NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program sparks media interest

NCRA's Discover Steno: Explore. Consider. Learn

NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program, introduced last year, is steadily gaining interest by the public and the media. In addition to programs in more than 16 states, most recently media outlets in New York and Wisconsin highlighted the effort.

Good Morning Rochester, Rochester, N.Y., aired a piece on Sept. 19 that featured NCRA Director Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, an official court reporter from Webster. The story highlighted what Bonn does as well as emphasized the current need for court reporters and captioners. A second story that also featured Bonn provided insight into what it takes to enter the profession and included information about the A to Z programs she leads in her area.

On Sept. 14, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., showcased NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Harshaw, who will begin an A to Z program in October. The story notes that Penfield is running the program because she “considers [court reporting] the best job she’s ever had, and she wants to get more people interested in her field.”

NCRA Past President Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, Worcester, Mass., developed the A to Z program to help those outside the profession experience steno by learning to write the basics. She graciously turned the program over to NCRA. Since then, NCRA’s Education Department has successfully worked at the grassroots level to promote the effort.

The six-to-eight week course is available at no cost to participants. Volunteer leaders host the sessions, and participants use loaner machines that have been donated by others in the profession.

To learn more about the A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program, visit NCRA.org/education or TheJCR.com/tag/a-to-z-program, or contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.

NCRA member recognized

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Sept. 3, The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, Ind.) announced the election of NCRA member Tonya Kaiser, RPR, CMRS, to the NCRA Board of Directors. The announcement was generated by a press release issued by NCRA on Kaiser’s behalf.

Read more.

Sutton notches pro Fellowship

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Town of Paradise Valley Independent and the Scottsdale Independent both reported on Aug. 30 that the National Court Reporters Association awarded Doreen Sutton, FAPR, RPR, fellowship in the Association’s Academy of Professional Reporters. Sutton is a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Scottsdale, Ariz., and NCRA Vice President. The stories were generated by a press release issued by NCRA on Sutton’s behalf.

Read more.

Get to know your NCRA Board of Directors

NCRA’s Nominating Committee has offered its candidates for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors. The following outlines the candidates’ qualifications for members to prepare for voting. As provided in the bylaws, additional nominations are possible if received within 60 days after publication of the Nominating Committee slate. The date by which additional nominations were to be received by May 6. No additional nominations were received. The following slate of Officers and Directors will be elected by acclamation to their respective offices during the Annual Business Meeting in Las Vegas.

Nominations will be presented to the NCRA membership for vote on Thursday, Aug. 10, at the Annual Business Meeting, 8:30–11 a.m. Pacific Time, as part of the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

In accordance with NCRA’s Bylaws, the President-Elect automatically succeeds to the office of the President.

WillettePresident

Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC

Wausau, Wis.

Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, has been a court reporter and NCRA member since 1985 and owns Willette Court Reporting in Wausau, Wis. Willette has served on the NCRA Board of Directors for four years, as its Vice President, and is currently President-Elect.

She has served on numerous NCRA’s committees and task forces and has played an active role in advocacy to external stakeholders.

Willette has been an NCRF Angel for many years and is an Ethics First member.

Willette is a member of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association and has served on the association’s Board of Directors and as its president. She also has served on many of its committees and task forces, organized its first realtime contest, managed its website, presented seminars, planned conventions, and contributed to its quarterly newsletter. Willette is the recipient of WCRA’s Distinguished Service Award.

While volunteering for her state association, Chris was a NCSA delegate from Wisconsin for a number of years and served on the NCSA Governing Board. She has participated in NCRA’s Legislative Boot Camp and Leadership training program multiple times.

TerryPresident-Elect

Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR

Springfield, Ohio

Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, is a court reporter from Springfield, Ohio, and is currently NCRA’s Vice President. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters. She has been a court reporter since 1975, reporting arbitrations, proceedings, conventions, administrative hearings, public utility hearings, large environmental cases, patent cases, tobacco cases, and other cases with highly technical or medical testimony.

