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.

Additional Board of Directors nominations accepted until May 9

The 60-day period during which additional nominations may be submitted for the Board of Directors has begun. Additional nominations must be received by 5 p.m. ET on May 9. Only voting members in good standing, i.e. those voting members who are current in their NCRA dues obligations, are eligible to sign a petition (Article VIII, Section 8c). All signatures will be verified by NCRA. If a petition is received at the deadline and it is determined that there are less than 100 signatures of voting members in good standing, the petition will be disregarded. If you wish to have signatures verified prior to the deadline, NCRA must receive the petition and signatures by May 2. If you have further questions, please contact Laura Butler at lbutler@ncra.org.

NCRA announces 2016-2017 slate of nominees

NCRA announced the slate of nominees selected by its Nominating Committee to serve in 2016-2017. NCRA’s membership will vote on the nominations at the Association’s 2016 Convention & Expo later this year.

The slate of officers includes:

  • President-Elect: Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, Wausau, Wis.
  • Vice President: Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Michele R. York, RMR, Arlington, Va.

Also nominated to serve three-year Director terms are:

  • Kristin Anderson, RPR, San Antonio, Texas
  • Huey Bang, RMR, CRR, Pass Christian, Miss.
  • Roy “Max” Curry, Jr., RPR, CRI, Franklin, Tenn.

Nativa P. Wood, RDR, CMRS, Mechanicsburg, Pa., will automatically succeed to the office of President.

NCRA Board of Directors to mark 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week

2015-2016 NCRA President Steve Zinone sitting on courthouse stepsMembers of NCRA’s Board of Directors are putting the finishing touches on their plans to celebrate the 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, which kicks off Feb. 14 and runs through Feb. 20. This year’s event marks the fourth year NCRA has sponsored the weeklong event dedicated to raising public awareness about the court reporting and captioning professions.

“I’ve been invited to speak to members and guests of the Captioning & Court Reporting Club at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, and am planning to be there on Feb. 17,” said NCRA President Steve Zinone, RPR, an official reporter from Pittsford, N.Y. “It’s great that the school has started a club that works to raise funds to support its members’ memberships. I plan to share with them the importance of being involved in their state and national associations, as well as my personal experience of being a court reporter.”

NCRA President-Elect Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, a freelance reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa., said she has plans to be working at the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association’s booth on Feb. 19 when the group exhibits at the state’s guidance counselors convention being held in Hershey, Pa.

Across the nation, NCRA members and state associations will also work to secure official proclamations citing the week-long celebration, including NCRA Immediate Past President Sarah Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official reporter from Jefferson, Ohio. “I worked with fellow Ohio reporters again to seek to have Gov. John Kasich recognize the week here in our state. We were fortunate to have him recognize it in 2015 and are confident that he will again,” Nageotte said. She added that she also plans to change her Facebook profile to mark the event.

Meanwhile, NCRA Vice President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter and firm owner from Wausau, Wis., said she’ll once again join forces with local officials and host an after-work gathering at a local restaurant where they will play fun games, such as trying to decipher one stroke briefs.

Finally, in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA Secretary-Treasurer Doreen Sutton, RPR, a freelance reporter and firm owner from Scottsdale, Ariz., said she is planning to offer a free introduction to steno theory in the Phoenix area to anyone who is interested in learning the basics. “If after the course they wish to move forward, then I will help them to become enrolled in a real school.”

Celebrating 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week is easy

NCRA has made available an array of resources and marketing materials specific to members, schools, and state associations to help them celebrate 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Resources and other items can be found at NCRA.org/Awareness and range from template press releases and instructions on how to distribute them to the media, to talking points, advertisements, official logos, sample proclamations, social media tips, activity ideas, and more. There is also more information on past events at TheJCR.com/tag/crcw/.

As always, be sure to share how you celebrate the week by emailing photos and descriptions to pr@ncra.org.

