From the Editor’s Desk

Nick Ducharme

Nick Ducharme

Hello, and thank you for reading this month’s edition of Memo to Members! With summer right around the corner, we’ve been working hard to finish up our chapter year strong.

We have a lot in store for you this issue. Not to steal her thunder, but chapter president Debra Johnson is preparing a knockout presentation about writing clear instructions! This month’s meeting will take place on Thursday evening, May 19th, at the IHOP on University Boulevard near UCF.

For more information about the event and to RSVP, please click here.

May 2016 Promo

Also in this edition:

  • A teaser from Debra Johnson herself about this month’s event
  • A meeting recap of April’s Ethical Aspects of the Challenger Disaster from chapter secretary RD Sharninghouse
  • A discussion about goal-setting from long-time chapter member and new STC Fellow, Mike Murray

Please enjoy, folks.

Nick Ducharme
Editor, Memo to Members


The President’s Corner

Debra 2016By: Debra Johnson
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

In April 2016, I was fortunate to travel for work, both to MadWorld for MadCap Flare users and to my company’s user conference in Las Vegas, called SUGA.  I presented at the latter, two separate sessions. One was “Mining for Knowledge”, which you may be familiar with as I presented it at the UCF-FTC annual meeting in February. My second session was “Tips for Writing Clear Instructions for any Task, Procedure, or Process”, which I will be reprising at the Chapter meeting on May 19, 2016.

In the session, I will talk about how every employee has a slightly different way of doing things; how each one has a different background, different experience, different depth of skill and understanding, and a slightly different operating process.  The larger your operation, the more variation can work its way into your processes.

Documented instructions are a great training tool for new employees. They help you standardize and standardization helps enforce consistency when performing tasks. Documented instructions can allow employers to measure performance, quality, and task time.

I will provide some tips on writing instructions that contain detailed, specific, and sequential information necessary to carry out an activity.

The goal of standardization is to do more with less resources, less time, and less effort.  My assistant Grace and I will show you how to capture those best practices, document them, and roll them out to your workforce and have fun doing it…  Please join us!

– Debra


If You Missed the Last Meeting

RD SharninghouseBy: R.D. Sharninghouse
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

On Thursday, April 21st at the IHOP on University, the Orlando Central Florida chapter of the STC had a special meeting that covered the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster presented by guest speaker Dr. Paul Dombroski.

2016 Pellegrin Scholarship

Before the meeting, the chapter awards some very deserving students with the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship! Congratulations are in order for the winners, Isabella Gustave (second from left) and Jessica Canul (not pictured). This annual scholarship has been a proud chapter tradition for a couple decades.

The lecture dealt with the technical communication aspects of the Challenger disaster from an ethical point of view.  It covered the breakdown in communication, the push to have a mission to space, and the various memos, testimonies, and other investigative coverage concerning Challenger.  It was an eye opener.  I am still shocked to find out about the frozen launch pad and the eroded O-ring.

April 2016 Presentation

Dr. Paul Dombrowski presents about the ethics surrounding the Challenger disaster.

The Challenger explosion was a tragedy.  I was in first grade at the time.  Challenger crew member Christa McAuliffe came to my school for an assembly and we were all excited for her. We could not wait for the mission.  On that fatal day, we didn’t know how to react.  We were all very sad, but as kids we had no idea of the other things that were involved in the incident.  I personally didn’t find out what had happened until Dr. Dombroski’s presentation.

Editor’s Note:

On a lighter note, the chapter also used the occasion to honor the two winners of this year’s Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship! The undergraduate-level winner was Jessica Canul, and the graduate-level winner was Isabella Gustave. Thank you to both students, and to all participants, for helping this amazing program to continue. (For more information about the program, click here!)


Another Honor for STC Orlando Central Florida

And a Few Words About Goal Setting

Mike Murray

Mike Murray

By: Mike Murray
STC Fellow and Former Three-Time Chapter President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

I recently found out that I am an STC Fellow! Achieving this honor has been one of my goals for many years, but one that I expected not to reach after developing Parkinson’s disease. In fact, my original STC goals after completing a three-year tour of duty as president of our chapter included serving on the STC Board of Directors for a few years before setting my sights on the STC presidency. I had even planned how I was going to appear on stage for the first time (assuming I won the election, of course! J). Whatever city we were to be in, I would don the uniform of the city’s baseball team. Over the intercom would come the song “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!” I would burst upon the stage with a few of my expected antics, and the crowd would clap and laugh, knowing that it was going to be an interesting, if not downright exciting year for STC!

While I am disappointed that I was unable to reach my lofty goal, I do not regret setting it that high. As Michelangelo once said, “The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Our chapter has never been, nor do I ever expect it to be, mediocre. We have never been average or ordinary. We challenge ourselves by setting lofty goals. Whether we achieve them or not, raising the bar high as we set our goals has kept us operating at energetic, creative, and consistent levels of excellence

My thanks for receiving the special honor of Fellow goes out to all of you and especially to the Fellow who nominated me and the three Fellows who endorsed my nomination. Having that many Fellows in a chapter our size is indicative of the quality of our supporting members and the ongoing vitality of our programs.

I fully intend to keep setting lofty goals, and I encourage you to do the same. To paraphrase Robert Browning, “Your reach should exceed your grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” You never know. By reaching for the stars, even if you never get there, think of all the Excellent achievements you never dreamed possible that you can snag along the way!


Spotlight on Excellence

Editor’s Note:

In the previous article, our newly-appointed STC Fellow shared some of his wisdom with us. Some of you may also be following his feature column, Spotlight on Excellence. A fitting feature from a fine Fellow, one could say. 🙂 (Thank you, thank you. Hold your applause.)

Mike Murray asked me to assure you that Spotlight on Excellence will return in next month’s edition of Memo to Members to answer the question, “Why is Excellence important?” Please stay tuned!

Also, please click here to catch up on two other articles in this exciting new series.