Veritext Well-Represented at NCRA Annual Convention in Denver
By Jan Ballman, FAPR, RPR, CMRS
The halls of the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Denver were teeming with members of Team Veritext August 15-18, all in town for the NCRA Convention. The annual event brings together court reporters, captioners, CART providers, CLVSs, firm owners, and industry vendors, not just from across the country but from all over the world. Not only do convention-goers come to rack up copious Continuing Education Units; they also come to reunite with colleagues and reignite their careers.
The 2019 conference was appropriately themed “Soar To New Heights” and opened with the annual business meeting on Thursday morning. Approximately 75 members attended. Of note regarding items of business conducted, a majority of members present voted to accept the Board’s recommendation to raise dues by 11%, bringing standard membership dues up from $270 to $300. As well, there were seven bylaw amendments proposed, all of which passed, the two most significant of which were (1) to change NCSA’s name (pronounced NIX-a) from the National Committee of State Associations to the National Congress of State Associations; and (2) to allow state association affiliates that have memberships consisting of less than 50% stenos to have membership in/be recognized by NCSA. This amendment allows NCSA affiliates to have any percentage mix of “verbatim stenographic reporter, voice writer or captioner” members as opposed to the prior requirement that a majority of members had to be stenographers.
As is tradition, the convention was book-ended with official NCRA parties. Thursday night’s Welcome Reception officially kicked off the convention. Attendees mingled in the Expo Hall with each other and industry vendors who were displaying and demonstrating new and hip wares. This year, “the talk of the town” was Stenograph’s brand new Luminex II steno machine, which was revealed for the first time in the exhibit hall. According to those using the original Luminex, the “L-2” is mind-blowing in its advancements. It is always a big draw every year at convention and very exciting for reporters to have the opportunity to walk right up and test drive the newest steno machine models that are about to hit the market.
Friday morning at the “Premier Session,” the audience of approximately 1,000 met the newly installed 2019-2020 Board of Directors and heard from NCRA’s new president, Max Curry, a freelancer and firm owner from Tennessee. Max’s main message: Nothing stays the same. We must learn to embrace change if we are to survive, let alone thrive in any aspect of life, including our profession.
The keynote speaker was perhaps the most famous law clerk of all time, Erin Brockovich, who was made famous when Julia Roberts played her in the movie bearing her name. Erin played a key role in her law firm’s winning the largest verdict of its time—a $333 million environmental lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Erin’s main messages were: “Superman is not coming! We have to be proactive in finding solutions to the problem facing us in our lives and in our industry, because no superhero is going to swoop in and save us.” Also, “Do not fear disruption.” Every industry experiences it, she reminded us, and we should see disruption as a wake-up call and the catalyst to make necessary lane changes. Because without disruption to change our course, some of us will stay in the same lane forever, putting ourselves at risk to mindlessly drive our careers into oblivion. Therefore, “look at disruption as a good thing!”
The next two-and-a-half days were loaded with seminars of varying content directed at every class of professional. Attendees were offered many different “Learning Zones,” and it wasn’t hard to leave Denver with enough CEUs to carry one through to the next reporting cycle.
On Friday, following the conclusion of the educational offerings for the day, Veritext hosted a “Thank You Reception” for all reporters, videographers and firm owners in attendance from the Veritext team. The party was well-attended, and a great time was had by all!
The Saturday afternoon annual Awards Luncheon is arguably the highlight of the year for our profession, as it’s the time and place where the highest honors in our profession are announced and bestowed.
The 2019 Class of Fellows inducted into the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPRS) were announced as Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Susan M. Horak of Columbus, Ohio.
The highest honor bestowed by the National Court Reporters Foundation, The Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism, was presented to Mervin Vaughn, RPR, of Des Moines, Iowa.
The winner of the Real-time Contest (Most Accurate Reporter in the Land) was Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR, of Baltimore, Maryland; and the winner of the Speed Contest (Fastest Fingers in the Industry) was Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is truly phenomenal and awe-inspiring to see the type of talent that comes out and competes each year in these two contents. Here is a great article that covered the event that ran in The Denver Post.
The conference closed out with the newly reimaged Members Gala themed “Denim and Diamonds.” An incredibly wide array of outfits adorned with hats, boots and baubles were appropriately rocked, and attendees raised over ten grand for the “A to Z™” Program from pledges taken from the floor.
Next year’s NCRA Annual Convention will be held August 6th through 9th in Orlando, Florida! See you there!