History of the CIC SIG

Overview | History Highlights | Chronology of CIC SIG Managers & Editors

An Overview of Our Humble Beginnings

According to Chris Juillet, the founder of the CIC SIG, the Consulting and Independent Contracting SIG (then, Professional Interest Committee, or PIC) wasn’t the first such group; several PICs were started in the mid 1980’s, including Writing and Editing, Graphics, and Information Systems. But the C&IC PIC was the first of the PICs to be started as a result of a “popular movement” among STC’s members.

Chris expounds on this distinction:

In those days, the ranks of self-employed, independent consultant technical communicator were small, but growing rapidly. The purpose of starting the C&IC PIC was to provide a nexus for STC’s self-employed members to begin to work together, to help each other. A secondary goal was to provide a way to help STC and its leaders to begin to understand more about the specific interests and professional needs of this growing segment of the STC membership. Looking back at what the group has accomplished over the past 14 years, I believe that purpose has been well-served.

The Consulting and Independent Contracting Professional Interest Committee (C&IC PIC) was chartered by the STC board of Directors in January of 1989, with Chris Juillet as founding manager. Initial membership was about 135 STC members who had indicated an interest in forming such a group at a meeting held at the 36th STC annual conference in Chicago in May of 1988. Chris Juillet’s article announcing the SIG (including a list of regional contacts) appeared in the April 1989 Intercom.

Even before the PIC was founded, Chris Juillet was providing valuable information to other STC members. Ann Wiley, a long-time STC member, reminisces about the “early days”:

Before founding the Consulting and Independent Contracting PIC, Chris regularly sent feature articles by US mail to all the newsletter editors for use in chapter newsletters. As I recall these were on consulting and independent contracting and other topics. We re-typed these to use them, and most of the editors used them. The articles were excellent. Many STC members are very generous with their time and talent, but no one more so than Chris Juillet.

Ann is the founder of the Quality SIG, and editor and list manager for the International Technical Communication SIG.

In the spring of 1990, the PIC published the first issue of The Independent Perspective. Chris served as the first editor; then turned this job over to Charley McWha. She remained as editor for the next two years. During the last of the three years that Chris managed the PIC, Charley also took on the role of Assistant PIC Manager.

Chris eventually left the PIC manager job to become STC’s first Assistant to the President for PICs, and Charley took over as C&IC PIC manager, serving in that capacity for three years and recruiting Susan Witter to become newsletter editor. At this point, Chris’ memory becomes a bit foggy — he is not certain whether Susan Witter took on the PIC manager’s job for a year or so, or if that went directly to Karen Steele. After Karen came Tommy Barker as manager (1998-2004) and most recently, Linda Gallagher who stepped up alongside Tommy as co-manager. In 2004, Linda Gallagher took over as solo manager.

The C&IC PIC started with about 135 members in 1989, growing to more than 1300 within three years and to more than 2400 within three more. Along the way, the STC board changed PICs to special interest committees (SIGs), eventually discarded the AP for SIGs role and moved responsibility for SIGs to the STC office. Since the institution of a nominal charge for SIG membership, the program has continued to grow. Many chapters have now local consulting and contracting SIGs.

Highlights of Our History

The CIC SIG has continuously published a newsletter since 1990. Back issues of The Independent Perspective are available all the way back to Vol. 1, Issue 1 in January of 1990 (thanks, Tommy Barker!), available on our Newsletter Page. Back then it was called the “Newsletter of the Consulting and Independent Contracting Professional Interest Committee.” Tommy says, “There’s a wealth of great information in these documents.”

In addition, the PIC sponsored at least four C&IC PIC conferences in conjunction with the East Tennessee Chapter’s Practical Conference on Communication (PCOC), and published “Marketing Yourself as an Independently-Employed Professional” and the “Consulting and Independent Contracting Anthology,” two collections of articles and presentations on consulting and contracting that became solid sellers in the STC publications program. According to Tommy, the first such anthology was done in 1991, by Tom Underwood.

In 1992, the PIC also conducted a business practice survey to help better define how consultants and contractors ran their practices. The PIC also conducted several salary surveys in the 90s (these surveys were later taken over by the international organization).

Chris Juillet sums up the success of the CIC SIG (and, for that matter, all of STC’s special interest committees) by calling them

the “heart and soul” of our Society. They provide a means for members to gather–locally, at regional and annual conferences, or online–to discuss issues of import in a specific area of the vast field that is technical communication. They are, in effect, STC’s “big tent,” allowing members to ask for help, share experience and expertise, get started, and hone skills. If not the best part of STC, they certainly are “one” of the best parts.

Chronology of CIC SIG Managers & Editors

CIC SIG Managers

1990-1992 Christopher Juillet
1992-1994 Charley McWha
Rob Reynolds – Membership Manager (1992)
1994-1998 Karen Steele
1998-2004 Dr. Thomas Baker
2002- ??? Linda G. Gallagher

CIC SIG Webmasters

??? – Nov. 2002 ???
Nov. 2002 – ??? Jodie Gilmore
Feb. 2013–Nov. 2013 Jeff Staples
Nov. 2013–present Andrea Brennan

Independent Perspective Newsletter Staff

1990 Christopher Juillet – Editor
1991-1992 Charley McWha – Editor
Kevin Sunderman – Copyeditor
Susan Witter – Layout Designer
Hugh Templeton – Production Coordinator
1992-1998 Susan Witter – Managing Editor
Kevin Sunderman – Copyeditor
Susan Witter, Cal Callahan, Marilyn Heinzel, James Oldham – Layout Designer/Editor
Chris Juillet, Jo Byrd – Production Coordinator
1998-2001 Kelly Burch – Managing Editor
Linda Bell, Margaret Doss – Associate Editor
Hugh Hay-Roe, Doris Rash Konneh – Copyeditor
Jo Byrd – Production Coordinator
2001-2002 Margaret Doss – Managing Editor
Kelly Burch – Associate Editor
2003-2004 Robin Jackson – Managing Editor