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Technology & Communications

Understanding, Managing, Communicating

To work in the field of technical communications you don’t have to be as prescient as Arthur C. Clarke was, when in 1945 he proposed the network of geostationary communications satellites we have today. Lucky for us. We’re not all driving air-cars, are we? No room-temperature fusion, no holodeck, and our world is not like that of Neuromancer or Snow Crash… yet. As Niels Bohr said, “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”

But to be a successful communicator you do have to keep up, to stay abreast of technological developments and societal trends, to be aware of many and competent in at least some. I have, and I am. Some examples are below.

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COMMUNICATING TECHNOLOGY

  • Owner / Operator, DSF Web Design & TechcomWiz, Peterborough, Ontario, 2010 – 2013. Technical communications & training, content creation and management, website development, SEO, webmastering. Specializing in science, technology and the environment.
  • Senior Developer, Technical Training and Help Systems (Contract), Oculus Info Inc., Toronto, Ontario, 2006 – 07. Developed all help documentation, user support materials, interactive tutorials, and courseware for two netcentric 3-D visualization tools for complex data sets. The primary project was the Command Post of the Future (CPOF), which transitioned from a DARPA technology demonstration project to a U.S. Army Program of Record on my watch.
  • Adjunct Professor, Communications, Sir Sandford Fleming College, Peterborough, Ontario, 2007. Taught three sections of Business Communications and two of Technical Communications.
  • Director of Training, Leitch Technology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,  2001 – 2005. Leitch developed products for the global television industry, and their clients included CBC, BBC, NBC, ABC and Time-Warner. I built the training department from the ground up, and produced technical training programs and materials for sales personnel, dealers, instructors and end users.
  • Director of Communications, Digital Processing Systems (DPS), Markham, Ontario, 1999 – 2001. Oversaw all corporate communications: technical, marketing, training, and public relations. Conceived, produced and edited DPS’s first venture into the educational market – textbook, tape and two CDs – which was an immediate success, with sales worldwide and a strong market impact.
  • Manager, Technical Communications, DPS, 1995 – 97. In charge of the creation of all user documentation for the full line of DPS desktop video, broadcast studio, and security products. Created interactive help files for desktop video products.
  • Department Head, 552nd Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Technical Training Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, 1987 – 92. Directed a staff of thirty-two instructors in four disciplines; wrote and edited courseware and technical manuals; supervised civilian contractors and staff. Personally taught systems managers in the classroom, in computerized simulation, and in flight; rated “Exceptionally Qualified” during evaluations of instruction — the highest possible rating.

MANAGING TECHNOLOGY

  • President & Chief Operating Officer, Supero LLC, 2012 – 2013. The founders of Supero have multiple national and international patents covering their unique aeronautical designs, with the potential to transform the business of flying. Our initial target market was that of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). I managed their transition from a garage workshop to a 5500 square foot production facility, and participated in successful delegations to the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command, NASA / Langley, and AUVSI’s annual unmanned systems show.
  • As Group Manager, Technical Services, for Digital Processing Systems (DPS) from 1997 – 99, ran quality assurance (QA) and technical communications. Supervised the testing of all DPS desktop video products from initial software and hardware versions to final product release; produced all technical and training documentation; was a founding member of DPS “Best Practices” group; helped improve the product development process from initial concept through to shipping.
  • Senior partner and general manager of “The Event Horizon”, a computer sales and service store specializing in videography, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1992 – 93; installed and operated the video editing suite.
  • As Mission Crew Commander, in charge of a $200-million Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft and crew of 25-30 for classified worldwide missions, from north of the Arctic Circle to the middle-eastern desert, 1986 – 92. Crews won performance awards.
  • Chief Executive Officer (USAF Commander) of a 100-man joint-service military unit in an isolated location of the Republic of Korea (ROK), 1985 – 86. Integrated air defense radar operations, communications, logistics, maintenance, housing, food service and transportation. Commended by the American military for cost savings, by the ROK air defense chief for “the best operations teams in Korea,” and by the President of the Provincial Social Welfare Council for “outstanding contributions to the welfare of Korean orphans.”
  • Chief of training for a new computerized radar system, the Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC), Rome, New York, 1983 – 85. We developed all new materials, including a computer-based training (CBT) system, and helped bring the system from test and evaluation to full operations – on schedule.
  • Chief, Tactical Evaluation Branch, Fifth Allied Tactical Air Force (5ATAF), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Vicenza, Italy, 1980 – 83. Exercised and evaluated the personnel, procedures and operations of computerized air defense units throughout Italy and in France and Germany; evaluated Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) and airbase defense operations at NATO airbases throughout Italy.
  • Computer programmer and systems analyst for the first large-scale computerized ground radar system in North America, Corvallis, Oregon, 1966 – 68; developed and ran live and simulated exercises involving hundreds of aircraft.

UNDERSTANDING TECHNOLOGY

  • HTML, Dreamweaver, E-Biz courses, 2009; Advanced HTML, Advanced Dreamweaver, Flash courses, 2010. Certificate in web design, April 2010.
  • Advanced Photoshop courses, 2005; Macromedia Director course, 2003; Advanced Instructional Design course, 2002.
  • Experienced user of FrameMaker, Author-it, RoboHelp, RoboDemo/Captivate, Camtasia, Snagit, Photoshop, Lightroom, Acrobat, OpenOffice and Windows Office suites – as well as many other tools which will never again see the light of day.
  • Completed Broadcast Production for Television, two-year program, Rose State College, Oklahoma, 1992 – 93. Functioned in all production positions; edited on both analog and digital systems. Dean’s Honor Roll.
  • Many years of experience as a photographer and videographer: film, tape, digital. My photo production progressed from the darkroom to Photoshop, my cameras from 35mm SLR to DSLR. My video editing has gone from physically cutting tape to a variety of software packages, while my video cameras have run the spectrum from the Sony Betacam to Hi-8, mini-DV to HD.
  • Computer experience ranges from mainframes to netbooks to the cloud, Apple to IBM to WinTel to open source. Taught computer science at the undergraduate level.
  • Highly experienced in military simulation technology: land-based and airborne air defense; fixed-wing aircrew training; helicopter training; Army air-land battle; Navy air-air interoperability.
  • Graduated second-in-class from U.S. Air Force programmer training, 1966. On-the-job computer programmer training with Systems Development Corporation (UNISYS), 1967.

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“There are 10 kinds of people in the world:
those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”

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