AAERT's 2015 Annual Conference was a tremendous success! So many diverse presentations, both informative and practical, were offered by people from around the world.
This year's conference truly began Thursday afternoon with our exhibitors presenting on their products individually in an Exhibitor Showcase, as well as en masse in the exhibition hall.
Friday morning was the start of our lectures and workshops. Following AAERT President Buck Ewing's opening remarks, Minnesota State Court Administrator Jeff Shorba provided a Minnesota welcome to conference attendees.
Then Judge Jamie Anderson of Hennepin County District Court gave an informative and entertaining presentation on how the new generation of judges -- those under 50 -- approach the electronic courtroom with relative ease, embracing the technology as it unfolds.
Next up was Dana Bartocci presenting on personality types using the Myers-Briggs format. All participants took the personality type assessment in advance so we came in ready to explore how we could use our strengths and personality traits in the workplace. We sorted ourselves according to four scales: introvert/extrovert, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. Ms. Bartocci talked about how to blend different personality types in the workplace, and how understanding the temperaments of your coworkers can help you work harmoniously together, and how managers can use this information to plan projects, blending complementary personalities for maximum success. Her presentation was interactive, fun, and very enlightening.
This year, we had an opportunity to hear from members during a segment called Industry News and Announcements. We heard about several court reporting and transcription educational programs that are opening, as well as heard the news that the South Carolina courts are going digital and more.
Ms. Charlotte Pache of DTI (formerly Merrill Corp.) presented on Courts Around the World. She compared her native Australian court systems with those in the United States, England, Ireland, Hong Kong, India, and more, addressing the way they create their record, the costs incurred, and how it impacts their backlog of cases -- or lack thereof in some instances!
Shay Cleary from the Minnesota State Court Administrator's Office and AnnMarie O'Neill from the Minnesota Court of Appeals presented on E-Filing in the Courts, focusing on Minnesota's new e-filing system that begins with a training component for all who request access and has a very user-friendly interface allowing lawyers, court reporters, and others easy access to the docketing system. While it is currently a voluntary program, it will become mandatory soon, minimizing so many issues related to delays in docketing.
This presentation was followed by an overview of the History and Development of the Hennepin County Central Monitoring Room given by Cheryl Wallat. Hennepin County was given AAERT's Court Recognition Award in 2012, recognizing their success in supplying high quality digital court reporting remotely from their central monitoring room, with one reporter serving several courtrooms simultaneously. We then walked over to the Hennepin County Government Center to see the Central Monitoring Room live. What a fabulous setup!
Saturday was kicked off by Judge Gerald Seibel of Stevens County, Minnesota, who spoke of his transition to digital through the years.
Judge Seibel was followed by Mark Lanterman who presented on Computer Forensics. This unique presentation taught us about how secure -- or not -- our computers and phones are. Mark taught us how to protect ourselves against downloading viruses and how powerful computer viruses have become. The number one takeaway: don't use your debit card online because it's too easy for the number to be stolen and have your savings stolen. Mark said: "Leave your debit card at home!"
The next presentation was The Big Reveal! AAERT has a new logo that was revealed by Geoff Hunt and Jay Gross, CER. We will have a new web site to match soon, so keep an eye on www.aaert.org!
After lunch, we then had a lively Annual Meeting in which our bylaws were amended to include a directive that only one employee per company may serve on the AAERT Board concurrently.
This was followed by Lisa Dees and Tina Schaeffer, CER, CET presenting The Record: Capture to Transcription. Lisa discussed the various options for portable equipment available for court reporters and showed our membership her unique setup, highlighting tips and tricks for a professional and speedy setup and cleanup.
The conference was concluded with recognition given to outgoing AAERT Directors Margaret Morgan, CER, CET and Tonie Wallace. Additionally, a Professional of the Year award was presented to Kristen Erickson, CER, CET of Fargo, North Dakota for her commitment and professionalism as an official court reporter in the East Central Judicial District of the Supreme Court of North Dakota. Congratulations, Ms. Erickson.
Social opportunities abounded this year, starting with our opening reception Thursday night and ending with a pub crawl through Minneapolis and St. Paul on Saturday night.