Terry is a past president of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) and the StenoCAT Users Group and received both groups’ Distinguished Service Award. She served on advisory committees for Gigatron Software Corporation, LiveNote (Thompson West Corp.), and Clark State Community College of Court Reporting. As a trainer, Terry helped many reporters transition to realtime reporting by improving their translation rates and mastering their CAT software. She taught at the Stenotype Institute.

She led seminars for OCRA, NCRA, the StenoCAT Users Group, and many state court reporting associations. In addition, Terry has spoken before the Ohio State Bar Association, the Connecticut State Bar Association, and the American Trial Lawyers Association. She has also served as a faculty member of the Ohio Judicial College for the Ohio Supreme Court.

SuttonVice President

Doreen Sutton, FAPR, RPR

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Doreen Sutton, FAPR, RPR, is a freelance reporter with 25 years of experience and the owner of DS Reporting in Scottsdale, Ariz. She has covered depositions, arbitrations, mediations, and has grand jury and CART experience, as well as per-diem experience reporting for the various superior court venues in Arizona. She has served on NCRA’s Test Advisory Committee, Chair of the Student Committee, and in various other volunteer roles, including two terms as Secretary-Treasurer, and as a contributor to the JCR.

Sutton is a past president of the Arizona Court Reporters Association and has also served as editor of its membership publication and as co-chair of its Student Seminars. In 2013, she was awarded the ACRA Distinguished Service Award. In 2017, Sutton was awarded the JCR Award for an individual member in multiple categories. Sutton holds certifications in the states of California and Arizona. Prior to entering the court reporting profession, Sutton worked in the areas of banking, bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting.

DibbleSecretary-Treasurer

Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC

Woodland, Utah

Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, has 29 years of experience in the courtroom and deposition arena. Currently, she is a freelance reporter and CART and broadcast captioner in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to that, she reported in Memphis, Tenn. She holds the Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. She has qualified in both the National Speed Contest and National Realtime Contest.

At the national level, Dibble completed a three-year term on the Association’s Board of Directors. In addition, she has served as an NCRA Chief Examiner. Dibble has served on NCRA’s Political Action Committee Governing Board and as a Board liaison for NCRA’s Technology Education, Realtime Systems Administrator, Technology, and CRC Committees. She has also been involved in NCRA’s TRAIN program and served as a delegate to NCSA. She has been a member of NCRA since 1988.

At the state level, Dibble has served on the Board of Directors for the Utah Court Reporters Association and was honored in 2013 with the organization’s Distinguished Service Award. She has also held membership and served as Director of the Western District for the Tennessee Court Reporters Association. Dibble has also served as a presenter at numerous state and national events.

A person may serve as NCRA Secretary-Treasurer for three consecutive terms. Dibble has been nominated to serve as Secretary-Treasurer for a second term.

BonnDirector (three-year term)

Meredith A. Bonn, RPR

Webster, N.Y.

Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, has been a court reporter since 1990 and was named official senior court reporter for the New York State Seventh Judicial District, Rochester, N.Y., in 2007. From 2000 to 2007, she served as an official court reporter for the same court, and prior to that, she worked as a freelance reporter from 1990 to 2000.

She is an active member of the New York Court Reporters Association and currently serves as its President. She served as chair of NYSCRA’s 2014 Convention Committee. She is actively involved in promoting the court reporting profession and has volunteered at a number of middle and high school career events. She also presented at Careers in the Courthouse programs. She is creator and presenter of The Power of the Positive Attitude and has presented it twice at NCRA and NYSCRA conventions. She is also a leader of the Steno A to Z program in Rochester, N.Y.

HenniganDirector (three-year term)

Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI

Springfield, Ohio

Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI, has been in the court reporting profession for 28 years working as a reporter in varying fields and has served as the program coordinator and only full-time faculty member in Clark State Community College’s Judicial Court Reporting Program for the past 15 years. She also owns and operates a scoping and proofreading business serving the court reporting profession. During her tenure at Clark State, Hennigan has also provided open captioning services and captioning training videos.

