While my focus in recent years has been on travel writing, I enjoy writing about many other subjects. I’m definitely a word nerd; I love the process of researching new topics, crafting content, and wordsmithing. One satisfied employer hired and trained me for six months in the subject of petroleum geology because of the company policy, “it’s easier to train a good writer in geology than to train a geologist to write well.” At the Texas Department of Transportation, I was proficient in translating technical jargon from engineers, contractors, motor vehicle dealers, lawyers, and bureaucrats into simplified, clear, and concise language for the general public.
Whether it is an in-depth feature, ad copy, Web page, executive report, speech, or press release, I strive to bring my attention to detail, dedication, passion, and proficiency to every project. I would love to be considered for your writing or editing job; please get in touch.
When he started PrimeTime Sports in 2000, David Stephens left a successful 21-year law career for what he thought was the youth athletics business. But that’s not exactly the way the ball has bounced. What he really got into was event management. The company has grown from staging youth basketball tournaments in Texas to adding football, soccer and adult softball tournaments, an annual exposition and a presence in 20 states. And now it’s covering even more bases, providing event management and marketing for third parties. During 2012, PrimeTime Sports will produce about 180 events, most of which are turnkey. Here’s how CEO Stephens plans to be “the best game in town”—the company’s tagline—in every host city.
This article was published in the May-June 2012 issue of Connect. Read the interview here.
In fall 2008, the meetings industry was turned on its head when AIG and other big-name companies were caught in the headlines after hosting upscale conferences at resort properties. The ensuing fallout—the “AIG effect”—meant canceled or downscaled meetings. Glitz and sheen were out; lean and mean were in.
Corporate bookings of upscale properties fell dramatically, causing resorts to modify business plans and marketing efforts. Prices dropped, incentives increased and a new target market emerged for full-service resorts: faith-based groups. Resorts typically are cost-prohibitive for most faith-based groups, which operate on tighter budgets. But the rules have changed. Faith-based meeting planners who take the time to look at full-service-resort options find some with reasonable rates and value-added features that appeal to both planners and attendees.
This article was published in the August-September 2011 issue of Rejuvenate. Although travel related, I did not include it with my travel stories because it is such a niche topic—a trend piece about faith-based meetings at full-service resorts. Read the full story here.
Five-fifty a.m. I reach for the alarm, roll out of bed, and throw on ragged clothes. Climbing down in the dark from the bamboo-and-thatch tree house, I make a pit stop at the compost toilet, then stumble to the boot room. The hogs await, bellowing in anticipation.
Once in the pen—shovel and five-gallon bucket in hand—the wrestling begins. The 200-pound hog is a formidable opponent—throwing his weight around, knocking me off balance, and slamming me into the pen. But I’m in control (sort of). I stand my ground; the swine backs down—all while standing deep in fetid, soupy pig scat, which is exactly what I’m after. Each hog (two more wait in their pens) produces enough excrement daily to fill the bucket. When full, the bucket is carefully lifted over the pen and passed to my partner, who pours the contents into the bio-fuel generator that provides about 30 percent of the power for the farm’s stove.
This article was published in the Winter 2010 issue of Edible Austin. While it starts as a first-person travel piece, it quickly transitions into a story profiling six people who have volunteered and/or taken classes in Central Texas to learn agricultural skills that have changed their lives. It also provides resources and encourages readers to do the same. Download the full story (PDF).
While bicycling is not foremost on the minds of many preservationists, an increase in history-themed rides around the state is making some take notice. The activity is surging in popularity as a sport, recreational pursuit, and sustainable mode of transport, and several events now offer riders a closer look into historic places and events. With Texas’ rich history, temperate weather, country roads, scenic landscapes, and diverse regions, the state is poised to reap huge rewards as cyclists seek out authentic encounters with the past.
This article was published in the September-October 2010 issue of The Medallion. Although tourism related, I did not put it in the travel category because it is meant as an advisory or informational piece for an audience of preservationists. Download the full story (PDF).
Remember that old U.S. Army commercial about doing more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day? Welcome to Colt McCoy’s world. But the former Longhorns quarterback just keeps on going all day long. Ever wonder what it might be like to step into his shoes? Try to imagine you’re him for a few hours in early April. It’s about three weeks before the NFL draft and two days after Pro Day, when NFL scouts and coaches came to Austin to evaluate a workout. Here’s a pretty typical morning…
This was the cover feature for the June 2010 issue of Austin Monthly. Download the full story (PDF).
For the fourth year in a row, Austin Monthly brings you the musicians poised to break out, blow up, and tear the roof off our town—and the world.
I was part of a team of four writers who profiled local bands for this annual feature that was published in March 2010. Each writer and some staff members nominated bands, and the list was narrowed to ten. I wrote about three brilliant, very diverse bands—UME, Ocote Soul Sounds, and Monahans. Check them out, and download these three profiles together (PDF).
There are two numbers most people keep secret: their weights and their salaries. This story offers a voyeuristic look at the latter of the two. We called friends and co-workers, researched public salaries, and peered into the databases of city workers and politicians. On the following pages, you’ll find lots of salaries; many have names attached to them, but even the ones that don’t represent actual people…
This cover feature of the February 2010 issue of Austin Monthly is actually a set of articles, Q&As, profiles, charts, and figures covering many angles on the subject of Austin salaries. It was co-written with Libby Hoppe, who was the lead editor. When asked if I’d be interested in the project, it sounded so far outside my realm of interest… But putting myself outside my usual comfort zone of travel, music, and gardening features was appealing—and confronting people on this usually private subject proved to be a great challenge. Download the full feature. (PDF, 11 MB, 15 pages, full color)
It’s late summer, 7 p.m., and still triple digits. Covered in dirt and sweat, I’m a filthy, aching, frustrated mess. I’ve awakened to a sore back the last few weeks. I’ve accumulated a small mountain of rocks. My yard bag has been stuffed with weeds each week. And only half my front yard is done.
What I naively expected to be a weekend DIY project—replacing my “lawn” (i.e., stubborn weeds and rocks) with a garden of fruits and vegetables—is in its third draining week…
This article was published in the November 2009 issue of Austin Monthly. (As a postscript and in full disclosure, I’ll admit this story documents best intentions, not reality. The pursuit of the dream of an edible yard was real—and that dream is still alive—but the arrival of a baby in May 2010 scaled the project back. Way back.) Download the full story (PDF).