W&A Monthly Newsletter, March 2018: Employee Profile – James Denham
James graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, a minor in genetics, and nearly a second minor in biochemistry. His strong affinity for scientific ventures would naturally lead to a career in the subject.
James began his professional career working as a technologist in a cytogenetics laboratory for the Baylor College of Medicine. This type of clinical laboratory specialized in diagnosing genetic abnormalities by analyzing the structure of a patient’s chromosomes. James’s role involved all steps of the sample setup and analysis processes. The laboratory position required attention to fine details and strict adherence to procedures. James was also tasked with updating the lab’s written procedures to align with advances in technology. This was his first taste of Technical Writing. Although his duties focused more on his role as a cytogenetic technologist, James was surprised at how much he enjoyed developing new documentation for the laboratory. The directors of the laboratory noticed this inclination, and started allowing him to assist them with writing scientific papers for their independent research projects.
After four years working for the Baylor College of Medicine, James found his love waning for laboratory work and his interest in writing increasing. Around the same time, Wilson & Associates was looking for candidates to support a client at a chemical plant, an industry outside of their normal oil and gas industry. Confident that James’s knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry would aid in their new endeavor, Wilson & Associates offered James the opportunity to work for them as a Technical Writer at DuPont. James’s background in the sciences, strong problem solving abilities, and his ability to communicate with a wide array of personnel resulted in a success story.
At DuPont, James was tasked with writing maintenance procedures for the Crop Protection Units. These procedures encompassed everything from the removal and reinstallation of one unit’s six-ton centrifuge to proper removal, security, and disposal of the silver catalyst from one of the converters. Development of these procedures involved shadowing mechanics as they performed various tasks, documenting the job with notes and pictures, and then creating a written draft of the given process that the mechanics performed. Personnel from all levels of the organization, including mechanics, first line supervisors, engineers, and maintenance managers would then review and sign off on the draft before the finished maintenance procedure was published for general use. This is where the communication aspect of Technical Writing became key.
James’s responsibilities grew to include creating reference guides for new tools, aiding the training group with mechanic skills qualifications, and providing Microsoft Office support for the entire site. In May of 2016, Wilson and Associates felt that James had sufficient experience with Technical Writing and moved him to BP. James became the Account Manager for DuPont and oversees the work done by Wilson & Associates Technical Writers working there.
James presently supports BP by assisting the Requirements Management and Process Safety teams in the Global Wells Organization with the development and publication of requirements documents.
James has always been a proponent for self-development and continued learning, especially when such studies could help to further expand his career-related skills. After becoming interested in project management and how its techniques could be used in document development, James passed the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam. He continues to use knowledge learned from his studies to plan and deliver effective documents.
Although he has come a long way from his early career in the laboratory, the knowledge that James developed throughout his studies and career, along with his logical thinking, attention to detail, and wide range of communication abilities, have allowed James to move seamlessly between client operations and Technical Writing – a facet of Wilson & Associates Technical Writers / Editors that enables them to exceed client expectations.
By: John Wilson
My wife has Frontotemporal Dementia with an emphasis on language. Her vocabulary is steadily decreasing. It has gotten to the point that most of our communication involves her repeating a few phrases couched within sentence structures that sound perfectly normal. To see them written down, however, there would be no way to understand what she is telling me.
Fortunately, there is context. I know what she expects to happen at certain times of the day and week, and when she starts talking and pointing, I know what she would like to see happen. Even when it involves more complicated ideas, I can decipher her meaning just by having her take me to the area under discussion and pointing. There is also the voice; I can tell if she’s asking a question, making a statement, or reminding me of something. Yesterday, we had just such a conversation; I had no idea what she wanted until we went to the back porch and she pointed at a little tree growing the garden. I knew she wanted it removed.
This experience has re-enforced something I’ve always believed. Email is a lousy communication tool in business because it has replaced face-to-face communication. It strips all context from the conversation. There is no human face to read and no voice to hear. I have encountered countless examples over the years of endless emails exchanges that took days to conclude that could have been foreshortened by either a phone call or a face-to-face meeting.
This is particularly true when the email is viewed as unpleasant. Everyone has seen someone rip out a reply to an email that made you wonder, what got into him/her? A lot of this could be avoided if the writer of the first email had talked with the party in question and sent out a summary, and conversely, if the person replying had gone and talked to the writer of the initial email to figure out what they intended. This is always a great idea because none of us are mind readers, and divining people’s intentions is a recipe for disaster.
Thank you to all the people that visited our booth at the 2018 International Conference on Gas, Oil & Petroleum Engineering (GOPE) and 2018 Gulf Coast Women in Leadership Symposium last month. It was a great experience for us. We enjoyed meeting so many new people and appreciate the opportunity to discuss how reducing Office NPT (non-productive time) and our new service Quickturn™ apply to not only the energy industry, but beyond. Thanks for making us feel so welcome and we look forward to speaking with you again soon.
QuickTurn™ is the perfect tool for those times when MS Word has gone crazy and your deadline is approaching, or you need someone to look over a paper and there’s no one on staff available to lend a hand. Even if it’s last minute or a you have a month, we’ve got the people who can help save the day. We’ll tweak reports in Word, presentations in PowerPoint, and spreadsheets in Excel.
Our staff of editors is ready and able to do everything from a light edit to assisting with a complete re-write. We can put photos into big documents, create indexes on the fly, and just generally make your life easier. Sometimes all you need is a second pair of eyes to make sure you’ve dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s.
So, give us a call and let us tell you how we can help lighten the load without burdening the budget.
- Proof-reading: Review and markup the document for spelling, punctuation, and formatting.
- Copy editing: Review the document for style, sense, and organization. Includes proof-reading.
- Review and revise: Review your current process and suggest possible changes
SharePoint / Office 365:
- Review and revise: Review a current installation for consistency and ease of use
- Training, tips & tricks
- Data migration
Call or email us for competitive pricing. You can also contact us via our website at www.OfficeNPT.com