At the national level, she has served as a test grader for NCRA for the past 11 years as well as serving as a committee volunteer and chair for several committees. She has attended the Association’s Legislative Boot Camp and a number of its annual and TechCon conferences. Hennigan is also a past Board member of the Ohio Court Reporters Association and was recognized in 2010 as Ohio’s Outstanding Associate member.

KaiserDirector (three-year term)

Tonya Kaiser, RPR, CMRS

Fort Wayne, Ind.

Tonya Kaiser, RPR, CMRS, is president and owner of Summit City Reporting, Inc. She is also a working reporter, covering depositions, hearings, and meetings. She started as a freelance reporter in 1999, working for Mehler & Hagestrom in Cleveland, Ohio, until 2006 when she joined the firm’s sales and marketing team.

At the national level she serves on NCRA’s Test Advisory Committee. She also holds the Realtime Systems Administrator and Trial Presentation Professional certificates. Kaiser is a past president of the Indiana Court Reporters Association and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Valparaiso University.

Want to vote? Sign up now

"I voted" sticker with American flag

Photo by Vox Efx

NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws permit members to cast their votes in contested elections and on bylaws amendments via secure, online means, even if they can’t attend the Annual Business Meeting at the Convention & Expo. But to exercise the right, members must have an active email address on file in NCRA’s membership database. This will enable NCRA to keep you informed if a contested election or amendment is coming up for a vote and provide information on how to register and cast your vote online. Members who are eligible to vote will be able to sign on to the secure website and then vote through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period.

Please make sure that NCRA has an active email address in the database by July 15. Contact the Member Services and Information Center at 800-272-6272, or update your NCRA account at NCRAsourcebook.com and follow these instructions:

  1. Log in with your Member ID number and password. If you forgot your password, click on the “Forgot/Reset Password” link to follow the instruction prompts.
  2. Select “My NCRA” and then “My Main Profile.”
  3. Make any necessary changes to your email address.
  4. Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen to save your updates.

In order to be able to vote on the amendments, individuals must join NCRA or provide an updated email to NCRA by July 15. Voting will occur in conjunction with the NCRA Annual Business Meeting in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Members may cast their votes regarding Bylaws amendments and on any two-party elections to the Board of Directors via their phones, tablets, or computers. Voting will begin within two hours after the close of the Annual Business Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 10, from 8:30–11 a.m. PT. Voting is open for 12 hours.

NCRA announces 2017-2018 slate of nominees

NCRA announced the slate of nominees selected by its Nominating Committee to serve in 2017-2018. NCRA’s membership will vote on the nominations at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 10-13, in Las Vegas, Nev.

The slate of officers includes:

  • President-Elect: Sue A. Terry, RPR, CRR, Springfield, Ohio
  • Vice President: Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah

Also nominated to serve three-year Director terms are:

  • Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, Webster, NY
  • Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI, Springfield, OH
  • Tonya J. Kaiser, RPR, CMRS, Fort Wayne, IN

Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, Wausau, Wis., will automatically succeed to the office of President.

Support NCRA’s mission and consider serving on the Board of Directors

JCRWeekly_CallforNomsDo you have what it takes to help lead NCRA and the court reporting and captioning profession into the future? Or do you know someone who does? Then consider attending a no-obligation board service webinar that will be held Jan. 10, 2017, at 8 p.m. ET, and learn how you can influence the future of the court reporting and captioning profession. Candidates can also dial into the webinar using a phone: United States (toll-free): 877-568-4106 or United States 224-501-3217, access code 114-887-501. The webinar is designed to provide members interested in serving on the board with a better understanding of the process and expectations during the nominating period. The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing after its live presentation.

Learn more about serving on the NCRA Board of Directors.

Don’t miss your chance to vote in this year’s election

Photo by Vox Efx

Photo by Vox Efx

The deadline to join NCRA or provide an updated email to NCRA in order to vote in the 2016 elections is July 15. Learn more about voting here.

