Greg Sorber 1 February 2008
A technical writer who is decidedly non-technical
Greg Sorber has more than ten years of marketing communications experience. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound and completing a corporate internship for the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California, he returned to his native Portland and delved into the high-tech public relations industry. He worked for a small agency, cutting his teeth helping promote Microsoft’s first foray into vertical industry application architectures.
Several years later, Mr. Sorber joined a systems integration company as Marketing Communications Manager. In this role, he was responsible for generating awareness and producing sales leads nationwide while supporting the marketing efforts of several branch offices. Mr. Sorber eventually went to work for a prominent test and measurement company, directing public relations efforts for two product lines. He also supported marketing and public relations events and activities in Europe and Asia Pacific.
Since 2003, Mr. Sorber has been writing and consulting on a freelance basis, producing a wide range of materials and communications strategies for companies such as HP, Intel and Microsoft, among others. He has extensive experience developing content related to enterprise computing, networking technologies and mobile communications, producing case studies, newsletter articles, data sheets, press releases, white papers, brochures, application notes, contributed articles, speaking abstracts, executive biographies, and the like. On any given day, he can be found writing in his home office, with a snoring basset hound by his side.
What are you up to?
From a work standpoint, I’m developing a variety of materials for HP, Intel, Microsoft, Mentor Graphics and Tektronix. These range from magazine-style brochures and e-newsletters to case studies and data sheets.
From a personal standpoint, I’m trying to help plan my weddding without getting in the way (which can be quite the fine line). My fiancee, Ashlee, and I are also getting settled into our lovely new home in NE Portland.
What are you into?
I’m obsessed with having fun. While some people live to work, I definitely work to live. Although I greatly enjoy my profession, I’m most happy when surrounded by friends and family.
I love spending time with my fiancee and our goofy, blind basset hound, Penelope. And I often serve as the unofficial social coordinator for my group of friends. Nary a week goes by without some sort of gathering, whether it is a poker game, Monday Night Football dinner party, video game geek night, sporting event or happy hour outing.
What do you like most about Portland?
Portland is beautiful and vibrant. It has the feel of a larger city, but its size makes it quaint and accessible. The older, close-in neighborhoods feature homespun restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and microbreweries. Portland is a quintessential city for eating, drinking and being merry. And it is only a short jaunt to the coast, the mountains and the high desert.
I enjoy the liberal mindset, gracious people, abundance of world-class beer, happy hour cheap eats, alternative sports such as kickball and disc golf and the strong support for local artisans.
How can a technical writer be non-technical?
I think it helps, to be perfectly honest. Hardware and software engineers tend to get mired in technical details and minutia, whereas effective marketing and communications require clarity and strategic advocacy.
As a communications professional who happens to have 10-plus years in the high-tech industry, I’m somewhat of a translator between the engineering community and the broad audiences they are hoping to reach.
Tell us about your new house and impending wedding.
The house is new to Ashlee and me, but it was built in 1929. It’s a classic colonial located in Beaumont, at the foot of the Alameda ridge. One unique feature is the beautiful interior trim, which is all Australian gum wood. The original owner of the house ran a shipping company, and had the wood brought over from Australia on one of his boats in the 1920s. Much to our trepidation, the house and its new owners will be featured on HGTV’s “National Open House” later this year.
As for the wedding, Ashlee and I will be tying the knot in August. The festivities will take place in Neskowin, a tiny coastal village nestled between Lincoln City and Pacific City. We’re planning a large group golf tournament and bonfire for the day prior. The wedding itself will be on the beach in a large tent, with copious amounts of love, laughter, food and music.