The Advisory Council is made up of a select group of members invited to advise the CIDM on the issues and activities that are most valuable and timely to professionals within the technical documentation industry.

Rebekka Andersen, University of California, Davis

RebekkaAndersenRebekka Andersen is an assistant professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, where she teaches courses in professional and technical communication and digital literacy. Her research focuses on the diffusion of content management methodologies and technologies in information-development teams. She examines diffusion inhibitors and facilitators, with a particular focus on the shaping forces of collaboration, communication, and culture.

Rebekka has worked as a technical writer and editor and process documentation specialist. She has authored numerous articles focused on content management in both best practices and peer-reviewed publications, and she regularly presents her research at both academic and industry conferences.

Christopher Gales, Splunk

Chris GalesChristopher Gales is the Director of Documentation for Splunk. He has been involved with the Center for Information-Development Management since 1999. Chris has 20 years of experience managing information development for end-user, enterprise, and developer audiences, in companies of all sizes.



Joe Gollner, Gnostyx Research

Joe is the Managing Director of Gnostyx Research Inc. (, a company he founded to help organizations to leverage content technologies to achieve sustainable business benefits. Over the last 25 years, he has led over 100 content management initiatives in a wide variety of industries including aerospace, defense, software, telecommunications, engineering, construction, education, publishing, government, and healthcare. He has been leading large-scale and leading-edge DITA projects for global enterprises since 2005. Blogging as the Content Philosopher (, he continues to explore how content and content processes can be better leveraged to improve how organizations operate, adapt, and manage themselves.

Jamie Roberts, IBM Corporation

James H (Jamie) Roberts is the Portfolio Manager for the IBM Knowledge Center family of products, including IBM’s new “one-stop shop” for technical publications on With over 25 years experience as a technical documentation strategist (and almost as long as a UA search strategist), Jamie has also been IBM’s TIE Content Board chair, and helped lead IBM’s overall technical content search strategy and implementation. Jamie is also an IBM user assistance leader and senior information architect (including work on the fundamental architecture for DITA), who also delivered the first releases of the Eclipse help and user assistance system to open source and within IBM. Jamie is also a researcher affiliated with University of Waterloo, and currently is also part-time faculty at York University, where he has been a teacher and program director for the Glendon College Technical Communication program since 1991.

Deb Roemer, Sigma Technology

Debbie Roemer is based in Silicon Valley and has 20+ years’ experience leading information development and training teams across NA, Europe, China, and India. She enjoys bringing skilled technical writers into software engineering teams, improving quality, speed, and productivity. Deb has steered her organizations through acquisitions and integrations, a DITA/CCMS transformation, outsourcing and offshoring, and the transition to Agile. She’s known for her ability to win executive support to drive improvement initiatives, and for her creative approaches to solving resource constraints. Deb believes that her most critical success factor is the ability to quantify and promote the strategic importance of information and its impact on key business metrics.

Chona Shumate, Cymer

Chona Shumate has been a senior manager of the technical publications group at Cymer, Inc., a semiconductor company in San Diego, CA for the past 20 years. Prior to that, she worked as a technical writer for 8 years in Silicon Valley. She has a background in usability testing and topic-based/single-source information design. Among her recent projects, she implemented an XML/DITA/CCMS integrated system for developing, publishing, and repurposing large volumes of product information, as well as a solutions-based Field Portal for Cymer’s field service personnel. Chona also manages the Technical Training group, developing advanced training programs, and aligning the synergy between the two teams to focus on improving product performance for the customer.


The Advisor Emeriti members continue to offer their support and expertise to the CIDM –

Palmer Pearson, Independent

PalmerPearsonPalmer has earned a degree in both English and Electronic Engineering. Originally working as an R&D designer, he made the switch into technical publications early in his career to “have fun.” His main concentration of late is searching for innovative methods of sharing technical information. He has been a member of the CIDM Advisory Board for a number of years, as well as sitting on the Advisory Board for Curriculum Development at Middlesex College. He attended Wentworth Institute of Technology, Berklee College of Music, Boston State College, Boston University and Bridgewater State University. His past employers have included Digital Equipment, Analog Devices, Xerox Corporation, Cadence Design Systems, and BMC.