Vol 44, Issue 6

July/August 2005

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June 2005 Meeting

“Way to Go, STC Houston !”

by Deborah Long, Technical Editor, BMC Software Business School

As has become an annual tradition for the STC Houston chapter, our June 2005 program meeting featured an end of year party to recognize our volunteers…without whom we would not have achieved success. And succeed we did this year, taking home the coveted Chapter of Distinction award from the conference, which applauded us for our “innovative and dynamic approach that resulted in diversified programs and widespread participation throughout all of our communities of practice, including the student community.”

Nicole Wycislo, Monica Waddell, and Rebecca Taylor show off their well-deserved medals

While this award was the biggest win of all, it reflects all the efforts of each and every member who participated in one way or another in STC -related activities during 2004-2005. So, we spent the evening paying tribute to our “all stars” team with a sports theme that called us forth to dress in tribute to our favorite football, baseball, or basketball players. In this same vein, each member of the Administrative Council was presented with a gold medal for his/her overall leadership. And the throngs of volunteers received certificates for their particular areas of individual contribution. The singular Volunteer of the Year award went to Jewel Darby, along with a standing ovation. No one was forgotten when it came to thanks, including our chapter president Cindy Pao who was rewarded with a day at “the spa,” which will help prepare her for a second term!

Throughout the festivities, photographic images were projected on a large screen to review the people and events from the entire year. We also had Houston-area recruiters on hand to help celebrate and to continue our tireless effort to keep all members gainfully employed. This all goes to show that the Houston chapter really gives back to its members. Once again, “way to go, STC Houston!” Hope y'all have a great summer break and come back for more fun next year when we will play even harder to WIN !!!

STC Houston 2005–2006 Year

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

My husband just finished taking a negotiating class, where he took a personality test to find out what type he is. Turns out he's not a planner, but, since he's an expert now, he thinks that I am. I believe that his exact words were “touchy, feely, planning type.”

Didn't someone once say, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”? I'm pretty sure I've heard that somewhere.

This article deals with the planning going on in your chapter right now. I hope you see something here that interests you and that you get involved!

Summer Meetings

The Administrative Council meets over the summer, even when the chapter does not. You can join us if you want! The agenda for each council meeting will be posted on the community web site one to two weeks before each meeting.

We typically meet on the second Tuesday of the month, just like the program meetings, but you should check the STC Houston web site for exact dates and times.

Getting Started

We have planned for everyone at the leadership transition meeting in June to review the STC Houston strategic plan. This plan is composed of objectives, strategies, and tactics that are supposed to guide our chapter as we plan activities for the year. We'll decide just which tactics the STC Houston community will focus on.


Alyssa Fox is already charging ahead in planning for the 2005 competitions. She's securing a trading partner and lots of committee managers.

Corporate Sponsors

Corporate Sponsors play a key role by providing logistical and financial support for all of STC Houston's activities.


Dean Liscum is at work planning the monthly meetings. Get in touch with him if you know a must-hear speaker.

Dean needs a manager for programs, STKs, and seminars. He also needs folks with ideas for meeting topics and speakers.

Event Champions

“What's are event champions?” you ask. These are members of our chapter who are also members of other professional organizations. These people publicize our events to the other organizations. A great example of event championship is the collaboration with the UHD/STC STK that took place this past June 11. Because of the publicity to other organziations in the Houston area, the STK was filled to capacity!

Volunteer Recognition

If you came to the volunteer recognition event at the Houston Museum of Natural Science last chapter year, I hope you had a good time. You deserved it! We'll have another event this year, and you can help plan it.


This year, we're going to get the technical communication students in the Houston and College Station areas are involved in community activities and also get the STC Houston leaders out to the students.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

We'd like to revitalize our SIGs this year. Jocelyn Williams has done an awesome job with the Consultants and Independent Contractors SIG. Let's get the Online Documentation SIG back on track and maybe even add another SIG or two.


Our satellites need us! We'll be traveling to College Station and Baton Rouge this year to visit and take part in their activities.

Strategic Planning

And what about that strategic plan? Since it's a living document, Linda King will review and update it to make sure that the community's best interests are represented. This is the way to be a Community of Distinction again.


Cathy Bettoney is taking on the vice president position for volunteers. She needs you to fill the volunteer positions within the community.

Administrative Council

This year's Administrative Council consists of the following members:

•  Cindy Pao, president
•  Rebecca Taylor, executive vice president
•  Jennifer Smith, treasurer
•  Stephanie Townsend, secretary
•  Jocelyn Williams, immediate past president
•  Luette Arrowsmith, vice president for the web site, online forums, listserv, telephone service,
employment committee, and membership committee
•  Cathy Bettoney, vice president for volunteers, recognitions, and community service
•  Pat Bishop, vice president for the newsletter committee and the publicity committee
•  Alyssa Fox, vice president for competitions and corporate sponsors
•  Linda King, vice president for satellites, sigs, students, and strategic planning
•  Dean Liscum, vice president for event champions, programs, STKs, and seminars
•  Joy Owen, vice president for arrangements, historian, and operations

Please let us hear from you — with suggestions, solutions, or to volunteer.

Remember This

STC Houston is a professional organization run by volunteers . Bringing you the knowledge you need to stay employed or become employed takes work from everyone.

So add something new to your resume — volunteer today!

Pat Bishop—New STC Associate Fellow

This essay about Patricia J. Bishop first appeared in the 2005 Society Honors Banquet program.

