2002 Award Winners

Congratulations to APCC 2002 Award Winners

Consulting Success has the pleasure of announcing the 2002 APCC Awards recipients. The three categories of awards include: Honor Roll of Excellence in Communication for a client, Excellence in Writing, and Excellence in Training.

1. Honor Roll of Excellence in Communication (client award)
The recipient of the Honor Roll of Excellence in Communication award is the South Carolina Department of Education (SDE), nominated by Nancy Tuten. SDE committed resources for designing and implementing a new course in which all of its employees would participate. Thus Nancy’s project involved training over 500 employees in writing skills.

The agency’s commitment was reflected in several ways. Rather than applying a cookie-cutter approach to training, the agency paid a premium to have each offering of the course tailored for the people who would be attending that particular session. Toward this goal participants submitted as pre-work several of their letters or memos. From those samples Nancy chose sentences and paragraphs to use as material for the training packet, allowing for individual classes to be customized.

Also impressive is that State Superintendent of Education Inez M. Tenenbaum attended the first full-day offering of Nancy’s course. She participated so that others would understand the depth of her commitment to improving written communication.

Tenenbaum also allocated resources to ongoing, one-on-one training: she contracted with a professional editor who holds a doctorate in English and who continues today to review all major documents produced by the agency. Working closely with each employee who has produced such a document, the editor reinforces principles of good writing and ensures consistency and professionalism in all SDE documents.

In yet another attempt to encourage better writing, the Director of SDE Internal Staff Development distributes Nancy’s e-zine with writing tips to all agency employees.

As further evidence of the SDE’s commitment to writing excellence, Tenenbaum provided the resources to produce an SDE in-house style manual. The manual was written largely by the SDE’s editor, whose firsthand experience with staff writing gave her insight into the agency’s writing issues.

Nancy’s training initiative, along with that of a dedicated State Superintendent of Education, made the SDE a perfect recipient for the APCC Excellence in Communication award.

2. Excellence in Writing (member award)
In 2002, APCC awarded two Excellence in Writing awards.

One of these goes to Lynn Hanson of Florence, S.C. Lynn acted as a writing and organizational consultant for a law firm of three attorneys who were adding personnel. Lynn worked with the firm on clarifying job descriptions and documenting processes for developing four types of cases: personal injury, social security, workers’ compensation, and criminal. The result is a manual of internal processes and position descriptions.

One challenge of the writing project was to avoid developing a policy manual that might limit options and creativity. The attorneys wanted the guidelines to be strong enough to encourage consistent quality in developing cases but flexible enough to allow for differences in work style. Lynn’s meetings to gather information also proved to be a challenge as far as gathering important details of the case process and negotiating consensus among the three attorneys.

Lynn’s final writing product reflects her success in overcoming the consulting challenges of her project.

The other winner of the Excellence in Writing is Carol Elkins of Pueblo, CO. Her client for this project was an architecture firm, specializing in the design of control buildings for the petrochemical industry. Her client was particularly interesting in that it is developing design standards for the petrochemical industry. Carol’s client is also frequently asked to submit abstracts and technical papers on the role that design plays in helping plants avoid disasters. Carol was hired to ghostwrite for the firm.

The result was six articles describing different aspects of control room design from an architectural perspective. Carol asks you to think of the movie “Apollo 13” if you are unfamiliar with a control room. In the movie, NASA employees watch overhead screens that monitor data received from the mission.

According to Carol, her two major challenges were these: (1) she didn’t know the first thing about architecture or any of the technology associated with control rooms and (2) her subject matter experts were unable at times to convey to her the kind of information she needed to write the papers. The latter challenge was at times political as well as informational.

The suite of six documents is being published in two industry publications: “Hydrocarbon Processing Magazine” and “Chemical Engineering Progress.” These documents should be instrumental in changing the way large corporations design their control rooms, resulting in increased safety, improved ergonomics, and high profits.

3. Excellence in Training (member award)
We are pleased to announce that the two Elizabeth Fricks, who collaborated on a quality training program, have won the Excellence in Training award. They submitted a practical, comprehensive, and creative training workbook. The workbook, entitled “Better Business and Technical Writing,” stands out for its ease of use as a reference after completion of the training. Clients of the Fricks’ that have used this workbook include: Guidant, Medtronic, Ceridian, 3M, Best Buy, and Marathon Oil.

The two Fricks, one of St. Louis, MO, and the other of St. Paul, MN, having taught at the college level, like to focus on bringing the best in academic theory about writing instruction into the business setting.

In recognition of their dedication to clear communication,
APCC sends kudos to all of its winners for 2002.

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