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A Profile of Larry Kunz
2016, Q2 (April 21, 2016)
Interview By Lindsay K. Saunders, Secretary and Newsletter Editor

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Larry Kunz
Who are you and what is your connection to STC?
I’m Larry Kunz. I’ve been a practicing technical writer in the Raleigh-Durham area since 1983, and I’ve been a member of the Carolina chapter the entire time. I’ve served in various leadership positions within the chapter and at the Society level, including having served as a member of the STC board of directors.

How did you come to build a relationship with STC?
I actually responded to one of those calls for volunteers in the chapter: I think my first volunteer role was as P.R. coordinator. Then, as happens with so many relationships, one thing led to another: newsletter editor, vice president, president…. Be careful: this is the sort of organization where the more you give to it, the more you want to give.

How do you fit into the activity and economic development for technical communication in the Carolinas? How do you see your work fitting in?
In addition to being a part of the Tech Comm community in the Triangle, I’m also an instructor in the Technical Communication certificate program at Duke University. I enjoy teaching the students how to do the work of a technical communicator, and I equally enjoy “spreading the gospel” about Tech Comm in general. Some of our students remain in their current career paths, but with a new and useful set of skills. Others switch careers and become working technical communicators, taking their places alongside us (and often becoming active in STC).

What sort of connections or benefits have you gained from being a board member, sponsor, or volunteer with STC?
Uh, oh. I could write pages and pages about this. I’ve met, and gotten to know, lots and lots of colleagues who’ve become good friends. By working on projects as an STC volunteer, I’ve learned and honed skills – like project management and proposal writing, to name just two – that I’ve been able to use in my paying jobs. Speaking of that, every paying job I’ve gotten since I left IBM in 2002 has been a direct result of the network I’ve built through being an STC volunteer. Hiring managers know me, they know my work, and I get word of job openings – all because of my involvement with STC.

When did you become affiliated with STC?
Roger Grice, a colleague with whom I’d worked at IBM in upstate New York, asked me to join him as a speaker on a panel at the STC Summit in 1983. (Roger was a great STC evangelist; he later served on the board of directors himself.) By virtue of registering for the conference, I was automatically enrolled as an STC member for that year. When the time came to renew my membership, I’d started attending Carolina chapter events and I was pretty much hooked on STC.

Where do you see overlap between the things you do and the industry?
As a teacher of Tech Comm, I’m engaged in both the academic side of the profession and the practitioners’ side. I’d like to see more interplay between those two segments: I think each one has a lot to offer the other.

Why do you see value in being a part of STC?
As I said in the “connections or benefits” question, I’ve met great friends who’ve enriched my life, I’ve developed skills, and I’ve found good jobs. Apart from all that, I think that being part of STC means being part of shaping our profession for today and for the future. STC, more than any other organization – corporate or nonprofit – has its finger on the pulse of our profession and has the ability to influence the direction it will take.

Care to share anything else?
We’re fortunate here in Raleigh-Durham to have access to a strong, vibrant STC chapter. Strong chapters don’t just happen: I’ve seen other chapters in other cities go gangbusters for a while and then taper off. Those that keep going at a high level, do so because of dedicated volunteers who work hard and who genuinely care about what they’re doing. The Carolina chapter is such a chapter, and I encourage everyone to become an active part of it.

Learn more about Larry and his work on his website, Leading Technical Communication.

Lindsay K. Saunders can be reached at lindsayksaunders at gmail dot com. Learn more about Lindsay and her work on her website. End of article.

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