by Rick V. Sanchez

STC Houston has always looked toward the future of technical communication. In recent months, I had the privilege of reviewing the content of our storage facility. After reviewing box after box, year after year of stored items, it became clear that the overwhelming theme of each administration dealt with the future of technical communication. This year, the organization collectively took its head out of the clouds and learned to appreciate what we have at the moment.

In truth, STC Houston has exceeded expectations on many levels. I am happy to report that while the economy has been in a severe recession, STC Houston has produced an exceptional award-winning year. The 2009−2010 competition had a large number of entries with an extensive cross-section of superior works of art and science. As a result of hard work and unending resourcefulness, technical communicators have found innovative solutions during shortfalls of corporate funding.

STC Houston sought corporate funding at every turn. The support of corporate sponsorship has, on the one hand, alleviated the financial strain of known expenditures, while on the other hand, produced future alliances to secure a sound network of contributing partners. When you visit, you will note the names of our corporate sponsors and paid advertisers.

Furthermore, STC Houston’s resourcefulness has been the cornerstone of our chapter. In fact, STC Houston has in the past escrowed much of its surpluses. This year, our parent organization sought out our surpluses and STC Houston helped “bail out” the national organization by remitting more than $12,000. Now, with the help of STC Houston, our parent organization is able to move forward and, again, concentrate on the future of the profession.

Of course, not every notable event was positive during this recession. In fact, there are extraordinary losses to report. STC Houston cut cost wherever possible, and, yet, we could not help sustain the volunteer effort at the Louisiana satellite, nor could we maintain a supportive College Station alliance. Additionally, we cut the costs of storage, the scholarship fund, and other outreach activities, which, in most cases, instead of money, required simply a consistent volunteer effort.

The efforts of volunteers are what keep this chapter alive and well. The closures of College Station and Louisiana are two examples of lack of volunteer support. Both satellites had great leadership, but they cited lack of volunteer commitment for closing down. So we now experience a loss that could have been prevented without an overwhelming need for funding. Do not let this happen to STC Houston.

Offer your support. Contact an administrative council member and sign up to do what volunteers do best—offer a helping hand. If you do not believe it, ask our newest volunteer, Jeff Staples, your current chief editor of this award-winning newsletter.

Rick, STC Houston President, is Project Information Manager for Mustang Engineering, LLC.

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