writing for the workplace case

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1. Gathering More Information

Write a one-page document to Techniks managers E. F. Black and J. St. Cloud that will be attached to an email message that explains your situation and need for information.

Maggie pokes her head into your office at 2 p.m. and asks, “How are you coming?”

You explain the fact that you are waiting to hear back from Techniks and show her the email attachment you sent. “Well, I was hoping to have a rundown of all of these folks by tonight so we could maybe have all of the information we gather in some sort of decipherable table before tomorrow morning’s meeting. I won’t really be able to read long memos during the meeting, so give me the information in a format that is easy to digest so I can present it in a coherent fashion to our group. But if you don’t hear back from these folks by 5, why don’t we just scratch them off our list?”

Luckily, you receive a phone call from James St. Cloud in New York at 4 P.M. Because he is between meetings and you are facing a deadline, the conversation is brief but cordial. You are convinced, based on his genuine enthusiasm on the phone, that St. Cloud is indeed interested in the potential for teamwork on this project. St. Cloud gives you the following information:

● His firm was established in 1984 and employs 22 full-time engineers; 20 architects (five of whom are contract employees who come on for specific projects); seven city planning/participation experts; and six management staff with professional backgrounds in engineering, architecture, and city planning.

● St. Cloud believes that the firm’s specialties lie in downtown development and urban planning. He cited several successful redesign projects in cities like Stratford, Ontario; Vancouver; Park City, Utah; and Reno, Nevada.

● Techniks has successfully teamed up with a wide variety of firms on different projects including numerous public walkways and three suspension bridge projects. St. Cloud noted that several engineers employed with Techniks had a “moderate to considerable” experience with suspension techniques. In fact, he noted, one employee had been called in by the Kansas City Star to consult on the failure of the Hyatt Regency suspension walkway in 1981.

● If Lowe & Company is interested in meeting to discuss a team approach, Techniks could send representatives no sooner than late next week, because the firm is tightly booked at the moment with pressing jobs.

Your general sense from the phone conversation is that St. Cloud is amiable and interested in the project. However, your concerns are twofold. First, you worry that such a large firm could easily “swallow” Lowe & Company in a project such as this. While you need their expertise, Lowe & Company cannot afford to lose the high-profile potential for this job. Therefore, Lowe & Company needs to team up with an organization willing to share responsibility. You cannot discern from your brief conversation with St. Cloud whether this is possible with Techniks. Second, Techniks seems to be established or at least in particularly high demand at the moment. You worry a little about the firm’s availability.

2. Summary Task

Write a memo to Maggie Lowe detailing the information you gained from James St. Cloud as well as your assessment of the phone conversation. Because Maggie has told you she wants to draw this information together in some sort of readable format such as a table for the morning’s meeting, pay special attention to designing the memo so that she may easily extract the particulars and details during the meeting without having to read a great deal of text.

3. Formal Correspondence

After a discussion at your morning meeting, Lowe & Company employees agree that the best plan, at least tentatively, is to pursue the team approach with one of the firms you and your colleagues have contacted. Bids for the city project are due in City Hall in three weeks. Maggie has agreed to fly James St. Cloud and an associate to Milwaukee to discuss the partnership further. Write a letter to Techniks (attn: James St. Cloud, Manager) explaining the importance of a face-to-face meeting and the urgency of the impending deadline. Explain the offer to fly St. Cloud and an associate to Milwaukee. You may make up street addresses for your formal correspondence, though do be mindful as to the cities in which the firms are located.

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