Our Distinguished Speakers for 2021

ASI 2021 Conference—Speaker Biographies

Nan Badgett
Nan Badgett, dba Wordability, has been providing freelance indexing services to publishers, authors, and corporate clients since 1992. Her work is focused on trade books and textbooks in a wide range of subjects. She is a past ASI board member (2018-2020) and chaired the 2014 ASI/EIS Publishing award (now the ASI Excellence in Indexing Award).

Connie Binder
Connie Binder has been a freelance indexer for over 20 years, indexing scholarly, trade, reference, and kids books, in a variety of subject areas. She still gets a thrill when she figures out a new technique for speeding up the data-entry process.

Michele Combs
Michele Combs is the Lead Archivist at Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center, a freelance editor and indexer since 2006, and a voracious reader on the topics of information classification and organization.

Daniel Heila
Daniel Heila is an ASI member indexer living in the Pacific Northwest. He is also a member of the PNW Chapter, the lead member for the Gardening and Earth Sciences SIG, and editor of the ASI newsletter See Also. After completing the UC Berkeley course, he added indexing to the list of services offered via his copyediting business Best-Ever Edit. As a musician and composer with a master’s degree from the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance and as a gardener with over 20 years of experience, his indexing focuses are home/garden/kitchen/food and all things music related. In addition, he is an arts journalist and writer of short fiction.

Fred Leise
After twenty-five years in arts management, Fred Leise started his indexing career with the University of Chicago Publishing Program's introduction to indexing course in 1993. Since 1995, he has been indexing nearly continuously (with time out for taxonomy consulting), specializing in scholarly works in the humanities and sciences, including international relations, cultural and political history, and contemporary social issues among many other topics.

He is a founding member of the Institute of Certified Indexers, an instructor for the University of California, Berkeley Extension Division online indexing course, and has served several terms on ASI’s board of directors, including two terms as president. He was a recipient of ASI's Hines Award in 2019.

Fred regularly presents at both national and chapter events and has written a number of articles on various aspects of indexing for both Key Words and The Indexer. He is especially proud of his article on Sherlock Holmes as indexer, which appeared in the fall 2013 issue of the Baker Street Journal.

Heather Pendley
Heather Pendley is a freelance indexer specializing in biography, business, finance (due to her accounting degree), and self-improvement texts. She has written for Key Words, enjoys embedding indexes, and is always looking for new growth opportunities.

Devon Thomas
Devon Thomas is a past president of ASI and has been indexing for 15 years. She works in a variety of fields and formats, and while she still prefers back-of-the-book indexing, much of her work is embedded. She lives in Chelsea MI and enjoys gardening and cooking.

Peter Rooney
Peter Rooney is an indexer with over 50 years of experience in the field of publishing. Founder of Magnetic Reports, he specializes in art information: creating inventories, catalogues, catalogues raisonnés and book indexes for artists, dealers, collectors, museums, scholars, and art publishers. He also designs proprietary indexing and cataloging software. He is a member of the American Society for Indexing (ASI), of which he was the first Executive Secretary, and is presently Archivist.

Julia Rooney
Julia Rooney is a visual artist and arts educator. Though rooted in painting, her practice often bridges other disciplines, including writing and collaborative projects. She holds an MFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Yale School of Art and a BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College. She has exhibited her work widely throughout the US; received grants and teaching fellowships through Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, More Art, and the Yale Prison Education Initiative; and in 2021/22 will be doing residencies at MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) and The Joan Mitchell Center (New Orleans, LA).