Dave Gash is the owner of HyperTrain, a southern California firm specialising in technology consulting and training for hypertext developers, with an all-new web site at www.davegash.com.
A veteran software professional with over thirty years of development, documentation, and training experience, Dave holds degrees in Business and Computer Science, and is well known in the technical publishing community as an interesting and engaging technical instructor. Dave is a frequent speaker at User Assistance conferences in the US and around the world.
Dave is a programmer, writer, and musician whose passion for sci-fi goes back to the days of The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and Doctor Who – old and new. He loves all kinds of time-travel stories and movies, from the sublime to the ridiculous. A lifelong musician and performer, Dave is a versatile vocalist and guitarist, and regularly plays San Diego venues with local band Good Mojo.
His technical publications work currently involves the huge multi-company initiative www.webplatform.org. He has been a Senior Technical Writer at Google since 2012.
Margaret Hassall has been writing technical documents for many years, coming from a background in software development. She is interested in managing information so that it can be delivered via documents, web, eBooks, or tutorial videos. She was an early adopter of Flare when it emerged as a single sourcing tool that looked set to handle the explosion of information needs. She is an even earlier adopter of Word! More recently she has been dabbling in making videos and adding voice-over using as many free (or cheap) tools as she can find.
Dr Neil James
Dr Neil James is Executive Director of the Plain English Foundation in Australia, which combines plain English training, editing and evaluation with a campaign for more ethical public language. Neil worked in government, the media and publishing before completing a doctorate in English at the University of Sydney. He then established the Foundation with Dr Peta Spear in 2003. It has since trained more than 20,000 professionals and evaluated and edited thousands of documents.
Neil has published three books and over 90 articles and essays on language and literature. He is a regular speaker about language in the media throughout Australia. From 2008 to 2015, Neil chaired the International Plain Language Working Group and in 2015 became President of the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN).
For the last ten years, Grant has been a technical communicator for a highly successful New Zealand software house. In 2010 he changed from writing printed manuals and online help to creating videos to show users everything they needed to know about using RAMM (Road Assessment and Maintenance Management software). His first conference presentation, Video Killed the Redundant Writer (2010), offered a decision path for those considering using videos as help files. Quill to iPad (2012), was a case study of the creation of such a library. Loving the Alien (2014), urged technical communicators to embrace change. Creating Splendid Videos, a video-creation workflow with tips and tricks, was first presented to the ASTC conference in 2016 and at the NZ Conference of 2017.
Technical communication was not his first career choice. His first proper job was as a commercial fisherman off the East coast of Iceland. Although Grant is qualified to skipper fishing boats of up to 24m in length in NZ waters and to be First Mate on fishing vessels of any size anywhere in the world, he prefers to sit quietly in Rosedale creating videos to help anyone in Australasia to use the RAMM suite of software.
Sarah Maddox is a technical writer at Google in Sydney. With fifteen+ years’ experience in technical communication and ten as a software developer, she’s a dab hand at making words and code play nicely together. She has a strong belief that chocolate solves many a tech comm problem.
Grant arrived in Australia from Canada in 1984 for a one-year working holiday, and never left.
He worked as a support representative with various computer companies, including MAI, Burroughs, and Unisys. In 1995, in a “what the hell was I thinking” kind of moment, Grant quit his permanent job and took on a long-term contract with a team to develop the training material for a new banking system at Suncorp. Thus his career took off in a completely different direction of technical writing, training development, and training, working with organisations like Suncorp, Metway, Queensland Rail, Mallesons Stephens Jacques, ADC/Intec, and Tucana Technologies.
Grant joined RSA as a Senior Technical Writer in 2006 and is now a Principal Technical Content Developer.
Away from work, Grant is an avid cyclist and home brewer. He wants to extend his beer making skills to cheese making.
Sonja McShane will be known to many of you, not least because of her involvement as co-creator and lecturer in the Technical Communications course at Swinburne University.
Over her 25 years of experience, she has worn many hats: senior technical writer and editor, business documentation specialist, business analyst, copy editor and proofreader and team leader.
Her skill in analysing business needs has led her to becoming team leader on the project to implement the software that she describes in her presentation: The wonder of walkthroughs.
A broad understanding of the technical documentation industry led her to produce the Games Workforce Manual and Pocket Guide for the Asian Games with 24,000 copies printed and distributed to all volunteers in Doha, Qatar, 2006.
Sonja has been a member of ASTC (Vic) since 1993 and was the committee president for two years. She is also a member of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).
Swapnil has over 11 years of experience working as a Technical Writer in Australia, across a range of industries. As if being a tech writer in his day job is not enough, he also moonlights (literally, working some US hours) on remote technical writing projects, providing expertise on technical documentation and content.
A former ASTC committee member, Swapnil currently organises the Write the Docs meetups across Australia, runs the Melbourne Flare User Group quarterly and presents at technical meetups and conferences about his experiences as a technical writer.
With over 30 years of experience as a technical communicator, Tony has seen many documentation magic bullets come and go. For over 20 years, he has specialised in online help systems, computer-based training, and electronic documents.
In 1993, Tony founded HyperWrite, a company providing training and consultancy in structured authoring, Help systems, DITA, and technology strategy.
His presentations at conferences around the world have also made him a familiar name, and his company HyperWrite’s own AODC Conference ran for thirteen years.
Tony completed his PhD in semantic mark-up languages in 2011, and his book The DITA Style Guide was published in the same year. Tony is a member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee and chair of the DITA Help Subcommittee.
Rhonda started her freelance business in 1999, providing technical writing and editing services to companies of all sizes. Since 2008, she’s been the technical editor for a health, environment, and safety team on a $52b project for a global oil and gas company.
Rhonda has spoken at many conferences in Australia, NZ and the US, and has written thousands of technical communication articles for her blog CyberText Newsletter.