Immediate Past President Sarah Nageotte encourages service on the NCRA Board of Directors

JCRWeekly_CallforNomsThe date for the submission of nominations for the 2016-2017 Board of Directors is drawing near!

Do you have what it takes to help lead NCRA and the court reporting and captioning professions into the future? Or do you know someone who does? NCRA voting members should submit their nominations — or nominate themselves — no later than next Tuesday, Jan. 19.

NCRA needs candidates for the board who believe in NCRA’s mission and are willing to be active in their governance roles. The tasks we have before us have never been more important than they are today, and service on the board is a sure way our members can have a valuable part in moving NCRA and our profession into the future.

Learn more about board service, including the job descriptions for each Board of Directors position, on NCRA.org/nominations. You can also view an informative webinar designed to provide members interested in serving on the board with a better understanding of the process and expectations during the nominating period.

I encourage all voting NCRA members to reach out to their fellow members in their local areas and state associations and recommend candidates. NCRA cannot thrive without the service of highly qualified volunteers. Please consider participating by volunteering to serve on the board or by recommending someone you believe can make a difference in our future.

Submit all nominations to boardnominations@ncra.org. Please be sure, as a courtesy, to directly contact the person you are planning to nominate prior to submitting their name.

The Nominating Committee and I sincerely thank you for your participation!

Immediate Past President Sarah E. Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CRC

Jefferson, Ohio

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 Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at 8 p.m. Eastern, 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): 877-309-2070 or United States 312-757-3119, access code 586-587-013. 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.

“Each summer, NCRA’s new Board of Directors begins work on behalf of the Association and profession. We are seeking candidates for the board who believe in NCRA’s mission and are willing to be active in their governance roles,” said NCRA Immediate Past President Sarah Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CRC, and chair of the Association’s Nominating Committee.

“The tasks we have before us have never been more important than they are today, and service on the board is a sure way our members can have a valuable part in moving NCRA and our profession into the future,” she added.

In finding the best candidates to serve on the next Board of Directors, the Nominating Committee relies upon active NCRA members who have an understanding of the qualities of leadership needed to help move the Association forward. Click here for more information and the job descriptions for each board position or to watch the webinar.

“We are encouraging all voting NCRA members to reach out to their fellow members in their local areas and state associations and recommend candidates. NCRA cannot thrive without the service of highly qualified volunteers. Please consider participating by volunteering to serve on the board or by recommending someone you believe can make a difference in our future,” Nageotte said.

NCRA members interested in declaring their candidacy for a board position, or who want to recommend someone they believe is qualified to serve, should submit their recommendations by Jan. 19, 2016 to boardnominations@ncra.org. Please be sure, as a courtesy, to contact the nominee directly prior to submitting their name.

Get to know NCRA Board of Directors nominees

NCRA’s Nominating Committee has offered its candidates for the 2015-16 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 must be received is June 14.

Nominations will be presented to the NCRA membership for vote on Thursday, July 30, at the Annual Business Meeting, 8:30–11 a.m. Eastern Time, as part of NCRA’s 2015 Convention & Expo at the Hilton New York Midtown, in New York. Final voting on any contested elections will be conducted electronically on July 30 following the NCRA Annual Business Meeting.

StevePRESIDENT

Stephen A. Zinone, RPR

Pittsford, New York

Stephen A. Zinone, RPR, is an official court reporter from Pittsford, N.Y., who has served as Director, Secretary-Treasurer, and President-elect of NCRA. He started out freelancing in 1983, working as a reporter in the Monroe County Town Courts and in the deposition arena. In 1989, he was employed by the Monroe County D.A.’s office as a grand jury reporter, where he worked until 1997. He spent the next three years working in federal court for the Western District of New York. Since 2001, Zinone has worked for the New York State Unified Court System in the 7th and 8th Judicial Districts, and he is now assigned to the Ontario County Courts.

A member of NCRA since 1986, Zinone has served on its Finance Committee, Communication and Outreach Committee, and the Cost Comparison Task Force. He also served on the New Affiliates Task Force Committee in 2008.

