by Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President
JOIN THE HUNT!
As the newly elected president of AAERT, it is an honor for me to assume this office, and I pledge to do my best to further the mission of AAERT. My intent is to share my personal message with each of you as members over my term as president.
If you were unable to attend our AAERT 2016 conference in Phoenix, I look forward to meeting and chatting with you in person in 2017. Months before our Phoenix conference and while the snow was still flying, Executive Director Mike Tannen and T-TEAM together with our conference committee put together an outstanding program. The speakers and their presentations were informative and professional. I gathered new ideas and new insight into areas that are relevant to our work as reporters and transcribers. Vendors demonstrated their technical products. Speakers engaged our imaginations by projecting the future of court reporting, I met members and attendees from all over the world. Why not start planning now to attend AAERT Conference 2017? Where will we convene? AAERT 2017 will meet at the Marriott Northwest at Galleria, Atlanta, Georgia, a 10-minute stroll from the glorious new complex, The Battery. The location hits the bull's eye for conference, dining, sightseeing, and family activities. For a preview, go to http://batteryatl.com/#experience.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge our immediate past president, Buck Ewing. During Buck’s two years as president, he took on and directed some mammoth tasks. He responded to our members’ needs with the creation of educational school standards, the first AAERT-approved curriculum and school, and the rebranding of our association. He tirelessly fought for the one-director amendment to the bylaws and established CEUs available online at an affordable cost to our members. These are just a few of his many accomplishments. I want to truly thank Buck for his time, his outstanding service and his dedication to our association.
What does the future look like for AAERT? From its inception in 1992, AAERT has cultivated its membership, its objectives, and the valuable content offered to members. We have attained a respected and professional standing across the United States. Our certification and testing procedures are now utilized by reporters and transcribers in other countries. In the early days, people such as Bill Wagner, CET; Karl Fuss, CET; Connie Rill; Steve Townsend; Jan Harris, CER, CET; Jim Bowen, CER; and others led the pack and blazed the trails. The activity was intense and time consuming.
Now that we have arrived at 2016/2017, AAERT will begin the implementation of the 4DX or 4 Disciplines of Execution. Our main focus is to provide heightened efforts to test and certify more members. All committees are developing goals and objectives designed to take AAERT's mission to the next level.
The Education Committee, chaired by Betsy Ertel, already has an industrious plan in the works. In addition to her 4DX or Four Disciplines of the Excellence management system goals, her hand-picked committee members will be reviewing schools and programs for approval. To provide easy and affordable access to CEUs, her committee will be actively building our CEU material in an online library through our newly acquired Learning Management System or LMS.
The Certification Committee, chaired by K.C. Corbin, CER, CET, will be working to increase the number of her committee members. This will help to minimize the time it takes to obtain results from the transcriber practical exams. AAERT's Best Practices Guide will be reviewed and examined in depth by K.C. and her committee for updates and suggested changes. My goal is to add to the guide by incorporating and addressing court reporting in the freelance market. More details will be forthcoming.
Our Membership Committee is chaired by Lisa Dees. Lisa brings vast experience to the table. She has worked in the courtroom as an official reporter, outside the courtroom as a freelance court reporter, and as a firm owner. In addition, she has experience as a vendor for digital recording solutions. Her committee will work closely with the other committees to increase and enhance membership through the 4DX process.
Rick Russell is the chair of the Government Relations Committee. Last spring, Rick and Mary Ann Lutz, CER, CET led the fight for electronic court reporting in the California Family Courts. California Assembly Bill 1834 was tabled to hold the bill in committee without a vote. The war still rages on in many states that oppose alternative methods of court reporting. There are still states that have stenotype-only rules that prohibit alternative methods of court reporting. Rick and his committee members are charged with making progress in those states and with government agencies and to work aggressively for adoption of our certifications.
Heading up our Communications Committee is a long-time volunteer, the Editor-in-Chief of The Court Reporter and former office holder, Gail Malm Armstrong, CER, CET. Gail has done a fantastic job chairing the Social Media and Newsletter committees in the past. She brings great experience and knowledge about our profession that she shares with us daily. She truly is a bibliophile and professional. I look forward to working with her this coming year in spreading the word about our profession.
The ad hoc committee on Bylaws, chaired by Attorney Linda Rohman, will review our official Bylaws. She, along with Buck Ewing, will recommend changes that need to be made to our bylaws to bring them current with today’s standards. Buck will also be working with Linda to create our Policies and Procedures Manual. These efforts will assure compliance and keep the legal requirements for our association up to date and relevant.
I am happy to announce that AAERT has renewed its relationship with T-TEAM Management. Mike Tannen, CSEP and his team including Sherry Simmons, CER and Maria Tannen, provide the critical support our association requires to run successfully throughout the year. Mike will be taking a larger role in our Atlanta 2017 conference program. I am excited about this opportunity. We hope to assemble a group of presenters and vendors that will amaze yet educate you. Plan now to attend AAERT 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Finally, I plan to bring new opportunities to our members. This will include AAERT's continued advancement into the freelance court reporting market. A recent study conducted by Ducker Worldwide entitled Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report, states that there will be a shortfall of 5,500 court reporters nationally by 2018. The largest segment in our industry is the freelance reporter, approximately 72%. This huge, billion-dollar market is virtually untapped by electronic court reporters. AAERT will augment our certification programs by helping to educate our members on the skills needed to fill the projected shortage of court reporters. Digital recording has become the record of choice now in many courtrooms and venues. The benefits for our members include a multitude of job opportunities and the income to match those opportunities whether it is in the official or the freelance market.
Be assured that AAERT's leadership has perseverance, the drive to work, and the focused attentiveness to accomplish these lofty goals. Future opportunities are an open door for those who educate, train, and certify. If you have not volunteered to work with one of our committees, please reach out to any AAERT board member or any committee chairperson. Whatever you can offer, whether it be a few hours, suggestions, or ideas constitute a valuable contribution to our committee work. The rewards are knowledge, networking, camaraderie, and the satisfaction that you have contributed to your profession.
A skilled hunter is passionate, motivated, patient, focused, endorses strong ethics, and enjoys the journey as much as the catch. As AAERT's newly elected President, join me, the Hunt, in the hunt.
Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President