Kris Petrin Feko
Education/Training, TPC Alumni, Manufacturing/Industry
By Shane Logan
Starting with a goal to get a degree in Secondary Education, Kris Petrin Feko was introduced to the then new path of Scientific and Technical Communications in the early 1990s. The week after graduating with her degree in English from Northern Michigan University, she drove down to Ferris and met with Sandy Balkema and Tom Brownell to talk about a degree in technical and professional writing.
One of Kris’ major influences is Sandy Balkema. “She's one of the few -and maybe the only-professor I had who could ‘talk the talk and walk the walk’” Kris says of Sandy. One of her other major influences was a dear friend of hers who was a professor at Northern, Teresa Kynell.
Kris is now Senior Training Specialist for Carlson Marketing Worldwide in Troy, Michigan. She currently writes training for Ford Motor Company. Depending on the time of the year, Kris’ workload varies. She spent all spring and summer updating 2010 vehicle model year web-based training and certification testing for Ford. She is currently working on vehicles for the 2011 model year. But she says “There are always little ‘fires’ that need to be tended to - something that may have been completed a month ago comes back to you for a small edit.”
The core of Kris’ responsibilities involves writing product web-based training on Ford cars and crossovers. It generally takes her 3 days to write a 60-page web-based training course, and 5 days to write a certification test for that course. Once a course and test is written, a big part of her day involves making edits to that work. Sometimes the product information has changed; other times the client does not want to discuss a particular feature. To start her day, Kris reads emails and consumes A LOT of coffee. Lately her work has been filled with a lot of “fly by the seat of your pants” work. She can go from writing about a specific vehicle to writing about a different vehicle because the information is “hot” and due by the end of closing.
One of the most fulfilling parts of her job is developing the web-based training courses and watching them unfold online. “Our creative department is amazing” she says. “I can just give them an idea for a web page, and they can bring it to life.”
Her day usually ends around 4:30 or so when she goes home and does homework with her kids and gets supper ready for her family.