Copybob’s Sci-Fi and business writing worlds collide!

lyte poseMy sci-fi and business writing worlds have collided! I recently joined the marketing team of Noblesville, IN filmmaker Demetrius Witherspoon of DV Entertainment Pictures and am helping him promote his Indianapolis-based sci-fi film! I’m doing this as my R.J. Sullivan author persona but it falls strongly into my business and promotions skillset.

Here’s the site where you can see the first few blogs I’ve created.

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Portfolio page added

Digital_PortfolioI’ve never had the greatest website, and where I have particularly failed is having the graphics talent, time, or expertise to add a good digital portfolio that truly represents the array of my work. Now technology has made this possible by letting me put all my files into Dropbox so all I need to do is share the Dropbox link on my website. (and yes, I realize that this trick has been available to me for a couple years now–sometimes I’m a bit slow recognizing the possibilities).

So here is my new, revised portfolio page that spans highlights from my 15+ years of experience, plus my resume and letters of recommendation.

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New Case Study: Merkley Meats Upgrades

I drafted a new case study for Hoosier Energy that went up on their website a few days ago, this on on how efficiency upgrades for a south side meat processing plant in Jasper County were made more affordable through a Hoosier Energy rebate program.

Meat-Packer Uses REC Rebates for Efficiency Upgrades As energy usage enters the 21st century, the trend in technology is towards blending higher efficiency equipment with “green” Earth-conscious energy-savings. This trend, paired with increasing government regulations that require businesses to practice energy responsibility, means companies have more to think about when carrying out routine replacement of aging equipment. In some cases, the cost for such upgrades can make some business owners pause, or even balk, in their plans to move forward. But fortunately for many businesses in southern Indiana, Dubois REC and other local rural electric cooperatives, in a partnership with Hoosier Energy, have created a monetary rebate program available to qualifying businesses interested in such upgrades.

Brad Merkley, Operations Manager and third generation butcher for Merkley and Sons Quality Meats of Jasper, Indiana, is going forward with several upgrades in his family’s food processing business thanks for the REC rebate program.

Click here to continue…

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Hoosier Energy MV-WEB Meter System

Today’s case study spotlight looks directly at a service offered by Hoosier Energy and their partners to help their corporate customers better monitor their energy output.

For decades, Hoosier Energy, a wholesale electric energy provider for rural electric cooperatives in southern and central Indiana and southern Illinois, has monitored the monthly energy consumption patterns of their member systems’ large- and medium-sized industrial and commercial customers to help with their energy bills and prevent any “surprises” regarding their electricity costs. Two primary software tools involved in this customer support are known as MV-90 xi and MV-WEB. MV-90 xi collects and maintains data from the meters, while MV-WEB, a load presentment system, provides an update, via the web, of numerous customer loading parameters.

Through use of these tools, Hoosier Energy analysts Holly Nethery and Pam Raisor have learned to do more than simply create accurate monthly power bills. …

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Case Study on Martinsville South Elementary

Today’s case study is Morgan County-Centric, one I composed on South Elementary School in Martinsville, and how Hoosier Energy and the SCI-REMC helped the school’s energy efficiency rating.

The Martinsville Metropolitan School District (MSD) is spread across twelve locations in a suburban Indianapolis county. Many of those are “Energy Star Certified” by the EPA, a federal program which recognizes facilities that take the proper steps to ensure their power is used in the most efficient manner possible. The school district administration was puzzled by the fact that South Elementary, though the newest school in the district, consistently rated sub-par in energy efficiency. The answer to the puzzle was revealed last year when the district approved funding for a maintenance overhaul made possible in part by a $50,000.00 grant from Hoosier Energy.

“There’s a false perception that, to a utility provider, it makes no difference if a facility is operating efficiently or not,” said Dan Brackemyre, Business Development Manager of South Central Indiana REMC (SCI-REMC), the co-op that distributes power to Morgan County from Hoosier Energy. ….

Click here to read the rest…

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Dot Foods Case Study for Hoosier Energy

Here’s another case study composed for Hoosier Energy, this one on how Dot Foods in Cambridge City had to confront a power problem. Used with permission.

Whitewater Valley REMC Offers Expert Examination of Facility to Find and Correct Wiring Problems.

Terry Ferrell, Maintenance Supervisor of the Dot Foods Cambridge City Distribution Center, had a power problem affecting almost all aspects of the plant and its nearly 200 employees. Dot Foods is one of the largest food re-distributors in the United States, and power issues in Cambridge City could potentially affect food distribution throughout much of the Midwest. “We’d had a lot of lightning strikes, and our power fluctuations were of great concern, particularly if those issues were to ever affect our refrigeration and freezer units. We have some units that must be kept at near-zero, and those need to be working at top efficiency at all times.” On top of this, fire alarm systems and security systems kept losing power.

Ferrell contacted Account Manager Mike Walker of Hoosier Energy. “He said they’d send an electrician right over to check out the plant, and that they’d cover the cost,” said Ferrell. “I was pleased to get this sort of response after a single conversation.”

Click here to continue reading…

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New business card, tweaked look

CopyBob-Business-CardI’m celebrating the new year by updating my business cards and incorporating the updated graphic into my social media presence. Here on the blog that affects the banner image and the About tab for the better, and finally gives my Facebook page a background image.

Special thanks to BNC Supply of Mooresville and the ever-reliable Paul Uhls, who always takes good care of me for print services for both my business and fiction author needs. And he’s a good guy.

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New Delta Faucet article

Here’s a new case study I created for Hoosier Energy, an overview of the history and future of the Delta Faucet Plant in Greensburg, IN. Reposted with permission from Hoosier Energy.