Zinone is a member of the New York State Court Reporters Association, the StenoCAT Users Group, the United States Court Reporters Association, Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting, and the National Association for Court Management. He first served on the board of the New York State Court Reporters Association in 2002, including as its president in 2008. He also served on the Board of Directors of the StenoCAT Users Group for several years.

 

TivaPRESIDENT-ELECT

Nativa P. Wood, RDR, CMRS

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Nativa P. (Tiva) Wood is a per diem court reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa., who holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Diplomate Reporter and Certified Manager of Reporting Services. Before retiring in early 2015, she had served as chief court reporter for the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas since 2003. Prior to that, she served the same court as an official court reporter from 1977 to 2003. Wood was honored with the designation of Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters.

Wood is a long-time member of NCRA and has served on its Board of Directors since 2012. She has also served on an array of NCRA’s committees including Placement, Insurance, Convention Planning, Nominating, and the National Committee of State Associations Resolution Committees. Wood has also served on the General Appeals Task Force and the Steno Opportunities in the Courts Task Force. She is a past member and chair of NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters and the Committee on Professional Ethics. In addition, Wood has served on the Board of the National Court Reporters Foundation and as its chair. She is also an NCRF Angel.

Wood is an active member of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association. As its president, she successfully lobbied for a public hearing on licensing for court reporters and testified before the Pennsylvania Senate Professional Licensure Committee. She has spoken on behalf of PCRA to a Pennsylvania Superior Court subcommittee investigating the computerization of the courts and the impact of court reporting technology. In addition, she was one of several speakers at the unveiling of the NCRA-sponsored computer integrated courtroom in the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, which was covered by affiliates of NBC, CBS, and ABC.

 

ChristineVICE PRESIDENT

Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CCP

Wausau, Wisconsin

Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CCP, has been a court reporter since 1985 and is the owner of Willette Court Reporting in Wausau, Wis. Willette has served on the NCRA Board of Directors for four years, as well as on a number of the organization’s committees, including the National Outreach Committee, CLVS Council Board Liaison, the Freelance Community of Interest, and Committee on Professional Ethics.

Willette also served as a National Committee of State Associations delegate from Wisconsin for a number of years and on the committee’s Governing Board. She has participated in NCRA’s Boot Camp and Leadership training programs. Willette is an NCRF Angel. She has been a member of NCRA since 1985.

Willette is a member of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association and has served on the organization’s Board of Directors and as its president. She 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.

 

SECRETARY-TREASURER

Doreen Sutton, RPR

Scottsdale, Arizona

Doreen Sutton is a freelance reporter from Scottsdale, Ariz., with 23 years of experience. She holds the professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter and has covered depositions, arbitrations, and mediations. She also has grand jury and CART experience, as well as per-diem experience reporting for the various superior court venues in Arizona. As a member of NCRA, she has served on the association’s Test Advisory Committee and in various other volunteer roles. She has also served as a contributor to NCRA’s membership publication, the JCR. Sutton has been nominated to serve a second term as NCRA Secretary-Treasurer.

Active at the state level, Sutton is a past president of the Arizona Court Reporters Association and has also served as editor of its membership publication, ArizoNotes, and as co-chair of its Student Seminars. In 2013, she was awarded the ACRA Distinguished Service Award. 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.

 

DIRECTORS (Three-year term)

MikeMichael E. Miller, RDR, CRR

Friendswood, Texas

Michael (Mike) Miller has spent his 20-plus-year career pushing the limits and being a vocal advocate for freelance reporters, rising to the level of “self-appointed reporting superhero” due in large part to his website, Depoman.com, and frequent speaking engagements. Like most reporters, Miller spends his days banging those keys with the hopes that today’s witness learned English in Omaha rather than in Bangalore. Miller has traveled with his machine to most corners of the world, reporting arbitrations in Reykjavik and depositions in Bangkok. Most recently, he has been providing immediate copy on a special assignment.

