NEO Society for Technical Communication

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Lines & Letters - the NEO STC newsletter

President's Corner - April 2014

Hi all,

As always, I want to thank the team that made last month's meeting such a great success, starting with Lisa, who covered for me as I was traveling for work.

Thanks in particular to Radcom for hosting the meeting, as well as Bob Dianetti, Kathleen Ruggeri, Lynn Nickels, and Lisa Adair. Thanks also to Youngstown State University representatives Bege Bowers, Julia Gergits, Jay Gordon, Karen Kaiser Lee, Sarah Perrine, and Rebecca Steh.

BIG NEWS: The NEO STC was awarded the Community of Distinction (CAA) from International. This is a significant honor and one shared by all of the very active members of the NEO Community.

Citation: For your dedication to your members and to the promotion of the technical communication field with an impressive number of initiatives and strong ties to the community and students in your area.
Comments from the STC Community Achievement Award Evaluation Committee: Congratulations on a very full year. Your extensive number of program offerings to your members is impressive. The number of initiatives was also impressive and well defined. Of special note were the half-day content Lifecycle and Topic-base Authoring Workshop (Thank you Tricia Spayer and Amy Vogt!) and your involvement with GiveCamp.
  • Your continued efforts with the Book Club is a creative way to get members involved and to give them exposure to STC-related materials at the same time. – Thank you Jill McCauslin!
  • Your mentoring program shows your dedication to serving students in your community and to help promote the technical communication profession. – Thank you Carrie Cianciola, Sarah Burke, Jeanette Evans, Genelle Pretty, Lisa Adair, and Bob Young!
  • Congratulations on your efforts with the American Medical writers Association conference in Columbus, OH, in November. It is always important to spread the word about STC to other groups and organizations. – Thank you Ginny Haas and Kim Lindsey!
  • Your involvement with the non-profit GiveCamp is to be commended. – Thank you Kristen Jackson and Nicole Derr!

Final comments from the STC Community Achievement Award Evaluation Committee:

Your CAA application was very thorough and impressive. You had one of the most comprehensive applications in that every item was well documented and fully substantiated. The committee looks forward to seeing you push even further next year. Congratulations on a job well done. – Thank you everyone! Please come to the May Banquet and congratulate your teammates. This is a community award and would not be possible without each of you.

The April NEO STC Community Meeting is titled "Component Content Management System," by Suzanne Mescan of Vasont Systems. Suzanne will introduce technologies emerging as a critical tool for technical communicators: the Component Content Management System (CCMS). You will learn the basics of CCMS operation, and how it benefits you and your organization. Also, you'll learn how a CCMS can expand a technical writer's career path, or final frontier. For more information and to register, click here.

As always, if you are interested in getting more involved as a volunteer, please feel free to contact me at

Paul Holland


Upcoming Events April 2014

NEO STC events

All NEO STC events are listed in the Events Calendar.

4/10/14: Chapter meeting, "Component Content Management System," presented by Suzanne Mescan at Akron General Health and Wellness Center. Details.

4/26: Workshop, "Toastmasters Leadership Success Series," presented by Tricia Spayer, Diana Duke, and Dave Wiley at the Crown Centre building in Independence. Details.

5/8/14: Awards banquet and election, at Signature of Solon Country Club in Solon. Watch the website for details.

5/30/14: Networking lunch, at Cheesecake Factory in Westlake.

Other events and dates of interest

4/7/14: Cleveland Public Library program, "Proposal Writing Basics," presented by David Holmes, at the Cleveland Heights Library, Lee Road Branch. Details.

4/8/14: ASTD All-Ohio 2014 Workplace Learning and Performance Conference, at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus. Details.

4/9/14: NEO PMI meeting, "An Agile Implementation Story," presented by Eddie Forse and Valt Vesikallio, at Hyland Software in Westlake. Details.

4/11 - 4/18: Northeast Ohio Software Association Tech Week. Details.

4/13 - 4/15/14: Spectrum 2014 Conference, hosted by Rochester STC, at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Details.

5/18 - 5/21/14: STC Summit, in Phoenix, AZ. Details.

Visit the STC website for the most current list of Live Web Seminars.


