Peace on Earth

Garbl's Writing Center

About Me

Gary's Good Cause Communications

Gary B. Larson, Retired Photo of Gary Larson in Seattle, December 2006

Port Townsend, Washington

Highlights of Qualifications

  • Extensive award-winning experience in creating and managing public, news media, employee, online, customer and student information programs.
  • Strong skills in writing, editing, publications production, plain language/plain English, project planning and management, news media relations, website management, event planning, supervision, photography, graphic design, marketing communications, training, and lobbying.
  • Strategic thinker with proven skills in developing marketing communication programs that meet an organization's mission, goals, timelines, and constituent needs.
  • Experienced in using social media and other online tools to inform people, promote action and support integrated marketing communications programs.
  • Recognized by peers for professional achievement, community involvement, personal character, and contributions to organizational communication.
  • Strong interest in citizen action, current events, progressive solutions, civil rights, human services, environmental protection, education, the arts, and music.

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Skills, Knowledge and Abilities

  • Writing and editing--writing and editing newspaper articles about schools, labor negotiations, local government, police and fire departments, community activities and personalities; ad copy, brochures, newsletters, news releases, speeches, talking points, and web pages about government proposals, decisions, projects, events and services; feature articles about human service agency clients, programs and fundraising; environmental and technical documents about construction, transportation and water-pollution-control projects.
  • Project planning and management--developing communications plans and messages; advising management, staff and volunteers on communications strategies; leading community relations, information production, fundraising, marketing and volunteer teams.
  • Publications production--planning, implementing and coordinating the production of a weekly community newspaper and annual reports, brochures, displays, editorial style manuals, fact sheets, flyers, newsletters, postcards, posters and other materials for nonprofit and public agencies.
  • Plain language/plain English--developing information and advising staff on methods to make written materials clearer, more concise, more interesting, and easier to read, understand and use.
  • News media relations--developing news media strategies and messages; writing news releases and speeches; serving as agency liaison with the news media; coordinating responses to news media questions; training management and staff on news media relations.
  • Online communications--using social media to inform and influence individuals and groups; planning, designing and updating websites for public agencies and a professional organization.
  • Photography and graphic design--taking pictures for newspapers and organizations; producing audiovisual programs for a nonprofit agency; designing newspaper pages and annual reports, brochures, newsletters, and other materials for nonprofit and public agencies.
  • Employee communications--managing employee communication program; planning, writing and coordinating production and distribution of monthly, weekly and daily publications.
  • Training and advising--teaching business communications at a technical college, journalism at a community college, and clear-writing and news-media interviewing skills at public agencies.
  • Supervision--Recruiting, selecting, directing, advising and evaluating editors, freelance writers, graphic designers, information distributors, interns, marketing communication specialists, and warehouse staff; planning and managing budgets; reviewing materials for editorial and brand consistency.
  • Marketing communications--creating and placing advertising; managing development and implementation of graphic branding; managing advertising, graphic design, hardware-fabrication, and research consultants and consultants.
  • Event planning--supporting, organizing and publicizing public/media events, including news conferences, opening ceremonies, audiovisual programs and panel discussions.
  • Lobbying and advocacy--tracking legislation for a public agency, monitoring legislative hearings, helping plan strategy, and meeting with legislators and staff during a legislative session; supporting progressive candidates and campaigns through personal and group efforts.

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Employment History

Chief of Information Production and Distribution

  • Metro Transit Division, King County Department of Transportation, Seattle, Washington, 2006-2011

Supervised graphic designers, marketing communications specialists, information distributors, and warehouse staff. Developed and coordinated communications plans. Managed budgets. Reviewed materials for editorial and brand consistency. Managed graphic design and hardware fabrication contractors/consultants. Served on project/program teams.

Public Information Officer/Lead Media Planner

  • Wastewater Treatment Division, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Seattle, Washington, 2002-2006

Coordinated news media relations, developed communications plans and messages, planned media events, edited publications, wrote news releases and speeches, managed division research and marketing consultant, provided writing guidance to staff and consultants, and managed websites. Also led development and maintenance of an online editorial style manual for all county employees:

Senior Editor, Community Relations and Communications

  • King County Department of Transportation, Seattle, Washington, 1996-2002

Planned, wrote, edited and coordinated production of public information and employee publications for the Metro Transit and Road Services divisions. Also wrote, designed and managed department, program and project websites; developed and designed publications.


