Technical and Marketing Communications for the IT, Software, IT-Security, Change Management, AEC, and Media Sectors









Services and Background

I assisted IKOS, a San Jose-based company, with documentation for two new product releases. IKOS has several software emulation products, plus hardware accelerators, that are used in tandem to test new chip designs. It was engineer-to-engineer documentation and I worked with product managers, trainers, and programmers to assist in the development of user guides, installation guides, release notes, and on line tutorials. The documentation was done in FrameMaker for both print and on line publication.

This was a contract position that I accepted while still working toward a certificate in technical writing from the former Webster Technical Institute in San Francisco. This was a 200-hour state certified technical training program that prepared technical writers for entry into the software development field. Webster taught data gathering skills, including interview techniques and focused on two industry-standard tools: FrameMaker and RoboHelp. (Webster Associates, a firm that places technical writers, is still in business but no longer offers this technical training program.)

Back in the 1980s, I was an enthusiastic hobbyist programmer, writing programs in BASIC. Over the last several years I have continued my education at San Francisco State University, taking classes in JavaScript and Java programming. Having picked up object oriented programming, I have also had some experience with C++ programming and Visual Basic, both of which were in use at IKOS.


I performed a two-year contract to develop procedure manuals for Legacy Marketing Group, a Petaluma-based financial services company. They develop annuity and other insurance products for large carriers like Transamerica.

I worked with Business Analysts and Trainers to develop procedure manuals for several divisions of the organization, including Licensing & Contracting and New Business. The process involved interviewing key stakeholders, documenting existing practices, and working through review and revision processes to develop detailed procedures for managing the firms operational affairs.

Working on a team of four technical writers, I developed manuals in MS-Word, then used Doc-to-Help software to convert the Word files and develop on line help systems. Toward the end of the project, a great deal of my time was spent editing HTML code to ensure that the on line display worked as intended.


I was on staff for three years at BayGroup International, a Larkspur Landing-based firm that develops custom training programs in negotiation and conflict management for Fortune 100 companies (e.g., Hewlett-Packard, AT&T). (The company was known as The Bay Group and was based in San Rafael when I worked with them.) At this time they were partnered with professors from Stanford University whose research into human behaviors and interactions formed the philosophical core of their programs. They were trading in "elegant negotiables" to reach "win-win" solutions.

As part of my employee development, I was trained in the negotiation and conflict management programs. 

My role on staff involved developing classroom materials (leader guides, participant guides, role play exercises, and pre-class behavioral profiles) and included coordinating input from trainers and other subject matter experts, writers, and graphic artists. I did some first-draft writing and extensive technical editing. I also did a great deal of desktop publishing, initially in PageMaker and then later in Word.

My time at The Bay Group coincided with their development of two new products, a contention management program and an ethics training program, which gave me an opportunity to participate in the complete product development cycle. I supported the early product concept work, coordinated reviews and revisions, and saw the products through beta testing.

After leaving my staff position, I continued to work with The Bay Group on a consultant basis, primarily providing technical editing services.


I have been involved in project management, in one form or another, for over 25 years. For example, I have served as:

Proposal Manager: Over the past 12 years I have often been responsible for managing proposal processes, primarily in the architecture & engineering (A&E) arena. This has included organizing proposal teams, identifying key project personnel, organizing multidisciplinary teams, assigning and monitoring responsibilities for assigned tasks, gathering data, coordinating input from subject matter experts, ensuring compliance with document requirements, providing technical editing, working with graphics specialists and managing production efforts, managing review and revision processes, and shipping or delivering the completed project. 

Marketing Task Manager: Similar to the proposal manager function, I have many years of experience developing marketing collateral (service or fly sheets, brochures, press releases, technical papers and white papers, journal articles), including writing original copy, managing the review/revision and production processes.


I learned a great deal about information gathering instruments while working for BayGroup International. Behavioral surveys were a core strategy in their business, and a key aspect of their products. We would spend a great deal of time developing questionnaires or survey tools to determine what type of questions were best understood by respondents, what set of questions needed to be answered to capture a statistically accurate profile of a respondent relative to a specific interaction, what form designs worked best for most respondents, etc. We also developed detailed guides for parsing "participant" questionnaires and understanding their meanings.

Previous to my BayGroup International experience, I had been involved with development of a University of Alaska survey of state political figures.

