By: Payton Ritchey
Candidate for MA in English Literature at Villanova, 2016
This is Part 2 of Payton Ritchey’s interview with the STC-PMC’s award winners. Make sure to check out Part 1 featuring Steve Adler.
The Distinguished Chapter Service Awards were presented to members Steve Adler and Timothy Esposito for their years of service to the STC-PMC.
Tell me about your work background. How did you get into technical communications?
Timothy: My first job out of school was working in technical support for computer software. I discovered that I had a knack for documenting things and writing instructions, so I started writing the training materials. I decided it would be better to guide the way software was going instead of de-bugging it as the problems occurred. So I got into development and just went from there.
What got you interested in technical communications?
Timothy: I thought it was a better way to assist people than just solving problems that could have been prevented from the onset. I was answering phone calls from angry clients all the time, and I figured that if they had better instructions, I wouldn’t be getting these phone calls.
How did you first become involved in STC?
Timothy: My first manager was involved with STC before I knew of it. So we went to some of the PMC meetings together. The PMC president at the time didn’t want to be president anymore, so he convinced me to run. I’d been a member for five months, so okay. Another member ran against me and she won, which is just as well because she actually knew what she was doing. So she asked me to run a scholarship program, and then I ran for treasurer. I’ve been treasurer for the past five years.
What do your normal chapter activities involve?
Timothy: As treasurer, I balanced the checkbook for the chapter. I made all the payments for the meetings. For the society, I had to present a bank statement and fill out a tax form every spring. The tax form consists of: Did you make $50,000? No? Ok.
What is most rewarding about volunteering for STC?
Timothy: Meeting new people to work with and making things work well. It’s fun to see how people are doing things in other parts of the country and to bring a team of people together to make everyone more successful.
Has being involved in STC changed the way you perceive technical communications in any way?
Timothy: I never really thought about that aspect. A lot of people have jobs doing many different things. I write stuff that’s printed online only. Some people do medical writing, some people do computers, some do pharmaceuticals…
What are your thoughts on the growth and importance of technical communications?
Timothy: STC can help guide people to make the job more standardized, so there’s a specific set of values people will learn to use and promote in order to improve the value of their work. You can also learn different techniques and styles through fellow members at STC, and if that’s uniform, it can make everything more efficient and user-friendly in the long term.
Do you have any advice for others looking to get involved?
Timothy: I think you really get the best experience out of any organization when you get involved in it. Just going as a passive participant is not nearly as rewarding as being active in it. Just like in college, you can either go to an event, or you can help run it. Whether it’s a school dance, or a party, or a sporting event… you can be a member or a leader, and it’s always better to be a leader. So find something that you like and you’re good at, and volunteer. You’ll get better, and be better.