Dr. Wilma Davidson

Bulls Notebook: USFSM’s Dr. Davidson pens business writing book

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: December 04, 2015

SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 04, 2015) Perfectionists, procrastinators and writers of all styles will find apt tips on how to make their words flourish in Business Writing: What Works, What Won’t (St. Martin’s Press) by Dr. Wilma Davidson, a business and technical writing instructor at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Now in its third edition, Dr. Davidson’s guide to business writing provides help for getting started and finishing well. From writing emails to reports and memos — even tweets — all workplace communication is covered in her text.

Business Writing, on sale Dec. 8, employs a lively, colorful approach to the task of writing and offers a supportive style of learning because it:

  • Contains memorable before and after examples of business correspondence
  • Offers advice grounded in years of writing and the reality of the workplace
  • Focuses on the continuing mistakes by adults in the workplace, whether grammar, usage, vocabulary or tone
  • Demystifies the writing process so people can build self-confidence

Dr. Davidson lives in Longboat Key. She is a longtime business writing and presentation skills coach whose clients include major corporations. A university instructor, Wilma’s USFSM students are upper-level business and technical communication majors.

Beer-food pairing event proves ever popular

The 2015 Fall Semester Beer & Food Tasting Finale proved as popular as last year’s inaugural event, with students, faculty and guests sampling unusual and sometimes lavish pairings such as short ribs with white truffle-infused beer.

The event attracted about 100 to Selby Auditorium and came at the end of a 14-week science-of-beer class headed by chemistry instructor Dr. Ken Caswell and Joe Askren, an instructor and director at USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab.

Students learned about beer-making, toured microbreweries and set out to make their own beers with help from professional brew masters. Chef Garry Colpitts of USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab oversaw the event’s food preparation.

Guests heard from local brew masters – Sarasota-based Big Top Brewing Co., Bradenton-based Darwin’s Brewing Co., Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Co., and Green Bench Brewing Co. and Avid Brew Co., both of St. Petersburg – during a 30 minute question-and-answer session before shifting to the long-awaited tasting session.

For nearly two hours, they floated from table to table to sample the beer-food combinations, even seemingly weird ones, from a vanilla-banana-chocolate stout matched with waffles and conch fritters to a blueberry beer paired with grilled shrimp and corn salsa.

“We were going for a sweet and savory combination,” explained Jordan Bailey, a hospitality student who helped create the fizzy, sweet brew.

She said she once sampled a blueberry beer and liked it, which inspired her to make one herself.

Jaime Hernandez, a senior biology student, said the students enjoyed the beer class, but not for the obvious reasons. Many, he said, liked seeing the practical application of science.

“It was nice to see how that science is applied to the real world,” he said.

The most lavish of the entries was the brainchild of senior Dennis Metz, who with fellow students Alexis Brodil and Charlotte Bertha, used white truffles donated by New York-based Urbani Truffles USA in making a German Kölsch-style beer. Sarasota-based Big Top Brewing Co. made the beer with input from the students.

Their “Dark Horse” brew, bottled in pint-sized Champagne bottles, would fetch more than $200 each if sold retail, they said.

Metz, who developed the idea and contacted Urbani, said the beer contained shaved truffles, though he was mum as to how much and when the pricey Italian mushrooms were introduced during the three- to four-week brewing-fermentation process.

“I can tell you this beer was made in three stages,” he said.

The result is a delicate but distinctive truffle flavor.

Urbani, satisfied by the experiment, said it aims to move forward with a commercial product aimed at wealthy New Yorkers.

“I could also see this in Miami too,” said Sabrina Notarnicola, brand strategist for the specialty import company, who flew down for the tasting.

She wasn’t disappointed. The beer was paired with short ribs and polenta and took first place during the food-beer pairing tasting finale.

There were two, student-made runners-up:The Ginger Snap Baltic Porter paired with crème brulee came in second. Students Daniel Yarke, Nicole Mason and Megan Cadmus created that beer.

The third-place finisher was the Spicy Saison ale and pork slider combination. Students Anthony D’Urso, Sean Gast, Edgar Bischoff and Rafael Brinett brewed that particular beer.

“All of the beers were excellent,” Askren said.

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