As a proven and proficient technical procedure writer and editor, Cat Stephenson is an independent consultant and expert at simplifying the complex. Based in Ester, Alaska, yet able to apply her prowess worldwide, she develops instructional procedures and carefully crafts them into technical manuals that she authors, proofs, and translates into Arabic and Turkish. Ms. Stephenson became inspired to write books in these languages after witnessing Emirati engineers having difficulty understanding lectures in English on how to create procedures.
A professional journalist for more than 40 years, Ms. Stephenson fondly recalls being a young mother early in her career when Alaska Magazine published every article she wrote as she pursued her Bachelor of Arts in print journalism earned at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1981. Starting as a newspaper reporter for a year in Nome, Alaska, she then sought employment where she could continue to spin her skills and that had standard work hours with much-needed health benefits for her and her growing son. Thus, Ms. Stephenson left Alaska temporarily to live with her parents in the state of Washington. While residing there, she applied and was hired for a job with a nearby, power-generating facility that needed an in-house editor for its company magazine and weekly newsletter. This new opportunity was Ms. Stephenson’s entry into the field of nuclear power, which still holds her keen interest and involvement today as the author of “What NOT to Do: Common Errors in Nuclear Power Procedure Writing and Their Solutions,” published in 2021 via her own company, Old Wood Editorial LLC.
Passionate about her profession, Ms. Stephenson loves the editorial process and interacting with people. A self-proclaimed believer in nuclear power, she is equally aware of the challenges, perceptions, and problems that nuclear power poses, as she is in the process of creating a series of books about procedure writing methods. Before her current roles as an independent consultant and a publisher, Ms. Stephenson was a technical editor and writer for NuScale Power; a staff editor and procedure writer for Pinkerton FZE, CICPA Critical Infrastructure Protection; a procedures and training specialist for the United States Department of Energy; a staff editor at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant; a procedure writer in the emergency preparedness department for a procedure upgrade project at Susquehanna Steam Electrical Station; a regulatory compliance engineer and staff editor for the procedures group at the Arizona Public Service, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station; and a licensing engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.
Active in key professional organizations, Ms. Stephenson is a member of Women in Nuclear, the American Nuclear Society, Alaska Professional Communicators, Toastmasters International, and others. She has been equipped with relevant industry credentials during her career, including being certified as a quality assurance inspector for procedure production by the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority or CICPA state government office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She also was certified by the Procedure Professionals Association for her work at the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant. To bolster her educational foundation, years after completing her journalism degree, she earned a Master of Science in environmental project management from the University of Findlay and learned grant writing at the University of South Carolina.
Honored for professional achievements, Ms. Stephenson received a coveted notation for a project in 1990 from Undersecretary of Energy John C. Tuck of the United States Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., and, in previous years, was awarded for her journalistic coverage of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race by the International Sled Dog Mushrooms Association and won Alaska State Press Club awards. Alongside her own determination, Ms. Stephenson gives credit for her success to the support, inspiration, and guidance of mentors, including Mark Salisbury, who worked in the nuclear power sector and to whom she dedicated one of her books, as well as Dean Gotterer from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Clare Boothe Luce, the first female ambassador to Italy after World War II.
Ms. Stephenson has a son, Ambler, and a granddaughter, Nava. When she’s not writing, she serves on the board of her local library, is a book club member, and volunteers with the Fairbanks Concert Association. She enjoys quality time with her family, traveling to Turkey, taking educational classes, reading, and hiking.