Gary L. Mussell
Call (805) 523-7830
Email: garym@vcnet.com

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Although I have spent much of my adult life as a technical trainer, most of the time I have earned my living as a corporate writer. I have written my entire life, from short stories and company newsletters, to technical manuals and feature magazine articles. I enjoyed the challenge of designing training materials for use in different countries and cultures that learn quite differently from one another. I find writing and training others to be a joy. Samples of some of my work is displayed below. I am available on a contract basis or full-time to provide these services to you.

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TECHNICAL WRITING
VIDEO SCRIPTING
AUTHOR AND SOFTWARE PUBLISHER
MAGAZINES AND PERIODICALS
COMPANY NEWSLETTERS
WEB SITES
PROMOTIONAL BROCHURES AND BUSINESS CARDS

Technical Writing

For the courses I have taught, I have written literally hundreds of training manuals and student workbooks over the years. But I have also written much longer manuals and books targeted for specific audiences.

While at CMS Software Systems I not only helped design some of the user screens and processes, I also wrote all the training material including the 200-page main manual. A few years later, Insure Data Technologies hired me to write their manuals and training materials.

Fast forward to 1999 at Xircom, I wrote several 200-page training manuals for their Customer Support conversion to Clarify. A year later, I did the same when Sales and Marketing converted to a new client management systems from Siebel and Oracle, and when the entire company converted its document library from Agile to Lifelink. The extra challenge here was to create several different versions of the books, revised so they could be followed by employees from different countries with different learning cultures, both in Europe and on the Pacific Rim. My project included writing scripts for interactive videos and CBT (computer-based training) so employees could reference the material on-line.

In 2004, at Quality Logic, I wrote the final report at the conclusion of the 18-month project testing and comparing different brands of ink jet cartridges against each other. This included not only about 300 pages of text, but also photos, comparative charts and graphs, spreadsheets, and tables.




Video Scripting - "Starring Gary Mussell"

In the mid-1990's I was asked by Mutual Benefit Life in New Jersey to script a training video for their agents on how to use CMS database software in their insurance practices. MBL then asked me to "star" in the 5-hour video program. I was told the training video was used for several years.


Flash forward to just a few years ago. With the cooperation of the LTU adult vocational school in Chatsworth, I videotaped a basic Excel training class as part of my requirements to obtain my Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) designation. Alhough the filming and script methodology was the same at MBL, I sure looked different with my white hair!


Author and Software Publisher

For four years in the mid-80's, when people were just waking up the potential power of personal technology, I wrote a column called "Coping With Computers" which was published national in two monthly magazines. Much of what I wrote about was how to shop for specific kinds of equipment, like modems or printers, and how useful each was to a small business. It was an exciting time with new software being introduced almost weekly, so I had plenty to write about. In 1988, someone got the bright idea to bundle all these columns into a book, which they published. It was obsolete even before it hit the market, and very few copies were sold. Still, it is nice to brag you are a published author.


That same year, I developed a utility program for sales people to use for comparing the benefits between different contract proposals. It was written and compiled in dBASE, which some of you old timers will remember was hugely popular in the days before Windows. We named it "Side-By-Side" and sales were pretty good until Microsoft decided to change the world in 1991 with its Windows OS. Immediately anyone with a DOS-based software application had to scramble to re-write it for the modern era. By then I was off doing other things so I never re-designed "S-B-S" and sales immediately died. It is also nice to brag that I published software that was successful for a short while.

Both the book and the software program got me nominated for (and listed in) "Who's Who in California."




Magazines and Periodicals

It seems people are always asking to write about something. My first cover story was about a proposal for national health insurance in 1986. yeah, we've been debating it that long! I had testified before a legislative committee that year advocating all the insurance companies pool some money to cover the uninsurables, as they do for car drivers. The proposal passed both houses of the legislature only to be vetoed by then Governor George Deukmajean because he "didn't see the need." How history might have been different had that idea been adopted then! From a series of articles on that subject sprang the suggestion I write a monthly column about the uses of technology in small businesses, and I was on my way to writing periodically about all kinds of subjects for different magazines.

A few years ago, I wrote a monthly “how-to” feature called Security Spotlight, distributed to 80,000 officers and their site clients on all manner of topics from Bomb Threats to Substance Abuse to Port Security each month. I interviewed officers from around the country and heard some fascinating human interest stories.

Since I enjoy travelling (and have been around the world a few times), I periodically write "touristy" articles about different places I have visited. A few months ago I had published an article about sailing to Channel Islands National Park, off the Southern California coast. Doesn't pay much, but it is a fun distraction.

A few years ago I fancied putting together a cookbook compiled from the kitchens of my friends, who are all great cooks, but the abundance of recipe sites on the Internet really makes another cookbook irrelevant. So I may post them on my web site someday.




Company Newsletters

I have created or edited many in-house company newsletters. For them I write in a more conversational style. I find they are the "glue" that binds different departments together into a common corporate purpose. People enjoy reading about themselves and co-workers, seeing photos of picnics and other fun events, and having managers share insight into how the company is doing and where it is going next.

In high school I enjoyed Journalism and writing for the school paper, and so in college it was natural that I join the "Daily Sundial" reporting staff at Cal State Northridge. Those were exciting days, and among other assignments, I covered the downtown trial of the Black Student Union , which had seized the Administration building on campus after a protest rally.

After graduation I applied what I learned, and wrote the in-house newsletters at several companies plus a few non-profits that I was involved with. And I have really never stopped doing it.

The one magazine I am most proud of: When I was an insurance agent in the 80's I created the Actionline for the Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters. This 40-page publication (and the organization) is still going strong 30 years later.



WEB SITES

I was very early user of modems, going back to the days of serial ports and 1200 baud. So when the first Internet browsers were introduced in the mid-90's I was one of its earliest disciples. I learned HTML from a book, and I soon had my first web site posted. There was no Front Page or Java Script nor any Flash to assist, so I wrote my web pages from scratch, learning to apply the basic programming code line by line in creative ways Since those pioneer days I have built hundreds of pages for friends and businesses. Several have won industry awards. So, yes, I know my way around HTML, and have taught it to college-level students.

References are available from many of my business clients on request. Meanwhile, check out some of my creations:

Villa del Arroyo HOA
Bieber Lighting
RHS Reunion


PROMOTIONAL BROCHURES, LOGOS, ICONS, AND BUSINESS CARDS

The skills I learned from newsletter editing and web site design also are applicable to creating brochures, flyers, T-shirts, CD covers, and business cards. I have made these for countless business clients through the years. Some examples:


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