For decades, the Delta Faucet Plant was a major manufacturing asset to the Greensburg community, located in Decatur County, Indiana. Company founder Alex Manoogian opened the plant in 1959, and the facility at 1425 W. Main Street peaked at 1,300 employees while producing an array of upgraded faucet and bath components within bustling 380,000 sq. ft. facility.

But in the late 90s, Delta opened a new plant in Jackson, TN, and many production processes were transferred from Greensburg, the first sign that the older building’s long term viability might be in question.   …

Read the full story here.

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Resolve to support good writing

Originally published in the February 2009 Morgan County Business Leader

I’ve noticed a bothersome shift toward lazy writing from the upcoming internet journalists and pop culture print columnists. Such writing embraces “trendy” slang of the sort acquired by young adults who’ve grown up flinging text and chatroom messages at each other. As these kids shift into the professional world, bits of lazy clutter are  creeping into the prose of writers whose bylines indicate they received a paycheck for their efforts.

I don’t follow baseball. So a few years ago when Yahoo kept updating me about the latest on Madonna and “A-Rod,” I had to do a web-search to identify “A-Rod” as baseball star Anthony Rodriquez. Apparently none of the gossip columnists felt the need to include the simple courtesy parenthetical at the first mention of “A-Rod” in any of their updates–perhaps a consequence of their rush to get to the juicy tidbits.

More and more articles published from professional sources are allowing chatroom terminology into their prose. For now, it’s mostly gossip columns on the internet, but even sources such as CNN have let this tendency toward the trendy slip into their prose. These articles spout such hipster nonsense such as LOL, BTW, C U L8r, taking note of someone’s “bling”, describing how one company’s “peeps” are talking to another company’s “peeps, ” and that our site’s got the “low-down.”

Such lazy shortcuts are perfectly fine–on a middleschooer’s blog site! Here’s a pretty good rule of thumb. If you would sound foolish using these words in normal conversation, then you shouldn’t use these terms in your writing. When corporations start paying money for what amounts to content graffiti, they’re validating and reinforcing the bad habits of writers who can now point to evidence that what they do is “okay.”

Within the next few years, a local educator once told me, people will no longer be required to capitalize the letter “I” when used as a first-person word–making sentences like “i can’t believe you’re serious.” perfectly acceptable grammar.

Apparently, it’s so common in texting, blogging and chatting to bypass the shift, kids these days just don’t see the need to bother capitalizing the letter in their term papers or articles.

To which I say: So? The standards of craft–whether in writing or in any other field–exist to divide the professional from the amateur. So because the amateur no longer wants to bother to hit the shift key, now the pro is expected to change the acceptable standard to appease them? Do we let the medical students dictate to the surgeons what steps they’d like to skip?

I’m not against changes in writing standards when there’s a clear and legitimate benefit. I broke a twenty-plus year habit–typing two spaces after a period. Losing that extra space allows modern graphic layout programs to function far more efficiently than the old method. That’s a compelling reason to change the established standard.

But there’s no good reason for lazy writing. And as more and more examples are given a pass and make their way into professional cyberspace, amateurs will find more and more examples supporting their particular bad habit, and those who stand up for good writing will continue to lose ground.

Let’s first resolve to clean up our own lazy writing and stand up for the professional standards of writing, to make sure those standards continue for generations to come.


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The Game of the Name

Originally published as an editorial for the December 2008 Morgan County Business Leader

I earned my business name honestly.

Several years ago, working as a retail copywriter, I was unavoidably detained just prior to a production meeting between the advertising staff and product buyers. The production manager knew my situation, and nonchalantly announced, “We’ll start as soon as Bob gets here.” Over the next couple minutes (so I’m told), the poor buyer grew noticeably more agitated.

A certain manager within the company had earned a reputation for abrasiveness, particular toward presenters if he didn’t like what he heard. And sadly, this person and I shared the same first name, and the poor buyer misunderstood which “Bob” was coming to the meeting. So when I finally arrived (within five minutes), the buyer covered her face in her hands, exclaiming. “oh, that Bob.”

The production manager decided I needed a nickname so this wouldn’t happen again. Before the meeting ended, I was christened “Copybob.” In less than a day, the nickname traveled like lightning and stuck like superglue. Within a day and for over a year in the office, I never heard my name without the word “copy” preceding it.

The name has since traveled with me to many projects and environments. People use the name with affection and respect, particularly in bullpen-styled environments. Years later, determining my freelance business name proved the biggest no-brainer of all my decisions.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be handed a versatile business name for instant application. Something so vital to your identity should be chosen with great care and consideration, keeping several factors in mind.

  • Be memorable. You want prospective clients to recall you easily.
  • Keep it simple.
  • When possible, tie your name to your profession. I write copy and my name is Bob. It’s not always that easy, but don’t make it any more difficult than it should be. Which brings me to…
  • Don’t be too clever. Complicated acronyms, plays on words, jokes that require leaps in logic–are probably not the best choices.
  • Don’t be derivative. It’s never good to bring your competition to your customer’s mind, so why help them along? Every time I see an Idiot’s Guide, I end up buying another Dummies book.
  • Check the marketability. Is the url http://www.[yourname].com available? (I was truly lucky there). Can a variation of 1-800-yur-name play a part?

Be cautious about alpha phone numbers. Personally, I like an easy-to-remember alpha phone number. Someday, I need to look into 800-copy-bob. But if it’s not available, I probably won’t check out 800-wrt-stuph. Cute wordplay goes against the very reason for having such a number–to be more memorable.

Your business name weighs in heavily in the formation of your brand, your identity, and the impression of your business. Don’t drag around a poorly constructed, overly clever name that ultimately works against you.

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