Today, the STC Atlanta Chapter includes more than 500 professionals in the technical writing field. In the year 2000, the STC Atlanta Chapter celebrated 20 years of membership growth and the achievements of its individual members and the Chapter as a whole.
To capture our history, we searched for people who were there in the Chapter’s early years. We did not have to look very far. Bob Hays, Martha Chambliss, and Gerry Cohen shared what they remember about the STC Atlanta Chapter and some memorable moments as technical communicators.
The history of our Chapter begins prior to our 20-year mark. According to Bob Hays, one of the Chapter’s organizers, as few as three people in the field met at Volt Engineering, a company sponsor. Prior to organizing the STC Atlanta Chapter, some of our members belonged to the Society of Technical Writers and Publishers (STWP). STWP had an occasional speaker, but mostly, the attendees discussed how to increase the membership. Eventually, the STC Atlanta Chapter was formally organized in 1980. Some of the participants who signed the Chapter petition remain active members today.
The STC Atlanta Chapter began meeting at the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) facilities. By that time, the monthly attendance had grown to 10-20 attendees per meeting. The format differed from today’s meetings. Imagine, the group was small enough to sit around a conference table and discuss issues relating to the field with an emphasis on technical writing skills. The meetings were informal and there was usually a speaker. In the early days of STC the national society had so few members that most knew each other at least by mail or phone. The Chapter met at TAPPI from 1979 to mid 1985. The organization moved its meeting site to the MSA facilities and met there until approximately 1992. From there, the Chapter moved to various meeting sites to where we are today: the Marriott at Perimeter. According to Martha Chambliss, a society member since 1959, the Chapter has seen phenomenal growth and change. The quality of the membership is high. Members have broad and diverse backgrounds with computers now influencing the writers’ primary occupations. In 1980 technical communicators in the computer and software industries focused on print documentation, now the focus is on online help and the Web.
The focus of the STC Atlanta Chapter has not changed: the advancement of quality technical writing. This, according to Gerry Cohen, is why he joined STC in 1974. He had professional objectives and the STC Atlanta Chapter met his needs, just as the Chapter does for many professionals in the field today. Like many in the field, Gerry also saw a transition. In the ’70s he used a Selectric typewriter, which was later computerized. Now we are using word processors. There are a number of persons who are a part of the Chapter’s history and whose involvement helped to make the Chapter a success in meeting the membership’s goals.
The following is a list of Chapter members who signed the petition to organize the STC Atlanta Chapter. We apologize if we have omitted anyone who was a part of this special moment. If we did, let us know.
|Marion A. Bucko||Mark R. Luttrell||Leara Rhodes|
|Gerald Cohen||Cecelia C. Maher||William N. Rogers|
|Doris Engerrand||Dan Miller||Maxine T. Turner|
|Mary G. Greeman||Larry Newberry||Jean Voyles|
|Sonya Jones||Fred H. Parker||David M. Webb|
|1980-1981||David C. Leonard|
|1983-1984||David T. Orr|
|1984-1985||Deborah E. Young|
|1985-1986||David J. Collier|
|1988-1989||Kathryn E. Duggleby|
|1989-1990||Patricia J. Bishop|
|1992-1993||David C. Leonard|
|1993-1996||Steven D. Knapp|
|1996-1997||Julian F. Hacker|
|1997-1998||Jeffrey J. Haas|
|1998-1999||Kenneth T. Rainey|
|2015-2016||Margaret Spell / Howard Speck|