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In-Depth Guide: ‘Expanding Community Networks in Michigan’

Eight-month project to update and rebuild a previous 100-plus page document on how to build a municipal fiber-optic broadband network, geared towards rural and small-town areas of Michigan. The client was Merit Network, a Michigan ISP for universities and other public entities that manages a 4,000-mile fiber-optic network of its own.

This involved intensive editing, rewriting and new writing, while reorganizing and boiling the content down to a more manageable 63 pages. I wrote roughly the first half from scratch, adding new information to report on the state of the digital divide in Michigan, through interviews with subject-matter experts and community leaders as well as long hours of reviewing related materials.

I also found the graphic designer for this project and led the painstaking coordination of putting the final piece together. This occurred through about a dozen revisions, in addition to changes based on reviews from various staff members on the client side.

To be clear, I’m no broadband expert, just as I’m no IPv6 expert. I had only consumer-level knowledge of this topic before beginning this project. Using tried-and-true interviewing techniques, I’m able to go from zero to expert-level article in two days. I’ve done this for arcane legal, engineering, healthcare, financial, and technology subject matter. I have been exercising these skills since I was a teenager: first as a copywriter and proofreader, then as a business journalist, then as a broadcast news producer, and then full circle back to copywriting again.

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Copywriting: 2-Pager, Landing Page, Email for DDoS Protection Service

Example of recent copywriting work I’ve done on behalf of clients. In this project, we are marketing a service for defending against DDoS attacks, with a two-sheet PDF (sell sheet), web page, and promotional emails.

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Copywriting: Software Sales Documents

I wrote the copy for these white papers on behalf of Visual Components, a Finnish manufacturing simulation software firm, via MCCI, a PR and marketing firm in Detroit, in fall of 2021. These documents supplement standard brochure-type materials by taking a deeper look at features of the company’s software and service.

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Content Marketing and Copy Writing: Phishing Blog and Email Push

This sample represents a mix of copy editing, copy writing, and blogging/content marketing skills. A colleague wrote the piece, I edited it and added copywriting flourishes. I wrote the copy for the related email push.

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White Paper: ‘Addressing the Issue’ — In-Depth IPv6 Report

Report written for Merit Network, a nonprofit that serves as the ISP for Michigan public universities (and whose roots in “internet” technology date back to before the word existed).

This project took about seven months in 2021, calling for a deep dive into the second-generation internet protocol IPv6 and how it relates to higher education institutions. Project involved close work with networking engineers across the U.S. and the boiling of complex, arcane information into a succinct, digestible form for high-level university administrators. A very challenging but satisfying piece of work.

The full report can be accessed at Merit’s site. (Requires form request but no site registration.)

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Press Release: Vistage Indianapolis Launch

Quick press release project done for the launch of Vistage Indianapolis. Project acquired through Upwork, summer 2021.

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Content Marketing: Networking Automation Tips

Report offering tips and insights about automating network management tasks; written for Merit Network and its Michigan Moonshot broadband initiative in spring 2021, based on presentations given at a seminar on the subject.

Full report can be accessed at Merit’s site.

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DTE EnergySmarts Spring 2021

Work done for Michigan utility company DTE Energy’s B2B custom publication EnergySmarts, Spring 2021 issue. (Two PDFs, one for each of three articles written)

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Clean Cultivation: CANNABIS PIONEER PLANNING NET-ZERO GROW WITH THE LATEST IN GREEN DESIGN

Article written for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association’s magazine, 2021 second issue. (PDF)

Anyone who’s ever been tempted by a project to go all the way on it, expense be damned, will appreciate what Dori Edwards is doing.

She’s going “all in” on her vision of creating a net-zero grow facility. Her plan is to build a super-clean pharmaceutical-grade grow facility that demonstrates sustainability in every one of its 25,000 square feet, from the heating and cooling system to the materials that make up the building itself.

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Still in charge: Whiskey businesses directly invest in wind and solar through MIGreenPower

Article for DTE Energy’s EnergySmarts publication, winter 2021

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Content Marketing: Article for Cannabis Industry Publication

Article written for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association’s magazine, 2021 first issue. (PDF)

It could be fairly said that without technology, the cannabis industry may never have gotten off the ground.

