by George Slaughter, Senior Technical Writer, The Integrity Group
The STC Board of Directors grants the Associate Fellow title to senior members
who have attained “distinction in the field of technical communication.”
This year, STC so honors JoCarol Gau of Houston.
JoCarol is a senior manager for global information development at BMC Software.
In this role, she supports all products in that company’s Enterprise Systems
Management business unit. Her team includes writers in the U.S., India, and
Israel. She is a recognized leader within BMC Software, contributing to projects
that have helped raise business unit awareness and support of technical communication.
One such project involved working with managers to change the organization and
focus of BMC Software writing teams. In the past, writing teams were organized
by lines of business and product development. Today, in part because of JoCarol’s
leadership, writing teams are organized by type of information aligned with
product and solution marketing, customer support, and professional services
and software consulting. This change gives writing teams constant customer contact,
reflected in improved product documentation that meets customer requirements.
JoCarol is also recognized as a team builder within her company. She helped
set up BMC Software’s first Indian offshoring effort for documentation,
organizing both the infrastructure necessary to support a writing team and recruiting,
hiring, and training the writers to staff the team.
JoCarol has participated in STC on both the local and Society levels. Among
other roles on the local level, she served as volunteer recognition committee
manager (2004–05), nominations committee co-manager (2001–02), and
publicity committee manager (1996–97 and 1985–88). On the Society
level, JoCarol was a manager of the STC 50th Anniversary Planning Committee
in 1997, in which she helped to develop the 5-year plan for promoting STC’s
50th anniversary on an international level.
For her local leadership, JoCarol received the Distinguished Chapter Service
Award in 1998. She has also received STC awards for her technical writing work.
JoCarol is widely known as a writer and speaker on technical communication topics.
At the local level, her writing has appeared in the Houston Chronicle and in
the STC Houston newsletter, Dateline Houston. More recently, her work has appeared
in the Center for Information Development (CIDM) newsletter, Best Practices.
In August 2005, JoCarol published “Putting Kotter’s Ideas to the
Test: Leading Change through an Offshoring Effort,” in which she compared
some of former Harvard Business School professor John Kotter’s theories
for corporate change to her experiences in developing offshore documentation
teams. She reviewed Kotter’s book, Leading Change, in that same edition
of the newsletter.
Her recent speaking activities include twice participating in the Idea Exchange,
hosted by the STC Israeli chapter. JoCarol presented “Offshoring experience
for documentation teams: what’s working; what’s not—a U.S.
perspective” at the September 2005 STC India chapter meeting.
JoCarol began her technical writing career at BJ Hughes Machinery in 1981. She
worked with Halliburton Energy Services from 1984–85 before beginning
her own company, InterDoc, in 1985. At InterDoc, a technical communication contracting
and consulting business, JoCarol recruited and trained contractors, consulted
on writing projects, marketing plans, and communications, and employed up to
15 writers at a time. InterDoc served clients in the manufacturing, medical software, and oil and gas industries. JoCarol's husband, Gerald, took over the leadership of InterDoc when JoCarol joined BMC Software in May 1998.
JoCarol earned a B.S. in journalism, with a minor in business, from the University
of North Texas. She has completed continuing education courses over the years
on various technical communication-related topics.
JoCarol will be honored at the STC Awards Banquet on May 9 at the STC Annual
Conference in Las Vegas.
STC Houston warmly congratulates JoCarol on her richly deserved honor!