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Profile Summary
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Completed Orders 2
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Last Login 2/22/2016
Location Wyalusing, PA
Education Bachelors Degree
Status Inactive
Blog Post1
Asset Type
Summary of Experience
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.
Mansfield University (Previously Mansfield State College) in Mansfield, PA Sep 1969 – Jan 1972
English and Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts

Wes received an early discharge from the U.S. Army to attend Mansfield State College on the GI Bill. His wife, Mary, returned to complete her last year of study there, which had been interrupted by their marriage upon Wes's return from Vietnam. While there, he was a national award winner in an undergraduate creative writing contest sponsored by Atlantic (Monthly) Magazine for a satirical essay he wrote about the Pentagon. His plans to continue in a graduate program in creative writing had to be aborted out of economic necessity after the birth of their first child and he was hired as a reporter for the nationally circulated newspaper, the Grit, and commenced his employment there immediately after completing his studies and earning his degree..

Honors and Awards
First Place Series Based on consecutive news articles clearly labeled as a series and often a combination of investigative reporting and news analysis. Obviously, strong writing is key. In this instance, the topic was the impact on housing costs due to the explosion of workers and money brought about by the booming natural gas industry on the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.

First Place Ongoing News Coverage This is usually applied to beat reporting such as covering crime, courts or a governmental body. Multiple samples of articles have to be submitted and, in this instance, this was for Wes's coverage of a murder trial that spanned several issues of the newspaper.

First Place General News One of three awards Wes was awarded in different years under this category, which only is bestowed upon articles in weekly newspapers in Pennsylvania. It is generally awarded for dual excellence in writing and reporting for what is generally regarded as hard or breaking news.

First Place General News General new coverage in a category relegated to weekly newspapers in Pennsylvania. It generally falls under the definition of hard or breaking news.

First Place Family Life/Living Story A feature story that fits the qualifications of an article in the "Lifestyle" section of a newspaper.

Second Place Ongoing News Coverage Based on coverage of a series of articles about a continuing news event or issue.

Second Place Special Project This is one of several winners in in this category--a special section at the end of the year that provides an overview of many of the stories that were covered during that particular year. Wes provided the writing for this section, some 200 items with special headings, which included photos, graphics and creative layout.

Second Place News Feature Story Based on any news feature that is not a personality profile or straight human interest feature.

Second Place Special Project Special holiday pullout edition highlighting coverage throughout the year

Second Place General News Based on coverage of a general topic that often includes beat coverage of local and county government.

Honorable Mention (Third Place) for Ongoing News Coverage Based on coverage of an ongoing a news issue or event, including trial coverage.

Honorable Mention (Third Place) for Special Projects A year-end review of the major news stories of the top news stories that were covered in his newspaper during that year. This was presented in a special holiday section with graphics and photos.

Honorable Mention (Third Place) for Special Projects A year-end review of the major news stories of the top news stories that were covered in his newspaper during that year. This was presented in a special holiday section with graphics and photos.

First Place Column Based on submission of three different columns written during the course of that year. Submissions judged by a panel of editors from another state (in this instance, Ohio).

First Place in Public Service After seven years learning writing, reporting and editing skills at the Grit in Williamsport, PA, which published a nationally circulated (1.5 million at its peak) feature magazine in tabloid newspaper format, as well as a Sunday local newspaper with a circulation of about 42,000, Wes was hired as News Editor of The Daily Review in Towanda, PA. In his first year with the small-town daily, he wrote a multi-part investigative series on alleged abuses in a "weatherization" program for low-income homeowners overseen by a regional planning agency.

Association Memberships
American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) This is an invaluable online resource for copywriters, providing online real-time training, courses to strengthen writing skills and a rich archives that may be accessed by members on virtually any topic that may confront a professional writer. Virtually every copywriting category, from niche direct marketing to case studies and white papers, is offered through the website. Wes has availed himself of these resources, and has twice registered for and attended week-long Boot Camps (2011-12) in Delray Beach, FL, where attendees also get to deal one-on-one with businesses and organizations in need of copywriters.

Professional Writers' Alliance An arm of AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc.) that offers online forums, study programs and contact with other copywriters-- a quick source of information and expertise to resolve copywriting issues that may arise.

Projects by Industry

The Big Interview ( is an interactive career coaching site which offers advice on all aspects of job interviewing from the cover letter and resume to the dos and don'ts of the job interview itself. Wes wrote various informational articles, as well as a number of blogs, for this source as it was establishing itself as an online credible career coaching program and has gone on to become a leader in that field. Among those who have contracted The Big Interview are NYU, the University of Texas and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Although much of the company's writing needs have been met, Wes remains on call for any content needs. Wes hasn't had a job interview himself in more than 30 years, and much of his writing was based on research in the field and occasional interviews of career coaching professionals.


The Wyalusing Hotel is an iconic landmark steeped in history and remains the dominant presence on the main street of a once bustling small town that has lost most of its retail trade in recent years. Specialty stores and businesses offices are the prevailing tenants. The hotel is known for its cuisine, rustic dining room and bar. In the wake of the recent natural gas boom, rooms in the building have been remodeled, with a recently constructed hotel just a block away. Wes was hired to write new website content, including photos and descriptive captions, to accentuate both the historic and modern positives of the business.


Wes's reputation as a writer preceded him and one of the first people to contact him for his services after his retirement as a newspaper editor was the President and CEO of the Tuscarora Wayne Group of Companies. This is the corporate parent of three insurance underwriting companies in Pennsylvania and Ohio: Tuscarora Wayne Insurance, Keystone National Insurance and Lebanon Valley Insurance. Wes was hired to write the content for all three company websites, as well as provide news and personnel items for the internal employees' site, along with news releases about hirings, promotions and accomplishments.


