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President's Message December 2016
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President's Message

by Geoffrey L. Hunt


As the year comes to an end, we are all looking forward to the holidays and spending time with our family and friends. I want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

This past week, an American hero passed away. John Glenn was the first man to orbit the earth in Friendship 7. He served 25 years in the United States Senate. He was a fearless pioneer. As members of AAERT, you also are pioneers exploring the changing field of court reporting. Court reporting is a multi-billion-dollar industry and includes officials working in the courts, freelance reporters in the deposition and administrative conference rooms, and transcription. As digital reporters, we have only begun to explore the new markets that are available to us. With that in mind, give some serious thought to exploring new opportunities for you in the future with digital court reporting. There will be more on that subject to come.

Since my last message, I am happy to report that the Government Relations Committee, chaired by Rick Russell, has recently published a White Paper “Analysis and Advantages of Digital Court Reporting and Recording in the Courts, Deposition, and Administrative Hearings Markets.” This very important document has been several years in the making. Hundreds of hours of time and effort were expended researching our industry and our profession. The goal was to inform the judiciary, court administrators, state legislatures, and the legal community about digital court reporting and its advantages. The paper referenced numerous documents prepared by state and federal courts as well as independent consultants. In each instance, the research came to the same conclusion; the electronic digital court reporting model is more economical, reliable and more accurate than alternative methods of preserving the record. If you have not done so, visit our link where you can download this paper. Offer copies to your judges, administrators, and attorney clients. Let’s spread the word about the future of court reporting and how digital court reporting will play an ever-increasing role.

The Bylaws Committee, chaired by Linda Rohman, has been reviewing our bylaws and will be recommending changes for our board members to review at the January meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Linda’s committee is painstakingly reviewing every line of this important document. This will update the rules that we use to conduct the day-to-day business of the Association and lay the groundwork for the creation of a Policies and Procedures manual.

Betsy Ertel, chair of the Education Committee, will be releasing the first of our CEUs through our Learning Management System, LMS, on our website. This project is in response to members’ requests to have easy and affordable access to CEU material. The first units will be available in December of 2016. Additional content is being compiled so that members can fulfill their CEU requirement through our website. Betsy comments, “The Education Committee has been working hard for you this year. We now have the LMS system up and running...YAY! This has been ingeniously conquered by our administrative staff through many weeks of a learning curve. We are now beginning to add material content to supply your CEU requirements. You are going to love this AAERT membership perk. Earning CEUs from the comfort of your own home, or wherever you may roam will easily keep you up to date for your credentialing needs. As we move forward working together, there will be much more content to choose from. Stay tuned because it will only get better.”

On the education front, Tonie Wallace, past AAERT Director and Education Committee Chair, informs me that Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, Virginia will begin classes in January. This is the first AAERT-approved curriculum based on our standards being taught at an accredited institution. This is a six-week program teaching digital court reporting and transcription. Included in the program is preparation and sitting for our certification testing. Online classes will also be available at a later date. The culmination of this project has been several years in the making. Way to go Tonie!

You have been receiving our newly updated newsletter. Gail Armstrong, Communications chair, has increased the number of publications of The Court Reporter from a quarterly to monthly publication. Each edition will be shorter, but will keep you up to date on industry news. A new addition will include a short update from a committee chair. This will create visibility for each committee and let the membership know that the chairs and committees are working diligently to accomplish the multiple goals that are part of AAERT’s mission. Gail’s committee was also instrumental in the editing and distribution of the white paper. Thanks to Gail’s hard work and the assistance of her committee members, the Communications Committee is stronger and more effective at spreading the news about AAERT than ever before.

K.C. Corbin’s Certification Committee has compiled the Reporter and Transcriber Digital Exam and Retake Exams. Testing is taking place in November and December, 2016.

Arrangements are in the works for our annual conference this June in Atlanta, Georgia. If you are a transcriber or court reporter considering working in the freelance court reporting field, this conference will be a must-see. Mike Tannen, Executive Director, and his team with T-TEAM Management are working to provide an excellent program. Plan to attend.

As I mentioned in my last President’s Message, the largest segment of the court reporting industry is in the freelance reporting field. This accounts for 72% of a multi-billion-dollar market. There is a projected shortfall of 5,500 court reporters nationally by 2018. Recent articles have been written about the shortage of court reporters in South Dakota and Texas. Our community of digital reporters and transcribers are best suited to fill the growing demand for court reporting in this market. Educational programs are becoming available for digital court reporting and transcription. Our certification programs are easily accessible since we have moved to regionally-based testing centers. These two essential components provide the tools necessary to quickly grow our profession and meet the demand for certified digital reporters. I ask our transcriber members, is becoming a court reporter in your future?

Lastly, I want to ask each of you to consider serving your Association. John Glenn said, “We are more fulfilled when we are involved in something bigger than ourselves”. Participation is not only fulfilling, but extremely educational. Reach out and become an active member and volunteer today.


 

President, AAERT

geoffhunt@courtreport.com


 

 

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