Annual Conference Awards Banquet in Seattle.

Pat: Mentor, Trainer, and Contributor

Pat has been a technical communicator for 26 years and a member of STC for 21 years. She has held both writer and manager jobs, and is currently an Independent Freelancer on contract at BMC Software.

Pat started her STC career with STC Atlanta, joining the Houston chapter in 1991. Before leaving Atlanta, Pat served as their President and the Currents Conference Manager. Since coming to Houston, Pat has served as the Membership Committee Manager, the Technical Publications Competition Manager, Nominating Committee Manager, and as Director of both Satellites and Membership.

Melanie: Author, Community Leader, and Educator

Melanie has been a technical communicator for 26 years and a member of STC for 16 years.

During her time with STC Houston, Melanie worked on two Region 5 conferences; chaired the Programs Committee and the Nominating Committee; and worked on the Newsletter Committee, the Online Documentation SIG, and the Consultant and Independent Contracting SIG. Melanie has also judged in both the STC Houston competitions and the international competitions.

STC Associate Fellows

STC recognizes senior members for their dedication to the profession of technical communication and to the Society. In order to be nominated for this honor, a member must be a technical communicator for at least 15 years and a member of STC for at least 10 years. Pat and Melanie were nominated and supported by their peers for this honor.

Chapter Holds Important Elections

At the April 12 meeting, STC Houston will conduct two important votes. The first vote will approve proposed changes to chapter bylaws. The second vote will elect administrative council members for the next program year (June 2005 to June 2006).

Our administrative council provides the required leadership, guidance, and structure to ensure that STC Houston continues to serve its members. As STC continues its transformation efforts at the international level, STC Houston leaders need to stay informed and identify ways for our members to benefit from these changes. Working closely with our members, the administrative council leads STC Houston into the future.

If you cannot attend the April 12 meeting, please download and print a proxy ballot for each election and mail the ballots to STC Houston, as directed on each proxy ballot. For more information about the proposed bylaws changes, or to download a proxy ballot, go to www.stc-houston.org/updatescb.htm. For more information about the administrative council candidates, or to download a proxy ballot, go to www.stc-houston.org/election.htm.

Proxy Authorization Ballot

Vote for Proposed Bylaw Changes – April 2005

Please select one of the following proxy options:

I authorize the following member in good standing (please print name), _________________________, to vote in my place in the vote for the proposed bylaws changes.

Name (please print)_______________________________

Signature_______________________________ Date __________________



I cast my vote or I authorize the following member in good standing (please print name), _________________________, to cast my vote for the selected option in the vote for the proposed bylaws changes.

Name (please print)_______________________________ Signature_______________________________ Date__________________



I approve the proposed bylaw changes.



I do not approve the proposed bylaw changes.


The proposed bylaws changes are available through the STC Houston web site at

Please mail your proxy ballot to:

Paul Mueller
5138 Carew Street
Houston, Texas 77096

Proxy ballots that are mailed must be received by April 11 so they can be counted at the April 12 chapter meeting.

If you are voting by proxy for another member at the April 12 chapter meeting, you must have the ballot verified by a member of the Tellers Committee at the registration table the night of the meeting. All ballots must be cast by the time announced at the start of the April 12 chapter meeting.

Members attending the chapter meeting will receive a ballot at the meeting.

New Senior Members

by Cindy Pao, Information Developer, BMC Software, Inc.

According to the STC Bylaws, the grade of senior member is conferred upon those who have held the grade of member for five consecutive years. The following STC Houston members have recently achieved senior member status:

  • Jocelyn R. Campitelli
  • Alan A. Olsen
  • Tiffany M. Skidmore
  • John A. Young, Jr.

Congratulations on this achievement!

New Members

Carolyn Batek

Carolyn Batek has been in the communications industry for five years. Carolyn started writing in-house technical documentation in IT and then moved into the healthcare industry. Carolyn is a technical writer at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, where she creates and edits Donor Collections department SOPs.

