Our history

The chapter’s history dates to 1979, before some of our current members were born!
Some highlights:

1979 Technical writer Jon Nightingale, sifting through the 1979 STC international membership directory, contacts the nine members living in Vancouver and two living in Victoria to propose that they establish a local group.

Encouraged by their enthusiastic response, Jon corresponds with STC headquarters in Washington, D.C. and in August, the group, too small to be called a chapter, officially becomes a “branch.”

1983 Thanks to the combined efforts of founding members Diane Forsyth, Pat Lawson, John Sprung, Kathy Sayers, Will Wheeler, Duncan Kent, Jon Nightingale, and Lorraine Metcalf, membership grows to 17.
1984 The group is granted chapter status.

Our newsletter, edited by Angela Runnals and Trish MacVey, wins an Award of Achievement in the international competition.

1985 At the time, one of the high points of our chapter’s history — we receive the STC’s Chapter Achievement Award, one of many awards for our services to the local and international technical writing community.
1991 The chapter name is changed from Canadian Pacific chapter to Canada West Coast chapter.
2001 Vancouver scientist, broadcaster, and activist David Suzuki is made an Honorary Fellow of STC. The rank of Honorary Fellow is conferred on someone who is not a Society member but has achieved eminence in the field of technical communication or has performed a significant service for the Society. Other Honorary Fellows include Alan Alda, Edward Tufte, Vinton Cerf, and Stephen Jay Gould.
2001 The chapter hosts a career night for technical writers. Attendees “table-hopped” between moderated discussion groups on topics such as “What are employers looking for?”
2002 The chapter organizes and hosts the STC Region 7 conference, with attendees and speakers from the western United States and Canada.
2005 The chapter’s Consultants and Independent Contractors Group hosts a lively panel discussion on creating and presenting portfolio samples, and evaluates and critiques portfolio pieces brought by the audience, all at no cost.
2009 The chapter organizes a pecha kucha event, in which speakers present 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds. It’s a great way for multiple speakers to share information about a current project, technique, dilemma, or idea, and to stimulate lively informal discussion.
2011 The chapter introduces an information interview service that matches people who want to learn more about a career in technical writing with senior writers who can answer their questions. Other chapters liked the idea and adopted it.
2012 The chapter wins a Community Pacesetter Award for its information interview service.
2017 Several members of the chapter executive are invited to speak at a BC Institute of Technology event about the challenges of communicating in a complex world.
2017 The chapter collaborates with the Toronto chapter to create and distribute a 10-question salary survey that goes out to all members in mid-November. More than half of the Canada West Coast chapter members respond. 
2017 The chapter elects its first president who lives outside the Lower Mainland, putting a greater focus on access to chapter services for all members and adding a record number of online board meetings and webinars to our usual face-to-face meetings.

See In the beginning for more on the early history of the chapter.


Past Chapter Presidents

STC CWC would like to thank all Past Presidents for their service to the chapter’s members and contribution to the advancement of technical communication.

2016/17: Stephen Gauer
2015/16: Mala Rupnarain
2014/15: Autumn Jonssen
2013/14: Aaron Fultz
2012/13: Mellissa Ruryk
2011/12: Pam Drucker
2010/11: Catherine Kerr
2009/10: Eagranie Yuh
2008/09: Karen Rempel
2007/08: Theresa Putkey
2006/07: Odile Morrison
2005/06: Tamara Chapman
2004/05: Susan Patch
2003/04: Sharon Twiss
2002/03: Anne Odell
2001/02: Jerome Ryckborst
2000/01: Chris Rose
1999/00: Lara Spence
1998/99: Heather Sommerville
1997/98: Rahel Bailie
1996/97: Rahel Bailie
1995/96: Sheila Jones
1994/95: Michele Jeannotte
1993/94: Michele Jeannotte
1992/93: Diane Forsyth
1991/92: Debra Hamilton
1990/91: Roberta Sheng-Taylor
1989/90: Roberta Sheng-Taylor
1988/89: John Sprung
1987/88: Dixie Stockmayer
1986/87: Duncan Kent
1985/86: Pat Lawson
1984/85: Lorraine Metcalf