  • ITT Technical Institute, Seattle, Washington, 2000-01 (part-time, evenings)

Taught business communications classes at Tukwila campus, covering the writing process, elements of effective communication, and writing effective business correspondence, reports and proposals.

Acting Chief of Information Production

  • Metro Transit Division, King County Department of Transportation, Seattle, Washington, 1999

Supervised staff that produces timetables, brochures, signs, transit passes, maps and other service information to help customers ride the bus.

Senior Editor, Transit Department

  • Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro), Seattle, Wash., 1991-95

Planned, wrote, edited and coordinated production of public information, community relations and management publications; designed publications; and supervised freelance writers. Also chaired Employee Suggestion Board and Employee's Combined Charities Campaign Committee.


  • Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro), Seattle, Washington, 1991 legislative session

Tracked legislation, monitored legislative hearings, helped plan strategy and met with legislators and legislative staff. Temporary assignment.

Senior Editor/Editor

  • Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro), Seattle, Washington 1985-90

As senior editor, planned, wrote, edited and coordinated production of public information and community relations publications for transit and wastewater-treatment capital projects. Also supervised editors and interns.

As editor, coordinated employee communication program and planned, wrote and supervised production and distribution of bimonthly, weekly and daily publications.

Public Information Officer/News Media Relations Specialist, Communications Division

  • Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro), Seattle, Washington, 1980-84

Supported transit and water pollution control functions by coordinating responses to news media questions, serving as agency liaison with the news media, writing news releases and speeches, developing news media strategies, advising management and staff on news media relations, and supervising assistant and interns.

Associate Public Relations Director

  • United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, Portland, Oregon, 1978-80

Planned, wrote, edited and designed newsletters and annual reports; coordinated news media relations; wrote news releases and public service announcements; took photographs and produced audiovisual programs; and supervised PR assistant. Organization serves four-county area around Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.

Staff Writer/Photographer

  • Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Washington, 1976-78

Wrote about county and city government, education, police and fire departments, and politics for a daily newspaper; took photographs; and designed newspaper pages.

Journalism Instructor/Student Newspaper Adviser

  • Seattle Central Community College, Seattle, Washington 1975-76 (part-time)

Planned and taught courses on news writing, reporting and newspaper editing, and supervised staff of a weekly college newspaper.

Teaching Assistant

  • University of Washington School of Communications, Seattle, Washington, 1974-75 (part-time)

Evaluated journalism student essays and exams, and advised students about news media practices.


  • Whidbey Island Record,Langley, Washington, 1972-74

Managed a weekly newspaper, determined newspaper content, wrote about local government, took photographs, designed newspaper pages, supervised associate editor and sold advertising.

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Education and Training

Master of Communication

  • University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, course work completed

Integrative program in administration

  • University of Washington, Graduate School of Business Administration, Seattle, Washington

Bachelor of Arts, double major in journalism and political science

  • Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington
    Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities

Seminars, study and workshops

  • Advertising, audiovisual programs, cable television, campaign organizing, computer literacy, conflict resolution, database applications, desktop publishing, evaluating and planning communication programs, fundraising, HTML, interpersonal communication, leadership skills, managing change, news media relations, organization communication, presentation software, project management, publication design, public speaking, supervision, web page design, and word processing.

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Associations and Affiliations

Plain Language Association InterNational (PLAIN)

  • Past member, Executive Committee/Board of Directors
  • Past email discussion group moderator and past website manager

International Association of Business Communicators/Pacific Northwest Chapter

  • Past president
  • Past vice president for professional development
  • Past chair, Pacesetter Awards Committee
  • Communicator of the Year

Boys and Girls Clubs of King County Inc.

  • Volunteer annual reports editor/designer

United Way of King County

  • Volunteer Communications Contest chair
  • Communications Committee member
  • Worksite Campaign Coordinator

Community and political action organizations

  • Volunteer in communications planning, media relations, newsletter writing, event planning, public speaking, social action, fundraising, leadership positions

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Garbl's Writing Center

  • Website manager for a free online editorial style and usage manual, plain language writing guide, concise writing guides, and bookshelf of recommended writing references. Online since November 1997.
  • Other websites: About Me | Photography

Contact Information

  • Email:

Updated Jan. 23, 2020.

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