Comprehensive History of Florida Chapter: “Hot Off the Press!” to Blaze a New Trail

Three-Year Project Bears Fruit!

By: Mike Murray and Dan Voss
STC Fellows
Florida Chapter, STC

“Oh, What Have I Done?” For nearly 3 years, Chapter Historian Mike Murray has wrestled mano-à-mano with 43 years of documentation to set the stage for this year’s community effort to compile and publish a comprehensive history of the STC Florida Chapter. -Photos by Kay Murray

Three years ago, Chapter Historian and STC Fellow Mike Murray undertook a massive project to compile a comprehensive history of our STC Florida community from its inception in 1977 to the present.

Today, with the publication of this article, the project reaches fruition with the unveiling of the STC Florida Chapter History on our website.

For the first 2 years, Mike worked assiduously off to the side, compiling a growing database including chapter officers and committee chairs, community and individual STC accomplishments, and 40 documents written by chapter members over the years that still bear relevance to our chapter’s present and future operations.

Early this year, it became evident that completing the chapter history was no one-person task, so Mike’s fellow Fellows, Dan Voss, W.C. Wiese, and Karen Lane jumped in. In the end, it “took a village” to complete the project. Nearly the entire extended Administrative Council, as well as three former chapter presidents, divided and conquered what appeared to be a nearly insurmountable task of reconstructing the chapter’s 43-year history from Day 1 to present.

Mission Accomplished!

We believe you will be delighted to see how it all came out.

The newly posted STC Florida Chapter History has four major elements:

  • A narrative Introduction providing a decade-by-decade summary of major chapter milestones in our 43-year journey. This is the best place to begin your exploration of the STC Florida Chapter History.
  • A detailed Chronology organized by chapter year from 1976-1977 through 2019-2020 providing a wealth of data including chapter officers and committee chairs, major community milestones, successful accomplishments and innovative projects that have consistently made us a leading community in the Society, and honors captured by the community and its members over the years, at both the Society and the chapter level. Feel free to search the Chronology for key names and events in chapter history.
  • A topical Index of 40 past documents written by chapter members that can help us avoid reinventing wheels as the chapter moves forward. We encourage you to browse these at your leisure.
  • An archive of Looking Back, Looking Forward columns from Memo to Members examining key past documents and linking them to the chapter’s current and future initiatives. The third column in this series also appears in this edition of MtM.

Rather than turning this article into a “guided tour” of the chapter history, we invite you to explore it for yourself. In so doing, we encourage you to also draw upon the extensive 23-year archives of our chapter newsletter to fill in the colorful tapestry of our long and rich community history.

A special hats-off to former chapter webmaster Jon Kessler who put in countless hours reformatting decades of chapter newsletters for easy accessibility on our website. Not only were these archives instrumental in researching and compiling the chapter history, they are also the perfect complement to the history for those who want “the rest of the story.”

We conclude this article by recognizing the many chapter members, past and present, who have put in so many hours this year to complete the chapter history—our “village”!

Acknowledgments

STC Fellow Mike Murray, Chapter Historian: Mike launched the chapter history project in 2017 and compiled an extensive database which served as the springboard to compiling this chronology and the chapter history.

STC Fellows W.C. Wiese, Karen Lane, and Dan Voss: W.C. supplied at least half the information for chapter years 2000-2001 through 2019-2020 by mining his extensive personal records. Karen compiled a topical index of 40 past documents with relevance to current and future chapter operations and also did all the final editing and formatting for the chronology. Dan visited Society Headquarters in Fairfax, VA, to sift through paper records and reconstruct the early history of the chapter.

Bethany Aguad, former chapter president, now a director on the Society’s Board: Bethany provided invaluable assistance in posting the chapter history and its numerous ancillary documents to the chapter website to support a December 2019 launch.

Liz Pohland, STC chief executive officer; Elaine Gilliam, meeting manager and community relations; Erin Gallalee, membership services manager; and Kobla Fiagbedzi, IT manager: Liz and her staff graciously opened STC’s online and paper archives to us. Without their support, the STC Florida Chapter history would have been much less comprehensive.

STC Florida Administrative Council and former presidents: Members of the expanded AdCo and three former chapter presidents played a key role by each reviewing the newsletters and their personal records for 2-3 chapter years to fully populate the chronology. AdCo members also had other key roles such as newsletter coverage of the chapter history launch (Emily Wells); an in-depth summary of the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 chapter years (Nick Ducharme); and a review of our history in the Community Achievement Awards (CAA) competition (Crystal Brezina). The assisting former chapter presidents were Kelli Pharo, Gail Lippincott, and Dick Hughes. Another key player was STC Fellow Dan Jones, who provided vital information on the chapter’s early years.

Mining the Crypt. Society Chief Executive Officer Liz Pohland (left) allowed STC Florida chapter member Dan Voss to enter the “inner sanctum” of STC’s extensive paper documents to reconstruct the chapter’s early history. Liz and STC staff members Erin Gallalee, membership manager (top center), and Kobla Fiagbedzi (bottom center) made Dan feel welcome in his first visit to STC Headquarters. Without their gracious assistance, the chapter history could not have been completed. -Photos by Erin Gallalee and Liz Pohland

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