Miller holds the professional certifications of Registered Diplomate Reporter and Certified Realtime Reporter, and he was honored with the designation of Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters. Additionally, Miller is certified in California, Louisiana, and Texas. He is past president of the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting. He is co-creator and original lead presenter of the NCRA Realtime Systems Administrator certificate program.

JenniferJennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CRI

Dayton, Minnesota

Jennifer Sati has been a court reporter since 1985 and holds the professional certifications of Registered Merit Reporter, Certified Realtime Reporter, Certified Broadcast Captioner, Certified CART Provider, and Certified Reporting Instructor. She is from Dayton, Minn., and currently serves as program director and instructor for judicial reporting and broadcast captioning at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn. She continues to caption professionally and also leads the school’s annual Veterans History Project event, which honors local veterans and captures their wartime stories.

A member of NCRA, Sati currently serves on its Council on Approved Student Education and as a chief examiner and proctor for the CRR, CBC, and CCP NCRA Skills Tests. At the state level, Sati was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and the Instructor of the Year in 2005 by the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters and Captioners. She is a frequent presenter and contributor to the association’s conventions and its membership publication. Sati is a past vice president and secretary of the Minnesota Freelance Court Reporters Association, which has since merged with MAVRC.

LindaLinda K. McSwain, RPR

Mobile, Alabama

Linda K. McSwain is an official court reporter from Mobile, Ala., with more than 20 years of experience as a freelance and official court reporter. She holds the professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter, as well as the Alabama Certified Shorthand Reporter. McSwain has also worked as a freelance reporter taking depositions and covering public hearings. She has been awarded multiple certificates of appreciation for producing accurate, timely, and completed transcripts.

She has held membership in NCRA for more than 20 years. McSwain has served on the National Committee for State Associations for more than four years. She currently holds the position of NCSA Vice Chair. In that capacity, she has presented seminars at State Leadership Conferences and NCRA Conventions. In addition, McSwain has also been a participant in NCRA’s Leadership Training, Legislative Boot Camp, and State Leadership Conferences.

McSwain has been involved with the Alabama Court Reporters Association, of which she is still a member. She has served on various committees for ACRA, including as past president. During her service, she worked to help develop certification for the Alabama Court Reporters Association.

Membership dues increase proposed for 2016

At its April 2015 meeting, the NCRA Board of Directors recommended that a proposal to increase dues be put before the membership for vote at the Annual Business Meeting. The proposal is for reporter dues to be raised to $270 and associate dues to $160. Student dues will not be increased and remain at $65.

The board’s recommendation must be approved by a majority of the Voting Members present at the NCRA Annual Business Meeting on July 30 in order to go into effect.

Join NCRA’s army of volunteers

Wondering how you can help lead the association dedicated to advancing the court reporting and captioning professions? NCRA Board of Directors nominations are now open, and the Association is in the process of selecting qualified candidates to serve as officers and directors for 2015–2016. The deadline to submit nominations is Feb. 17. Nominations should be submitted to boardnominations@ncra.org.

“My career as a court reporter is unimaginable without my career as a volunteer,” said Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, NCRA Immediate Past President. “I have worked with the brightest minds in our profession to debate, strategize, and plan our future. It has shaped me.”

To learn more about the rewards and commitments of board service, join NCRA for a Q&A webinar session on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 9 p.m. EST. The session will help those interested in volunteering gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the board.

Be sure to bring questions for the committee chair, president, and executive director who will facilitate the session. Please contact Laura Butler at lbutler@ncra.org or 800-272-NCRA to participate in this webinar.

“More than 30 years ago, I learned to say yes; I raised my hand and volunteered. I wanted to work for a cause I believed in. There’s never been a better time to be involved in NCRA, and I’m happy to celebrate the continuing spirit of volunteerism that makes us strong,” Varallo added.