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WhyChooseMetoWrite for You?

Russell E. Willis

        Why Choose Me to Write for You?

 

             Commitment, integrity, follow-through, professionalism,

           and energy are words that characterize Russell Willis.

                                                                              Dr. Steven Shepherd

                                                                                                       Host of the Natural Curiosity Podcast
                                                                           
                            and author of over 100 books 
(mostly                                                                                          about telecommunications!)

While I have been writing and storytelling for decades, my current writing is focused on helping visionary individuals, businesses, and organizations tell YOUR stories with blogs, white papers, emails, case studies, web content, ghostwritten books or articles, and even short-form videos (learn more by clicking on any of the bold types of writing just mentioned).
 

Writer + Storyteller + A Lot of Other Experience = Me

My writing skills have developed alongside and in service to a wildly multifaceted experience in engineering, marketing, industry, social ethics, higher education (award-winning teaching and administration to the level of Provost), online education entrepreneurship, not-for-profit strategic planning, and even ministry and counseling.  My writing has also evolved as a consequence of emerging as a published poet in 2019.

The Path to REWiIlisWrites
 

Welcome to a world of ideas and words where we can dream and plan and complain and exhort and laugh and cry and consider all the things that make life worth living well...

 

After a long and distinguished career in academics as an award-winning teacher and administrator, I founded Willis Strategic Management (WSM) in 2006.  This first foray into consulting centered on strategic planning and academic consulting.  In 2009 I added "entrepreneur" to my list of accomplishments, becoming a principal in Global Classroom, Inc.  In 2018, when the principals of Global Classroom launched eAdviser, Inc., I became eAdviser's Chief Learning Officer.  During the global pandemic of 2020, I added freelance writing and poetry to my professional toolkit. REWillisWrites.com was born.

A Multifaceted Career

I have a wide range of experience and expertise as a freelance writer, online business executive, and coach/consultant in entrepreneurial business, strategic planning, and ethics.  My multi-faceted career spans industry, technology, higher education (teaching and administration), online education (with business and technology emphases), entrepreneurship, ministry, and counseling.  I tell some of this story in a Natural Curiosity Project podcast.

  • Experienced writer; published author (publications dating back to 1980s) with recent turn to writing as a primary vocation, including copywriting and ghostwriting. 

  • Diversified background in entrepreneurial higher education and business; a pioneer and innovator in online education and instructional technology. 

  • Expert in transforming strategic plans into operational goals: specializing in strategic planning for not-for-profit organizations. 

  • Consultant and coach combining business acumen with servant leadership to provide realistic solutions with a human touch.

Responsibility & Sustainability

 

Responsibility and sustainability have been hallmarks of my multifaceted career.
 

After graduating with bachelor of science degrees in Management Systems and Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University in the late 1970s, I began working as a Product Marketing Engineer for the Military Products Department in the Semiconductor Division.  During this work at TI, I began to focus on issues related to the responsible use of technology.  My responsibility at TI was discovering and exploiting non-military markets for military-spec semiconductors.  My most successful client was Bell Labs, which used mil-spec parts to develop the first viable digital telecommunications network.  This prototype digital network became the ground floor for our contemporary mobile phone technology!  My other major non-military customer was NASA, which used mil-spec semiconductors to develop projects such as the Space Shuttle and Hubble Telescope. 

 

While completing a master of science degree in Engineering Management during my time at TI, I also discovered a passion for teaching and research.  Leaving TI in 1979, I pursued graduate work, eventually earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ethics and Society at Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia). My academic specialty was the ethics of technology, based on a responsiblist approach to ethics.  Central themes of this responsiblist approach are 1) social (as well as personal) accountability, and 2) responsibility for future consequences of actions taken in the present. 

 

Applied specifically to understanding the ethical implications of technology, responsiblist ethics is the idea that technology is not simply a neutral collection of tools or techniques.  Rather,  technology should be construed as a mode of human being related to the enhancement and expansion of human power and capacity by artificial means.  The ethics of technology, in other words, is about understanding the opportunities and limits that would make any particular technological system morally and socially justifiable (or not!).  Central to this approach are the concepts of sustainability and accountability

 

For more on my philosophy and ethics of technology, check out my blog series: Being Responsible in the Age of Social Media, Cryptocurrency and Smart Weapons/Cars/Phones (in Russell's Blogs, starting with "What Does it Mean to Be Responsible?).