NEO STC Community Officer Elections - 2014

Elections will be held May 8, 2014, at the Annual NEO STC Community Awards Banquet and Election.

Candidates for our 2014/2015 NEO STC officer positions are:

  • Brian Smith: Vice President Candidate
  • Debbie Mekker: Treasurer Candidate
  • Claudia Thompson: Secretary Candidate

All voting members may vote for our candidates in person or by proxy at this meeting on May 8. For each officer position, each voting member may vote for the candidate identified above, or identify a write-in candidate. Any write-in candidate must be a regular, student, or senior member of the NEO STC community to qualify. If we have a quorum of voting members (10% of membership) voting at the May 8 meeting, then the candidate who receives the majority of votes in their respective position will be elected.

If you are unable to attend the May 8 meeting, and would like to vote by proxy instead, please contact Janean Voss by May 6 to let her know who you are designating as your proxy to attend the meeting and vote in your place.


Tricia Spayer Honored as STC Associate Fellow

Sincere congratulations go to our own Tricia Spayer for achieving the honorary rank of STC Associate Fellow at the 2014 STC Summit. Here are some excerpts from her Associate Fellow application, a great video about her work with NEO STC, and a list of 2014 STC honorees.

Career Overview

Tricia has inspired many of us because of her career, contributions to the field, and service to STC. Her outstanding service to her employer - including work at the corporate web site level - is just one of her major accomplishments. She has also reached out in an impressive way to the outside community, especially working in an original way with an engineering audience. She shines, perhaps most of all, due to her list of presentations, both inside and outside of the STC community, including her steadfast quest to improve her presentation and leadership skills through her work with Toastmasters. Her leadership activities related to serving on the STC Board and work with the Community Affairs Committee also make Tricia a star.

With 13 years of work at the local STC community level, Tricia continues to inspire with her ongoing service to the larger STC community. She has done an especially outstanding job of reporting back on her experiences at annual STC conferences. Many of us have been impressed with her wonderful ability to explain and communicate about her work with STC. She has done this by writing about her experiences in our community-level newsletter and speaking at our meetings. It is wonderful to have her in our community. Both within our field and with those outside of the field, her leadership and contributions have been exemplary.

Subject to Control Video

Click to see the video that describes much about Tricia's background.


Following in her father’s footsteps by studying electronics engineering, Tricia began her career as a technician and tech support specialist. After several years of repairing equipment, Tricia discovered that creating symptom/ repair analyses and reports was more satisfying. She learned technical communication skills by understanding electronics and translating complex technical information into easily understood brochures, descriptions, and instructions. Her managers at Pressco Technology Inc., have credited Tricia with transforming their dated technical publications processes into modern means of production and publication, providing clients with more understandable and useful documentation and help systems. Her managers also praise Tricia’s unique talent for creative, as well as technical capabilities. Her work managing the corporate web site, creating brochures, trade show posters, and sales presentations demonstrates her creative side.

Tricia volunteered for the Northeast Ohio STC chapter at her first meeting in 2000. Since then, she has held numerous leadership positions from President to Bylaws Chair, and still continues to support the Northeast Ohio STC chapter. Her efforts earned her the Distinguished Chapter Service Award in 2010, and helped the chapter win an STC Community of Excellence award, as well as Distinguished Technical Communication in Public Relations from STC. Tricia served as Director-at-Large on the STC Board of Directors, where she chaired the Community Affairs Committee. Her work with the committee organized three STC Summit Leadership Programs, provided numerous leadership webinars, created a multitude of leadership resources, and helped create a mutually beneficial communications path between STC’s staff, Board of Directors, and communities.

New Honorees

According to, each of the following people will be celebrated at the Honors Banquet, held on Tuesday, 20 May, during the STC Summit in Phoenix, AZ. Please join us in congratulating each of these new Fellows and Associate Fellows.


Associate Fellows

Donn DeBoard

Beth Agnew

Joe Devney

Robert Rhyne Armstrong

Leah Guren

Maria Antonieta Flores

Rebecca Hall

Susan Haire

Rob Hanna

Mark A. Lewis

Chris Hester

Mike Murray

Paul Mueller

Cindy Pao

Kirk St. Amant

Paula Robertson


Tricia Spayer


Andrea Wenger

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