STC Houston - Dateline Houston - March/April 2006

Vol 45, Issue 4

March/April 2006

STC Houston - Dateline Houston - March/April 2006

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STC Houston - Dateline Houston - January/February 2006

JoCarol Gau Receives Associate Fellow Honors

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!

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