Instructional Technology Pioneer

OnlineTechnology Entrepreneur

 

Armed with my doctoral studies in ethics and sociology, I entered the academic world.  My first forays into academia were at major universities: Texas A&M, Arizona State, and Iowa State (my teaching at Texas A&M and Iowa State focused on the philosophy and sociology of technology.  My wife (Dawn O. Willis, DMA) and I then pursued a dual academic career at small liberal arts colleges and universities at opposite ends of the Great Plains. 

 

A major feature of my teaching from the beginning was to leverage my engineering training and experience to push the boundaries of instructional technology.  Looking back at my teaching career, I realized I had become a pioneer in instructional technology. For example, in the mid-1990s, I was the first remote teacher on the ground-breaking Iowa fiberoptics system.  That same year I was named the Outstanding Professor at Iowa Wesleyan College. I also developed one of the earliest CD-ROM-based instruction systems (late 1990s). As an administrator (Provost) at Champlain College in Vermont, I helped implement one of the earliest fully online Master's programs and a first-in-the-nation bachelor-level gaming degree. In 2006, 

Campus Technology recognized me for this work as one of five tech-savvy chief academic officers ("IT Leadership>>CAO 2.0").

 

After leaving Champlain, I became an online education entrepreneur with Global Classroom.  In this career phase, I have developed skills such as video production, online learning management, internet communication, marketing, and AI applications.
 

Strategist

 

Much of my Management Systems and Engineering Management education helped me become a strategic thinker.  I began to vocationally pursue strategic planning as I took on administrative roles in higher education.  

I managed my first strategic planning process when I was promoted to the position of Director of Institutional Research and Planning at McMurry University (1998).  In this role, I helped develop an institutional plan (the first at McMurry!) to help remediate an accreditation problem.  The McMurry experience helped me land my first C-level position in higher education at Dakota Wesleyan University (2000).  The first major initiative of my new position was to manage DWU's inaugural strategic plan.  Likewise, my strategic planning expertise and experience helped me land the Provost position at Champlain College (2003).  My primary task in the newly coined Provost position was to institute Champlain's inaugural strategic plan. 

After leaving higher education, I retained my passion for strategic planning, especially for not-for-profit organizations.  Starting in 2005, I facilitated strategic planning for 

  • Addison County (Vermont) Solid Waste Management District

  • Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, culminating in creating the highly successful Restore facility in Williston, Vermont

  • the strategic planning and executive transition process for the Vermont Woodlands Association (2022)

  • two area churches -- First Baptist Church (Burlington) and the United Church of Colchester (twice)

  • Regional (Vermont) Arts-Related organizations:

    • Bella Voce Women's Chorus of Vermont (three times, most recently in 2023)

    • Solaris Vocal Ensemble

    • Burlington Choral Society

    • Inora Brass Ensemble.

Storyteller

 

In addition to years as a teacher, I have also answered a call to ministry, mostly as a part-time vocation later in life. In that role, I have preached.  A lot!  It dawned on me at some point that, though it was not obvious to me or anyone else, there was a straight line between being a scholar, teacher, and preacher.  Alas, I was a storyteller!

 

My family and close friends already knew this from the personal side of life.  In fact, I came from a line of magnificent storytellers, particularly my maternal grandfather, Pawpaw.  My storytelling hit a crescendo in my teen years when I was in an acoustic duet playing the songs of Simon and Garfunkle, CSNY, John Denver, Dan Folgelberg, the Eagles, Elton John, and BW Stevenson.  Entering my professional life, I continued to tell stories as a marketer, teacher, organizational leader, and preacher.  I don't think I can help it--I love to tell stories (and I have learned that I am very good at it!).  If you don't believe me, check out this podcast by fellow traveler Steven Shepherd.

A Passion for Combating the Climate Crisis

 

As I have evolved professionally through this multi-faceted array of experience and expertise, I have developed a special passion for combating the Climate Crisis.  It is, I believe, the single most existential threat to humanity, even transcending the threat of nuclear annihilation I lived through as a child of the Cold War (which fueled much of my interest in the ethics of technology earlier in my career).  

So, as I began to pursue another of my lifelong passions, writing, as a career path, I have decided to use my writing skills to help those on the front lines of the Climate Crisis.  Therefore, I am now in the position to bring my writing to bear, helping today's climate visionaries at all levels (from researchers and activists to small and large business service and product suppliers) to tell YOUR stories, to express YOUR vision for a thriving, sustainable world.

