Wes embarked into the world of freelance copywriting in 2011 at the age of 63. Prior to that you might say that virtually every week of his working life he wrote the following for the edification of several thousand readers: human-interest stories ranging from lighthearted to poignant; accounts of governance, politics and bureaucracy; true stories of crime and punishment; public service announcements; community news; career and educational accomplishments; homage to the dearly departed, and humorous and occasionally heartfelt opinion pieces. Beyond that array of wordage, as an editor he rewrote, edited, proofed and/or tweaked hundreds of submissions from the literate and semi-literate alike to make them fit for the consumption of his publication's readers. Between 1997 and 2011 Wes received sixteen Pennsylvania Newspaper Association (PNA) awards -- half of them first places--for reporting and writing in virtually every category, including straight news, personality profiles, investigative series, ongoing news coverage and commentary. In 2010, his last full year as a journalist and editor of a weekly newspaper, his columns were adjudged the best in the state among weekly newspapers in the most competitive (largest number of participants) category. After over three decades as the editor of two community newspapers, he retired in the spring of 2011 and, as a copywriter, he specialized mostly in website content and, along the way, authored one book and edited the manuscript of another. Over the span of barely 36 months he has written copy for a law firm's website, developed web content for a group of insurance underwriting firms, written blogs and news releases for a large independent insurance agency, written case studies for a top innovation consulting firm, written instructional articles and blogs for an award-winning interactive career coaching website, written content for a website outlining discrepancies in evidence in a complex murder case, and provided website content as a subcontractor for a search engine optimization specialist. In short, the combination of his experience as a journalist and copywriter has strengthened his skills as a writer, making him a formidable talent for any client who requires quality, accurate writing in a timely fashion. He is familiar with the basics of SEO, notably keywords and meta tags, and is particularly adept at rewriting existing copy to enhance its internet profile and readability. Wes regards writing as both an innate talent and a learned skill that must be regularly exercised. He is open to any writing challenge and continues to expand areas of expertise. His years as a journalist for daily and weekly newspapers honed his ability to write quality copy on deadline, as well as being an adept interviewer and researcher. In a few short years, he has, among other things, enjoyed some of the following experiences: * written blogs and articles for a career coaching website that trains people in all aspects of landing the job of their dreams-- from the cover letter to the job interview; * written content, from the ground up, for the websites of three insurance underwriting companies; * written the content for an innovative website outlining discrepancies in a murder case, including evidence, testimony and witness affidavits, which casts doubt on the conviction. The case in currently being evaluated by the Duquesne University Innocence Project due to the impact of the website; * written a book on commission about a young man's journey back from massive traumatic brain injury that is currently seeking a publisher, and * learned the fundamentals of SEO by rewriting web content for two companies specializing in damage restoration and teaming with an experienced SEO copywriter on websites for a chain of luxury car dealerships. Aside from a BA in English and training and experience in the U.S. Army as an intelligence analyst, Wes has benefitted from professional development through the American Press Institute, the Associated Press and Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, as well as online training in copywriting and attending two annual Boot Camps offered by the American Writers & Artists, Inc.
News Releases, Personality Profiles, Insurance, Legal, Manuscript Editing, Blogging, General Website Content, Case Studies, Building Renovation/Damage Restoration and Career Coaching.
Wes continues to write a popular observational column for his local newspaper and, as a community service, writes news releases for local nonprofits and fundraising events. He continues to perform regularly in a singing group and, over the years, has enjoyed starring roles in local community theater. He emcees a number of community events, ranging from charity auctions to annual dinners and awards programs. He is a member of his county historical society and recently performed a one-man play he wrote about a local historical event, resulting in an encore performance at the society's annual membership dinner. He and his wife, Mary, a retired teacher, enjoy traveling, hiking and dancing together. He loves to sing harmony whenever he has an excuse to do so.
Honors and Awards
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