Septic systems still reign supreme in rural Pennsylvania. Bradford County, as is the case with a surprising number of counties in the state, has more residents served by on-lot septic tanks than by municipal sewer systems. It is the job of the Bradford County Sanitation Committee (BCSC) to approve and monitor all such septic systems in accordance with Pennsylvania law, The procedure can be complicated for a new homeowner, and Wes's challenge was to write content for the agency's website to make it more understandable and user-friendly, with links to required forms and FAQ. The content, though delivered and approved months ago, is still in limbo with the web designer.


One of Wes's first clients after becoming a copywriter in 2011 was an attorney seeking more internet visibility for his website. The SEO Help Desk, which specializes in working with small businesses, asked Wes to evaluate the content on the site and make a proposal to the attorney. The result was an ongoing theme that the attorney's life experience, outside of the legal arena, was invaluable in to his clients.


If there was a category for this, it would probably be Crime & Punishment. There are probably few, if any, websites similar to this. Wes, a former journalist who has covered many crimes and court cases over the years, was asked by a man convicted of murdering a young girl some 40 years before, to detail testimony and evidence used against him to gain a conviction. The site has attracted a lot of attention and interest, including several law firms interested in representing him in a civil action. The convicted man was released from prison after 10 years and is currently dealing with the Duquesne University Innocence Project, which is investigating his case with great interest.

Projects by SEO Skill
SEO Keyword Requirements

Wes has provided content for several projects with SEO imperatives-- two in conjunction with the SEO Help Desk, a New Jersey-based firm specializing in small business websites. Both businesses specialized in damage restoration services from fire, flooding and other causes, as well as toxic black mold removal. In another project-- his first experience with SEO keywords and meta tags-- he worked with an experienced copywriter as a subcontractor on several websites for a chain of luxury car dealerships.

Projects by Asset Type
Blog Post

Wes has contributed blogs to a number of business websites, as well as his own blog on his business website as a copywriter. On one insurance company website, he is currently doing a series of blogs entitled "Journeys," which is about the divergent paths people working for the company have taken to get where they are. He contributed a number of blogs to a career coaching website about job interviews and his own blogs tend to be observational with an emphasis on humor.


Wes was commissioned to write a book about a man who, as a college student, destroyed 40 percent of his brain in a fall from third-story balcony and miraculously survived. Some 20 years after the accident, he speaks to groups about his condition, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and tells his story to motivate at-risk youngsters and classes of college students intending to work with the brain injured as teachers or therapists. He can barely read or write due to the injuries, but he is able to learn orally and his memory is sharp, allowing him to earn a college degree using special scanning software and oral testing.The project started out as marketing material to promote the subject as a motivational speaker and evolved into a book-length manuscript. A publisher is currently being sought.

Press Release

Wes is essentially on retainer to write press releases and web content, including blogs, for a large insurance agency that serves clients in New York and Pennsylvania. Press releases often apply to new hires, accomplishments and continuing education of staffers and involvement in community projects. The sample is from a 2013 news release on a team from the agency receiving the required training to advise clients on the Affordable Care Act-- at the same time educating the public about changes in health care with how their agents will be up to the task.

Projects By Expertise

Most of what Wes does since retiring as a journalist is as a copywriter, with the bulk of his writing being web content, including basic website copy, blogging and news releases. Most of the writing samples provided in this profile were essentially copywriting in its broadest terms. This sample was a news release for an auction service that, through a news hook, is trying to establish the auction as the preferred method of buying or selling a home or commercial property.


Although he wrote hundreds of bylined news articles as a reporter and an editor before retiring, Wes has occasionally been hired to cover a local news event or issue due to his familiarity with the subject. He is currently putting together a series on the dearth of volunteerism in small town America, a sample of which may be shared here when published. The sample is basically a straight news story that captures the dilemma many financially strapped school districts in Pennsylvania are facing.

Projects by Writing Style

The conversational style of writing-- as if you are speaking to the reader in a casual conversation-- is particularly impressive in blogs. The following sample was from one of a number of blogs Wes wrote for, with the topic on this occasion being adaptability in a job interview.


Humor is also quite effective in blogs and commentary, but it should be used judiciously and sparingly in releases and promotional material. It might backfire on you. You definitely don't want to use it if your specialty is SEO content-- unless of course, you are marketing a book about humor-- and then the emphasis would be on the word itself and not necessarily humorous. Wes used the following in a commentary about the abundance of acronyms.


Since journalism has been his profession for many years, Wes is well versed in the basic approach of objective news coverage. However, newspaper writing has become more creative in stye in the past several decades, particularly for human interest features and personality profiles, and his own writing style could be described as diverse-- informative and entertaining. The sample is from an article about the 85th birthday of a popular local politician and a former POW.

Projects by Company Size
Medium Business

Among the companies for whom Wes has written quite a bit of content is a trio of underwriting companies under that same parent group. The group of companies does business in several states, with an emphasis on Pennsylvania and Ohio. He wrote the content on the websites of all three companies, and it is straight-ahead stuff that gets to the point. Wes also does web content and news releases for one of the largest independent insurance agencies in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The sample is from the "About Us" page of one of the underwriting companies.

Small Business

Small businesses want exposure on the internet, too, and Wes has written web content for several clients in this classification. They want potential customers to know they are there and what it is they do that is so special. Two companies who specialize in damage repair and cleanup in metropolitan areas and a New Jersey attorney are fitting examples of these types of businesses.


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