Did I Mention that I'm a Poet, Too?

 

My transition into becoming a professional copywriter coincides (not accidentally, I think--it's part of that storytelling thing!) with my emergence in 2019 as a published poet.  Since 2019, I have published over 170 poems in over thirty print or online journals and twenty-five anthologies (check out the Published Poetry tab in the main navigation bar).  Many of these poems express my interest in social and personal responsibility.  Among those poems are several related to the climate crisis: 

  • "Earth Cries and the Oceans Catch the Tears," The Write Launch, Winter 2024.  read  

  • "Reservoir No More," The Write Launch, Winter 2024.  read 

  • "Summer - Memory or Prophecy?" The Write Launch, Winter 2024.  read 

  • "Dance of the Cafeteros," The Valiant Scribe, December 2022.  read

  • "Where Once Lay a Sprawling Lake" Our Changing Earth, Volume 2, THE POET, Winter 2022. 

  • "Windsong: Grand Opera," Issue 55 (November 2021).  read  

  • "Undisturbed," The Metaworker Literary Magazine, March 18, 2022.  read

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Russell Willis is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, explainer video producer, and strategic planner

Resume'

Professional Experience

Chief Knowledge Officer                                                        2018-Present

eAdviser, Inc.
  • eAdviser is a platform for sharing trusted content in the areas of Global Warming and English as a Second Language.

Published Poet and Author                                                     2019-Present

  • Emerged as a poet in 2019, beginning with the publication on January 2 of three poems in The Write Launch
  • Russell's poetry has been published (or accepted for publication) in over 30 different online and print publications and over 20 anthologies. (see the full list with links to publications to purchase or read)
  • Began publishing essays in 2023 with the publication of "Goodbye, Rosalynn -- and Thanks!" in The Writer's Club (November 25, 2023).
  • Published several articles and chapters, and coauthored a book prior to 2005.

 

Principal Consultant and Copywriter                                  2006-Present

REWillisWrites/Willis Strategic Management
  • REWilliWrites and Willis Strategic Management are the DBAs for Russell E. Willis’s freelance writing, strategic planning, ethics consulting, and faith-based counseling.

Vice President, Product Development                                    2009-2018

Global Classroom, Inc.
  • With the founder and CEO, built a pioneering online education platform for teacher certification, government training, professional development in business, and k12 education.

Provost and Chief Academic Officer                                     2003-2006

Champlain College
  • Provided leadership and vision for the institutional transformation of Champlain College.

Vice President for Academic Affairs                                      2000-2003

Dakota Wesleyan University
  • Acted as founding Director of the George and Eleanor McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service.

_________________________________________________________________________

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy - Social Ethics

    • Emory University​ (1990)

    • Dissertation: "Toward a Theological Ethics of Technology"

      • Focused on the work of Jacques Ellul, ​James Gustafson, and contemporary philosophy of technology

  • Master of Theology (1982)

    • Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University 

  • Master of Science-Engineering Management (1979)

    • Southern Methodist University

  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (1977)

    • Southern Methodist University

  • Bachelor of Science - Management Systems (1976)

    • Southern Methodist University

Pastoral Ministry

  • United Church of Colchester (VT) (American Baptist Churches)

    • Pastor  -- 2017-Present

    • Interim Pastor -- 2010-2011, 2015-2017

  • First Baptist Church, Burlington (VT) (American Baptist Churches)

    • Bridge Pastor -- 2014-2015

  • Decker United Methodist Church (Austin, TX) (United Methodist Church)

    • Pastor -- 1984-1986

  • Central Congregational Church - UUC (Dallas, TX) (United Church of Christ)

    • Assistant, Associate Pastor -- 1979-1982​

Teaching Appointments (highest rank)

  • Dakota Wesleyan University -- Professor

  • McMurry University -- Associate Professor (tenured)

  • Iowa Wesleyan University -- Associate Professor (tenured)

    • 1995 Teacher of the Year​

  • Iowa State University --Instructor 

  • Arizona State University -- Visiting Assistant Professor

Industry Experience

Texas Instruments, Inc. - Military Products Department of Semiconductor Division. Specialized in opening non-military markets for the use of mil-spec semiconductors (such as NASA and Bell Labs).

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