For an interesting case study of how I have used this background in survey development in fields other than behavioral, see "Soccer and Boiling Frogs" on the Projects page.

I received my initial training in data gathering and interviewing as a journalism student, then developed my skills further as a professional reporter on a variety of commercial publications (daily and weekly newspapers and magazines). As a journalist I did hundreds of interviews with local, state and national political figures, locally elected representatives, union leaders, entertainment figures, business leaders, and regular people from all walks of life. I also accessed a lot of public records.

I always considered interviewing to be among my primary skills and most natural strengths. Technical writing, in my experience, has called upon many of the information gathering skills I learned and developed as a journalist. The primary challenge for a technical writer is getting the information that is needed, which is often far more difficult than a person new to the field usually expects.

The training I received in communications skills and techniques while working at BayGroup International has served me well. They teach a conflict management concept of appealing to the highest shared aspiration, which is quite powerful as an organizing principle in dealing with busy people with a lot on their minds. I find that if you are providing perceived value, the most time- constrained leaders in any organization will somehow find the time to provide the information you need.


I have a long history of work on long research-oriented publishing projects, and my experience with literature review goes way back beyond microfish to dusty back rooms where history is stored in the yellowed pages of forgotten books. I have spent a lot of time in university libraries.

Of course, we are in a spectacular new age with the Internet and I have become adept at the use of search engines and the wide range of on line resources. I frequently use sites devoted specifically to the technical terminology associated with engineering and architectural projects. Some of these sites have been included on my Links page.


I have held numerous management positions on commercial publications, beginning with my stint as Editorial Editor on my college newspaper (Fort Hays Kansas State University Leader). All of the positions on the college newspaper were paid, and working on the publication was an important part of how I paid my way through undergraduate school. I was the only student, up to that time, to have ever been granted the job of Editorial Editor two years running, primarily because my editorials had drawn the attention of other commercial publications around the state, and my articles were ocassionally reprinted in other publications. I also worked in the Information Office at the university, writing press releases regarding campus news, activities, events.

I was Assistant Editor for The Saturday Extra, a weekend supplement to the daily Winchester News-Gazette, and we were awarded "Best Family Publication" in our circulation bracket by the Indiana Press Association our first year out (1976).

I served as occasional Assistant Managing Editor for Town & Country Review of Boulder, Colorado, selecting stories, writing and editing, and managing the production crew all the way to press run.


I was Assistant Managing Editor for the Auraria Voice in Denver, Colorado, a weekly publication that served the Denver campus of the University of Colorado. I covered campus news, selected stories, managed the advertising staff, managed production and circulation.

I have served as a consultant on a number of commercial publications, such as the Rocky Mountain Hi-Note, a Denver-based music publication, and a San Francisco film and video publication.


My publication design experience includes input to design of commercial (Winchester News-Gazette, The Saturday Extra, Audience Magazine, Rocky Mountain Hi-Note, Town & Country Review, the Auraria Voice, among others) and corporate publications. I have designed proposal packages, marketing materials, technical reports, white papers, and studies.


I have developed detailed marketing plans for a number of organizations, marketing the professional services of Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA), a Mill Valley, California-based landscape design and planning firm, and the more public services offered by Viacom Cablevision, formerly of San Francisco, California.

I have designed, executed, and monitored the results of multi-pronged programs to identify potential markets, penetrate them with outreach to media, the public, and potential associates, and establish name recognition for my firm and its services. The marketing plan I developed for RHAA provided a structure for aggressive marketing, included scheduled marketing events in the form of mailings and press releases, organized professional outreach, and publication in industry publications. The plan provided measurable objectives, costed initiatives, and tracked their effectiveness in ROI terms.


My Viacom experience included managing inbound and outbound telemarketing groups servicing the giant "new-build" campaigns of the 1980s, when cable was being provided to every neighborhood in the City. I established goals for response to numerous marketing campaigns, devised methodologies for tracking our successes, and reported numbers exceeding expectations in every reporting period. 

My marketing efforts for Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA), detailed above, provide the best example of my efforts in media and industry outreach. As marketing director, I established measurable objectives and goals for media and industry outreach, and then executed plans to meet targeted objectives. I managed a program of press releases and telephone contacts, and prepared articles for publication in industry magazines and journals. I also wrote articles for professional conferences and worked to gain panel positions for senior leaders in the firm.