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President's Message June 2019
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President's Message
by Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President


This will be the last time that I write to you as president of AAERT. It has been a great three years for me and for AAERT and our profession.

First on my list is to congratulate and welcome our newly elected board members. Jay Gross, CER and Jenni Burke, CER, CET are our newest additions to the board. Jen Metcalf Razzino, CER was reelected to her second term as director. Congratulations.

Since many of you will not be attending our annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky held on June 20-22, 2019, I want to share with you what we, your AAERT Board and Committee Chairs, have accomplished this past year. This is a time for me to provide information on what we have accomplished and the direction we are headed. I like to call it the State-of-the-Association. So, bear with me, get a cup of coffee and get comfortable. As I have reported to you in the past, all of our standing Committee Chairs, their committee members as well as the task forces that I have appointed have been extremely busy fulfilling their duties and responsibilities.

Your Certification Committee has had an active year and made great progress. K.C. Corbin, CER, CET and her crew completed the review and rewrite of our Best Practices Guide. The BPG is the very backbone of our certification process, and its revision was necessary and very timely. It has been a long-standing goal to provide certification testing that is easily accessible to our members. The transition to remote testing, from the comforts of your home or office, is continually improving. AAERT has contracted with Loyalist Exams for new remote testing services. Under this new relationship, foot pedals can now be used for the CET® Practical portion of the exams. This valuable service was not available a few years ago. With new interest from the freelance sector, certification testing is on the rise. There has been a 200% increase in certification testing issued over the past few years. This trend should continue to grow our number of certified members.

Our Communications Committee has been busy as usual spreading the word about electronic reporting and transcription. Gail Armstrong, CER, CET and her committee have published 12 issues of Sound Bytes this past year and posted thousands of messages on social media. In addition to her day-to-day communications, Gail is a valuable resource to the board providing industry-related materials to keep us abreast of events and news related items. A true bibliophile, Gail and her committee continue to provide a means of reaching out to our members and audience.

One of the trends that has been receiving a great deal of attention this past year is the shortage of court reporters, particularly in the freelance sector. To meet the growing demand for skilled court reporters, a robust educational system training digital reporters and transcribers is critical. Our Education Committee, chaired by Betsy Ertel, has made great progress in this area. Schools are reaching out to AAERT requesting approval of their curriculum. Several new schools and programs have been approved this past year. This includes brick and mortar and online schools. In addition, our LMS platform for our CEU materials continues to grow. Again, the goal is to make continuing education credits accessible and affordable for our certified members.

As with any association, there are also challenges. This past year, anti-digital court reporting legislation attempted to gain momentum. Rick Russell, chair of our Government Relations Committee responded. From California to Virginia, AAERT’s voice was heard supporting our best practices and fighting against changes that were not in our interest. To assist the Government Relations Committee with their monitoring task, a legislative monitoring service has been purchased. This valuable tool will help monitor court reporting legislation and pending changes nationwide. Our goal is to prevent markets from closing on electronic court reporting and opening new job opportunities.

Recently, the Membership Committee Chair, Jen Metcalf Razzino, CER, proposed a change to our Bylaws for the Corporate Member category. The new language that was approved by a membership vote is more inclusive. This new language no longer requires a Corporate Member to be “actively engaged” in electronic court reporting. The new language states, “who work with and/or support the business of electronic reporting and/or legal transcription”. Now, those who are engaged in the court reporting profession, regardless of method and who support ER, can join our ranks if they choose to do so. This entitles them to one voting membership. Changes like this are made in response to new interest in ER and AAERT. This new interest contributes to our membership ranks growing approximately 25% over the past few years. This growth trend continues to gain momentum.

The Reciprocity Task Force and the Educational Alliance have made their contributions as well. Greater communication between AAERT and the court reporting community at large has opened up. A better understanding of AAERT and our technology has been shared with firm owners, practitioners, and educators. These two task forces were the driving force behind the success of this year’s Executive Forum Conference. In years past, the Executive Forum Conference attendance has been limited to ER firm owners. We changed the format and opened it to all firm owners for all methods of reporting, educators, and courts. The Conference Committee, chaired by Gillian Lawrence, CER, CET, created a two-day program that showcased our best practices and technology to a very receptive audience. It was a huge success. It is important for AAERT to continue sharing our message with this audience where we can demonstrate our role as the leader with court reporting technology.

The Bylaws and Policies and Procedures Committee, chaired by Linda Rohman, has continued to meticulously update our administrative documentation. This difficult and detailed task provides us with the structure or rules, if you will, to run this association. Although never completely finished, these documents provide a solid foundation for AAERT and are in good working order.

I want to recognize the importance and role that our management company plays in the day-to-day operation of AAERT. We are an association comprised of volunteers with frequent changes in leadership. It is important for an association to have continuity and strong management of its operations. Mike Tannen and T-TEAM Management have been a source of guidance and stability for me and our members. T-TEAM’s staff is knowledgeable, professional, and maintains a strong historical perspective of our dealings. My sincere thanks for their support these past few years.

These are just a few of the many accomplishments your leadership have made this year. AAERT has made great strides over the past 26 years. Building any structure includes initiative, planning, and execution. In the same manner, AAERT drew the blueprint, constructed a solid infrastructure, and executed a plan. AAERT continues to build the electronic reporting and transcription profession.

None of the accomplishments would have been possible without a great team working together to keep AAERT and our practices progressive. If you ask, what does my association do for me? I hope that I have answered your question. We have a front row seat to the evolution of court reporting. We are here because we embrace new technology and do not shy away from it or feel threatened by it. We need to take advantage of new opportunities that lie ahead, embrace the technology, and adapt when and where necessary.

It has been my great pleasure to serve AAERT and the electronic court reporting profession. I strongly believe that there has never been a better time to be an electronic reporter or transcriber.

Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President




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