Inevitably tight regulations make running a cannabis business touchier than selling office supplies or even whiskey. Cannabis businesses must track every gram of the product from “seed to sale.” This includes even when cannabinoid oil is divvied into many products for many customers. Businesses and regulators must be able to identify  where the products of a given plant are at any time.

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DTE EnergySmarts Fall 2020

Work done for Michigan utility company DTE Energy’s B2B custom publication EnergySmarts, Fall 2020 issue. (Four PDFs, one for each of three articles written)

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Content Marketing: Articles for Power Utility Publication

Work done for Michigan utility company DTE Energy’s B2B custom publication EnergySmarts, Summer 2020 issue. (Three PDFs, one for each of three articles written)

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DTE EnergySmarts Spring 2020

Work done for Michigan utility company DTE Energy’s B2B custom publication EnergySmarts, Spring 2020 issue. (Three PDFs, one for each of three articles written)

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Content Marketing: Article for County Census Count Effort

A widely used rule of thumb says that each person counted in the U.S. Census represents $1,800 a year in federal funding. Oakland County has an estimated 211,507 people who are at risk of being undercounted, according to the Michigan Department of State. That would come to more than $380 million a year, or more than $3.8 billion over the course of a decade, in potentially lost revenue. For reference, Oakland County’s 2020 budget is $922 million.

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Interview with Mona Hanna-Attisha, M.D. (Flint water crisis whistleblower)

Profile for the 100 Influential Women recognition program, Crain’s Detroit Business, 2016

Mona Hanna-Attisha, M.D.

Director of the pediatric residency program, Hurley Medical Center; assistant professor of pediatrics and human development, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

 

Big win: Hanna-Attisha’s campaign brought the Flint lead issue to national and international attention. She has been honored about a dozen times, including Time magazine’s 2016 list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

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100 Most Influential Women

Worked on the editorial team that led this project, including the selection of the 100 honorees and execution of the related coverage.

“These 100 women manage budgets and civic initiatives. They lead in business, academia, nonprofits and public policy. They are CEOs, executive directors and company founders. Crain’s has been honoring influential women in metro Detroit since 1997; this year, we take that recognition statewide. Here’s how we selected them. These 100 women join a roster of past winners in our legacy list; click on the “archive” button to read more about them.”

June 2, 2016 | Crain’s Detroit Business

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Interview with Donna Niester, president of Acheson Ventures

Profile for the 100 Influential Women recognition program, Crain’s Detroit Business, 2016

Donna Niester
President, Acheson Ventures LLC

Big win: Port Huron’s waterfront redevelopment. It began in 1998, when Jim Acheson and his family sold Acheson Industries, a chemical company dating back to 1908. He used his share of the proceeds to invest in Port Huron’s rundown industrial south side, particularly the waterfront. Niester became president of what would eventually be 14 different entities that sprouted up to support the work, from for-profit property investments to charitable donations.

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Crain’s Detroit Business ’40 Under 40′ Awards

2015 40 Under 40 Section CoverI was the lead editor and project manager for the 2015 edition of the newspaper’s flagship awards program. My job was to evaluate hundreds of submissions, narrow them down, vet them, recommend winners, and produce an editorial package of the 40 selected honorees. For the vetting, I either interviewed candidates personally or someone from my team of writers did and reported back. After a painstaking review process involving the newspaper’s top leadership, the honorees were selected, and then my team produced the final editorial package. I edited all profiles and managed the scheduling of all the associated photography. I was also deeply involved in the marketing of the awards program and the event that went with it.

“Every year since 1991, Crain’s Detroit Business has honored 40 professionals in Southeast Michigan who have made their marks before age 40. This year’s winners launched successful companies, grew established firms, took on high-pressure projects and gave a hand to those in the community.” — Full coverage at crainsdetroit.com

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Time for Plan B: When businesses have to reverse major decisions

Sept 14, 2015 -- SS Reversing Major DecisionsAnyone who craves predictability probably shouldn’t become an entrepreneur. Besides the inherent risk of failure that any business carries, running a company offers many opportunities to be blindsided by even the seemingly most astute decisions.

These are decisions that seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, and perhaps more than reasonable. They were the mature, responsible thing to do, appropriate for the company’s growth. … Read more at crainsdetroit.com.

Lesson for lawyer: Don’t give up too much control

Acquisition to save money became costly rabbit hole