Patricia J. Bishop has distinguished herself through her service to the Atlanta and Houston chapters and through her work as trainer, mentor, and influencer. Pat is also well-known for the training courses she conducts in editing, graphics, usability, effective writing, and online help.

Suzanna Laurent presents Pat Bishop with her Associate Fellow plaque

An independent contractor since 2003, Pat previously worked at BMC Software and Candle Corporation. As a senior information developer at BMC, she was active in defining standards and templates and was a main catalyst behind the implementation of a peer-edit process, which helped to ensure quality and consistency across product documentation sets. At Candle, she held the position of information development advisor, serving as a mentor and trainer for new writers. She maintained portions of Candle's intranet, where writers could access information about documentation tools and standards, and she received the organization's Diamond Award for her documentation work. Pat's work also won a number of awards in local STC publications competitions.

Pat's STC colleagues describe her as tireless and dependable, often making significant contributions behind the scenes and out of the limelight. Selected as a strategic advisor for the Houston chapter, she advises the chapter's administrative council and provides advice and encouragement to chapter leaders.

Pat has served the Houston chapter as membership director; director of satellites; comanager of the recognition, publicity, nominating, and seminar committees; and manager and judge for the chapter technical publications competition. She received the distinguished chapter service award in 1997.

Before relocating to Houston , Pat was president, membership manager, publicity manager, and Currents conference manager for the Atlanta chapter.

Melanie Flanders—New STC Associate Fellow

This essay about Melanie G. Flanders was adapted from the 2005 Society Honors Banquet program.

Suzanna Laurent presents Melanie Flanders with her Associate Fellow plaque

Melanie G. Flanders possesses a zest for the written word, both in her work as a technical communicator and in her avocation as a poet. She has written many articles on technical communication topics, which have been published in Dateline Houston and reprinted in Intercom and in the publications of other STC communities and professional organizations. She has also made numerous presentations at STC annual conferences on diverse topics such as technical communication opportunities in China and exploiting new features in Adobe FrameMaker.

Melanie seizes opportunities to showcase the technical communication field. She is actively involved with like-minded organizations, for which she chairs committees, makes presentations, provides training, develops articles and program designs, and coordinates events.

As the chief information architect for her company, KnowledgeMasters, Inc., Melanie provides contracting services in information design, development, and delivery. She also conducts training and seminars in information design, FrameMaker, internationalization and localization issues, and effective writing.

As an adjunct lecturer for the University of Houston-Downtown, Melanie teaches business and technical writing and electronic publishing, and has taught software manuals and FrameMaker. In addition, she serves on the curriculum advisory board of Houston Community College and has taught courses in FrameMaker and advanced technical writing.

Melanie has provided valuable service to STC as a local and international competition judge, as a planner of and contributor to regional conferences, as an active participant in the Houston chapter's Consultants and Independent Contractors and Online Documentation SIGs; and she is a frequent contributor to Dateline Houston . For her service to the Houston chapter, she received the distinguished chapter service award in 2002.

New Members

by Lisetta Lavy, Aspentech

Amy Turner

Amy is a graduate of the University of Texas and is currently working as a technical writer for the Intranet Communications department at AIM Investments, located in Houston, Texas. She specializes in documenting online policies and procedures related to various job functions.

Robert Reynolds

Robert Reynolds is a technical writer for APPRO Systems (an Equifax company), located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Robert began his career with APPRO as an intern in 2002 and has been working full-time for APPRO for about three years. APPRO is a software company that provides computerized credit decisioning systems for banks and credit unions. Robert's areas of focus include printed documentation, online help, new-media training (using Macromedia Flash), and live classroom training.

Dane Kerne

Dane is a technical editor for Halliburton (KBR). She provides writing and editing services (for example, large-scale revisions, line editing, and proofreading) for Halliburton's proposal team and, on occasion, for the corporate communications department. Dane has worked in the Houston area as a technical communicator for the last six years. Sharing and receiving relevant knowledge is very high on Dane's list of interests, as is learning more about emerging technologies and trends.

Janice Stein

Janice holds an MA degree in creative writing and a PhD in English, both from Louisiana State University. She is currently an associate professor at Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In addition, Janice serves as chair of the Liberal Arts Department and teaches upper-level English courses, including technical writing. Janice is currently working on developing a proposal for a bachelor's degree program in medical/technical writing. Outside of the academic setting, Janice was employed for 8 years as the Policy and Procedure Coordinator (technical writing/editing) for a hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. She also owned a small technical writing/consulting company in New Orleans and was the editor of a local newspaper.

Katie Vick

Katie is originally from Galveston, Texas, but moved to Colorado Springs to work as an academic advisor for the University of Colorado. She recently moved back to the Houston area and is currently the development writer in charge of presidential acknowledgment letters at Rice University.

Chelsea Ott

Chelsea is a “newbie” to the communications field (only about 4 months of experience). She is a web site assistant in the Marketing department at Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Company (LAMMICO). Her focus is on external communications accomplished through the LAMMICO web site and she is responsible for a bimonthly newsletter. In addition, Chelsea is very close to completing an MA in English with a concentration in Professional Writing from the University of New Orleans.

Julie Landreneau

Julie has been writing professionally for three years. She entered the field of technical writing about 1-½ years ago. She is currently employed as a technical writer for a global helicopter company based in New Iberia , Louisiana (for service to the Gulf of Mexico). Her current responsibilities include writing procedural manuals for her company's Supply Chain department.

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