By Shane Logan
According to organizational communication specialist Marc J Sheehan, “It might be more accurate to say that technical writing chose me.”
Marc obtained a bachelor’s degree in English from Western Michigan University, and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University, and then finally a master’s of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan.
Marc said his love for writing first came from his passion for literature. Poetry in particular sparked his interest in the field of writing. Focusing mainly on the creative writing aspect of writing, it gave him a “back door” entry into his first technical job at the American Red Cross (ARC) Blood services.
There he started with writing procedures and reports that had to meet the very, very strict guidelines and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration. Later he moved into the more technical areas of ARC and began writing newsletters, advertisements, news releases, and other documents that promoted efforts for the cause of the much-needed blood donations.
Following his education, Marc lived in Lansing for several years and had the chance to write for the Lansing Capital Times. He wrote book reviews on a regular basis, and the editor, Jeff Garrity, gave him the opportunity to interview nationally known writers such as Richard Ford, Gary Snyder, Jane Smiley, and many others. Marc also occasionally had the chance to write his own column. Marc says that writing for a public audience was definitely a learning experience, helping him learn how to keep his audience’s attention.
Marc is currently is the Communications Officer at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, working directly for the University president, Dr. Eisler. Although there are no “average” days for Marc, his most common task on any day is writing. He may spend his time creating new text for a written communication and then editing the existing text for it. That includes writing and editing articles for the Ferris’ alumni magazine and internal University communications that were released by president Eisler. He may transition from creating marketing materials, such as brochures and advertisements, to making web-based communications. One of the less-predictable aspects of his job includes traveling for the University. Sometimes he travels to cover a story for the alumni magazine, or to meet with off-campus graphic designers; it all varies.
Even with all of the variety in his job, Marc states: “I am at heart a writer, and writing is still the part of the job that I am most drawn to.”
Marc is a true writer, and the most fulfilling part of his job is doing what he loves to do every day.