Voting begins within two hours after the close of the Annual Business Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 8:30–11 a.m. CT.  Voting is open for 12 hours. The Annual Business Meeting will be live-streamed for members who are unable to attend, and a transcript will be available shortly after the event concludes.

Members can access information about the candidates in contested elections through the NCRA 2016 Election Center. This information includes bios and videos for each candidate. Learn more here.

The NCRA Elections Committee will host a live telephone town hall forum for the upcoming 2016 Board of Directors’ elections on July 14 at 8 p.m. ET. The audio of the town hall will be available shortly after the session concludes. Learn more here.

Note that NCRA uses Constant Contact for email marketing, and opting out of one type of email will result in opting out of all types of emails, including the email that alerts members when voting is open. Contact membership@ncra.org if you are unsure if you’ve opted out of Constant Contact emails.

NCRA Elections Committee to host town hall candidate forum

BoD contested electionsTo assist its members in making an informed decision in the upcoming elections, the NCRA Elections Committee will host a live telephone town hall forum for the upcoming 2016 Board of Directors’ elections on July 14 at 8 p.m. ET.

All candidates running in a contested election will be participating. Members who wish to attend should RSVP at elections@ncra.org in advance to ensure that a sufficient number of phone lines are accessible for call-ins. The town hall will be recorded, and the audio for listening/playback will be available shortly after the session concludes.

The Elections Committee is asking NCRA members to submit questions to the candidates. For more information on how to submit a question to the candidates and the deadline dates, please visit the NCRA Election Center.

NCRA Director Rick Levy, RPR, honored with FCRA’s highest award

NCRA Director Rick Levy accepts the FCRA Distinguished Service Award

NCRA Director Rick Levy (left) accepts the FCRA Distinguished Service Award from FCRA Past President Cathy Phillips

Rick Levy, RPR, a firm owner from Miami, Fla., was recently named recipient of the Emily Mann Distinguished Service Award by the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA). The award is FCRA’s most prestigious award and recognizes the recipient for his or her exceptional qualifications and experience in the field of shorthand reporting while contributing in a meritorious manner to the welfare of the association. Levy also serves on NCRA’s Board of Directors.

Levy, a firm owner since 2003, previously worked as an independent contractor for Mudrick, Witt, Levy & Consor, where he handled reporting assignments, including worker’s compensation, personal injury, commercial litigation, and construction defect cases both in depositions and hearings, as well as numerous jury trials.

“Rick has served the board in every position, including as president,” wrote FCRA member Holly Kapacinskas, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Debary, Fla., who nominated Levy for the award. “He has always stepped up to help any committee, board member, or FCRA member when asked because, as he says, ‘I know how hard it is to get someone to say they’ll help, so I’m willing to help.’”

Kapacinskas also noted in her nomination of Levy that he has worked tirelessly in his passion to encourage, mentor, promote, and sponsor students. She said that Levy also actively gives presentations at court reporting schools, bar association meetings, and to law school students.

“To be selected by one’s own peers to be awarded my state association’s highest award is the ultimate honor and one I will cherish forever,” Levy said.

“Being chosen to receive the Emily Mann Distinguished Service Award this year is very humbling as I hold the past recipients of the award in the highest esteem and am honored to now be among them. To be recognized by your state association for all your time, hard work, and true dedication is very appreciated and validates the many hours I have given to FCRA over the many years,” he added.

At the national level, Levy has also served on NCRA’s Nominating and Elections committees, the Freelance Community of Interest, the New Markets Task Force, and as Chair of the Firm Owners Executive Conference.

“Rick, in his quiet manner, is always encouraging and promoting reporters and the court reporting profession and has contributed greatly to the welfare of FCRA over a sustained period of time, which is what this award is about,” Kapacinskas also wrote in her nomination of Levy.

The FCRA Distinguished Service Award is named in honor of the late Emily L. Mann, a longtime member of the association. During her career as a court reporter, Mann also led presentations at NCRA events, taught court reporting to students for more than 40 years, and authored a number of textbooks about court reporting. She passed away in 1999 at the age of 88.