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.

NCRA Board candidates’ videos now online

Your vote counts. There are three positions coming up for the election at the August NCRA Annual Business Meeting. The positions are Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, and one of the director’s positions for the 2016-2017 Board of Directors.
The candidates for Vice President are Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Sue A. Terry, RPR, CRR, Springfield, Ohio.
The candidates for Secretary-Treasurer are Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah, and Michele Melhorn York, RMR, Washington, D.C.
The two candidates who are running for one of the three-year director positions are Christine Phipps, RPR, North Palm Beach, Fla., and Huey Bang, RMR, CRR, Pass Christian, Miss.
Learn about each candidate on the NCRA website, including their biographies and the candidate questionnaires. As a voting member, you can also view each candidate’s video. Click NCRA 2016 Election Center and log in with your member ID# and password.
Voting will open Aug. 4, 2016, for 12 hours following the NCRA Annual Business Meeting. Members who are eligible to vote will receive an email in advance with information on how to vote.
Please make sure that we have an active email address for you in our database by July 15. Contact the Member Services and Information Center at 800-272-6272, or update your NCRA account at NCRA.org. Look for “Renew or update your record” under the Membership Tools category.

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.

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

Save the date for great NCRA learning opportunities

calendar

Photo by: Dafne Cholet

NCRA staff members are planning great ways for members to earn CEUs this year. NCRA members can also earn CEUs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS exams. Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change).

Jan. 31             Cycle extension deadline

March 11-13   CLVS Seminar and CLVS production skills test, Reston, Va.

March 19-20   NCRA Board of Directors Meeting, Reston, Va.

March 20-22   2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp, Reston, Va.

April 4-20        RPR, RDR, CRC, and CLVS written knowledge test dates

April 17-19      2016 Firm Owners Executive Conference, San Juan, P.R.

July 9-21          RPR and CLVS written knowledge test dates

Aug. 4-7           2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, Chicago, Ill. (includes the Legal Video Conference, the CRC Workshop, and the National Speed and Realtime Contests)

Sept. 30           Submission deadline for CEUs and PDCs for members with a 9/30/16 cycle ending

Oct. 7-19         RPR, RDR, CRC, and CLVS written knowledge tests

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 14-20), Memorial  Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on NCRA social media as they are available. Watch for more information in the JCR, the JCR Weekly, and on TheJCR.com for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

NCRA opens its new doors to members

DSC_0048_BThe NCRA Board of Directors met Nov. 14-15 to discuss the business of moving the association forward. Among other topics, the board approved an update to the Code of Ethics and the Policies and Procedures Manual. In addition, the board approved an update of charges for the Nominating Committee to ensure that the committee will be able to find strong candidates for future slates. The board voted to shift the fiscal year from Oct. 1–Sept. 30 to Jan. 1–Dec. 31 beginning in 2017.

“Our Board Meeting was very productive, thanks to our talented staff who provided thorough and succinct information on a variety of topics, which enabled all the hardworking and dedicated board members to make well-informed, fact-based decisions on many different issues affecting our DSC_0065_Btimeless profession and NCRA,” said NCRA President Steve Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Canandaigua, N.Y.

Members from around the area and around the country came to visit NCRA headquarters for an open house on Saturday evening. The open house gave the attendees an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the new space as well as see where the day-to-day running of the association takes place. About 80 people attended, including the board, members of the association, staff, and family members. Photos from the event are available on Facebook.

“NCRA’s new headquarters is organized, efficient, and welcoming and quickly felt like a home away from home during the two days I spent there,” said Cheryl Haab, RPR, a freelancer reporter from DSC_0046_BVan Nuys, Calif. “Not only is the space a laudable testament to reporting history and technology with its impressive displays of machinery throughout the office, but the headquarters also nicely represents the level of professionalism that we have come to expect from our parent organization. On walls and desks and whiteboards throughout, the brilliants minds at NCRA have left evidence of their continuous brainstorming for the profession with Post-it notes, advertising concepts, and timelines delineating the history — and future — of our profession. I encourage any reporter in the area to take a few hours to stop by the new world headquarters and meet the friendly faces who staff it.”

NCRA’s offices have been designed to accommodate any members who are in the area and need a place to work, whether to simply check email or conduct business. With some advanced notice, all members are welcome to drop by and enjoy their “home office away from home.”

NCRA installs 2015-2016 Officers at NCRA Convention & Expo in New York City

BoDThe National Court Reporters Association announced that Stephen A. Zinone, an official court reporter from Pittsford, N.Y., was installed as 2015-2016 President during the association’s Convention & Expo being held in New York City, July 30-Aug 2.

Zinone, who holds the professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter, has served as an official court reporter for the New York State Unified Court System in the 7th and 8th Judicial Districts and is now assigned to the Ontario County Courts. He began his career in 1983 as a freelance reporter and worked as a stenographer in the Monroe County Town Courts, as well as in the deposition arena. In 1989, he began work in the Monroe County D.A.’s office as a grand jury reporter, and in 1997 he began work with the Federal Court for the Western District of New York.

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.

2015-2016 officers also installed include:

President-elect

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 the 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 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.

 

Vice President

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, a freelance reporter from Scottsdale, Ariz., with 23 years of experience, was installed to serve a second term as NCRA Secretary-Treasurer. 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.

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.

 

In addition, three new members of NCRA’s Board of Directors were also installed to serve three-year terms during the event. They were:

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

NCRA and NCRF nominations are open

Winter is nomination season at NCRA. The association asks its members to nominate anyone who they consider to be a qualified candidate for the following opportunities:

NCRA Board of Directors nominations are now open. NCRA 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, 2015. Nominations should be submitted to boardnominations@ncra.org.

Help lead the association dedicated to advancing the court reporting and captioning professions. Join NCRA staff and current leadership for a Q&A webinar session on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 9 p.m. EST, to educate yourself about the rewards and commitments of board service. This briefing will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. Bring your questions for the committee chair, president, and executive director who will facilitate this session. Please contact Laura Butler at lbutler@ncra.org or 800-272-NCRA to participate in this webinar.

Nominations for NCRF’s Board of Trustees are now open. Trustee members help raise funds, develop and implement the programs for which those monies are committed, think creatively with a giving spirit, and bring diverse perspectives and strategic vision to their Foundation service. Eligibility is open to all NCRA members and to members of the public. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 6, 2015. Click here for nomination form and complete details.

The purpose of the Distinguished Service Award is to encourage and recognize work amounting to distinguished service by individual members for the benefit of the reporting profession. A recipient of the DSA must be a Registered Member of NCRA, in good standing, or a Registered Retired Member who was a member in good standing upon retirement; cannot be an active member of the DSA committee or an active officer or director of the Association; and must have been involved in NCRA affairs on an extensive level, along with service to state and other reporting associations, public affairs and public relations, writing for association publications, and the advancement of the profession. Voting members of NCRA may submit nominations to dsa@ncra.org by Feb. 6. Click here for complete details.

NCRA is currently seeking nominations for Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters. Nominations are due Nov. 30. Fellows represent the pinnacle of excellence among NCRA members. They are individuals who are a credit to the reporting and captioning professions and embody the highest level of professional ethics. Their support of the profession can be seen in their activity in professional associations at the state or national level or through a number of other venues. If you know of such a person who has not been named to the Academy, now is your chance to recognize his or her contributions to the profession. View the full criteria and download a nomination form at NCRA.org/fellows.