The Society for Technical Communication (STC) inaugurated Alan Houser as its 52nd president at its Annual Meeting on May 21, 2012 in Chicago. The following is the transcript of his remarks to the membership.
I’m honored to come to you as the 52nd President of the Society for Technical Communication. I’m humbled by the presence and memory of those who came before me. I promise to do my best to support my team: the 2012-2013 STC Board of Directors, as we guide the strategic direction of the Society and fulfill its mission: to support and promote the profession of technical communication.
I would like to acknowledge the STC Staff, who support us in so many ways. Our CEO, Kathryn Burton, has assembled a wonderful team. It’s been a privilege to work with the staff during my years as an STC volunteer and my year as Society Vice President. The staff are dedicated, knowledgeable, eager to please, and…human. They learn from their mistakes, and are always striving to serve us better.
Why are we here? Why do we participate in an association for the promotion and advancement of technical communication? Anybody who has served on an STC committee, run for STC office, presented at an STC conference, or participated in an STC community knows the answer — the STC provides a context in which we can do more than we can as individuals. A context in which we can participate at a higher level, all in the service and support of our profession. And, in the process, have enriching experiences that help us to grow as individuals.
We sometimes forget that technical communicators offer one of the most sought-after skills — the ability to communicate clearly, succinctly, and effectively. Regardless of the hot tool, methodology, or approach of the day, this distinguishes us as a profession — our ability to explain the complex; to make the complex accessible; and to empower people to use products and services efficiently, effectively, and safely.
We sometimes forget that technical communicators play an essential role in modern life. We support the pilots who land our airplanes and the mechanics who maintain them. We support doctors who operate complex equipment. We’re present in every human interaction with a product or service, policy or procedure. Every new invention of our time; every technology genius of our era, got a start when somebody read the documentation.
What’s next for STC? I want STC to continue to provide a context for excellence. A context in which we can all work together to support, promote, and improve the profession. A context in which we can learn from and support each other. A context in which we can promote excellence in what we do, and promote the importance and value of our contributions. A context in which members, and the profession, can play a bigger game.
Now is the most exciting time in the history of the profession to be a technical communicator. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Let’s be out there. Let’s play.