Working in a heavily regulated organization makes for an extremely fast-paced and constantly changing environment. Writers must follow American Association of Blood Banks standards and FDA regulations while keeping up with current medical technology upgrades and healthcare protocols.

Carolyn, a lifelong Houstonian (with a brief stint in Huntsville, attending Sam Houston State University), appreciates the opportunity to apply her technical writing skills to a worthwhile cause in the non-profit world.

Charlotte Hoaks

Twenty-five years ago Charlotte Hoaks's first technical writing job included drawing milk jugs in pen and ink, and documenting the production process for a manufacturing company. She has served as a Prime systems administrator, programmed in Fortran, and supported CADD technology, creating the required system, procedure, and program documentation. Using CADD systems, Charlotte wrote company-specific training materials and how-to guides.

Charlotte's current position as a technical writer with a manufacturing company includes writing SOX-compliant IT services policies and procedures for employee online access.

Tanya Valderrama

Tanya Valderrama, a student member, attends the University of Houston–Downtown. Tanya is studying to obtain a Master of Science degree in Professional Writing and Technical Communications. Her undergraduate degree is in foreign languages (French and Spanish).

Tanya works at Shell Lubricants as an administrative assistant. She would like to work with foreign companies or work in a foreign country, using her technical communications degree.

Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly has been a technical writer for 17 years. Most of that time has been spent on power systems and electrical engineering, but Bill has also written documentation about computer software, computer hardware, drilling rigs, and environmental compliance.

Following some schooling and a stint in the U. S. Navy, Bill returned to Houston in 1988. His education includes several years of engineering studies and a Bachelor's degree in Business from the University of Phoenix. He is pursuing an MBA now.

Bill is a technical information developer for Satake USA, a Japanese-owned company that builds optical sorting equipment for the cereal grain industry. Bill reports that the technology is fascinating and he enjoys his job!

Tessa Boyd

Relatively new to the field of technical communication, Tessa Boyd has worked for GHG Corporation as a technical writer on the Safety and Mission Assurance Contract at Johnson Space Center for six months. Before that, she worked on the Johnson Space Center Oral History Project as a researcher and writer.

Tessa is a graduate of Syracuse University and remains loyal to her historical writing and research interests by working toward a Master's degree in History at the University of Houston–Clear Lake.

Daniel Pearson

Daniel Pearson started working as a technical writer with GHG Corporation on the Safety and Mission Assurance Contract at Johnson Space Center in 2004. Now Daniel is a member of a Space Shuttle safety panel, where he produces the meeting minutes.

Previously, Daniel was the bicycle coordinator for Texas A&M University, where he promoted alternative transportation through marketing campaigns and brochures. Daniel is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Political Science.

John Boone

John Boone is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with a degree in Anthropology. John has 10 years' experience in pharmaceutical QA, mainly in product releases and annual product reviews. John's main areas of interest are information design, procedure writing, technical editing, and consulting. He would also like to learn more about writing fiction.

John is a technical writer at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, where he has worked for two years. He is rewriting all production SOPs for appropriate readability, formatting consistency, and information accessibility.

Shawn Harris

Shawn Harris is a student member attending the University of Houston–Downtown, where he is working toward a Master's degree in Professional Writing and Technical Communication. Shawn's background is in finance and accounting; he is planning on making a smooth transition into professional writing.

Shawn's areas of interest are corporate communication (compliance and documentation), grant writing, business analysis, and publications management.

STC-Houston 2005 Banquet Photos



Ann, Jessica, Terry


Ann, Pat, Jocelyn, George


BMC Group



Brian, Susan, Robin, Michael


Jocelyn, George


Cindy, Jocelyn, Deborah, Mary



Crystal, Linda, Cathy


David, Monica


Donna, Bill



Hewlett-Packard Group


Jessica, Terry, Mike


JoCarol, Pat, Ragna



Lisetta, Rick, Yvonne


Maryann, Paul


Rob, Melissa, Linda




The Integrity Group


Melissa and husband






Copyright © 2006 Houston Chapter, Society for Technical Communication
P.O. Box 42051, Houston, TX 77242-2051 | 713-706-3434