By Rob Phraner
My sister, Jill Wells, RMR, CRR, an official in Wellington, Fla., was urging me to attend the 2021 NCRA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. “Just go,” she said. “We’ve been inside for over a year with COVID-19, and we can have fun in Vegas between sessions.”
Jill is a 30-plus year court reporter who started in family court in New York and now works in federal court in Florida. I remember her practicing with her metronome when she was a student at the Cittone Institute in the late 1980s.
I decided to get a booth. I worked for Edward Jones, an investing firm that helps people plan for retirement, and Jill said court reporters could use some retirement and investment information. So I brought things to display and flew out from Tennessee to Vegas.
“Besides,” Jill said, “you might meet someone out there. I have a feeling you will!”
Setting up that first night at Planet Hollywood was fun, meeting other people staffing booths from around the country. The next day I walked past a booth with three ladies there and asked what they did. They said they did interpretation and translation work. They said their company, Horizon Legal Solutions, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., provides interpreters and translators for court sessions and legal documents all around the country.
Karina De La Cruz, the CEO of Horizon, and I hit it off and we became friends. As the months progressed after the Conference, we both learned we would be going to the 2022 NCRA Conference in Orlando, Fla. She would have a booth again, but this time I would be a speaker in a session that helped reporters plan for retirement. I was pleasantly surprised that so many reporters were awake and there at my 8 a.m. Saturday morning session! Orlando, like Las Vegas, was a huge success and a lot of fun to attend.
As the months passed, Karina and I began to see each other and really appreciated and liked each other. Our relationship blossomed and we got engaged a few months ago while in Paris, France. I retired from Edward Jones recently and began transitioning to Florida. Horizon Legal Solutions hired me as Chief Administrative Officer. The CEO gave me a good reference.
This year in Houston things came full circle. I was now working at the booth for Horizon Legal Solutions and enjoyed meeting the many reporters there, some who remembered me from speaking in Orlando last year, and some who remembered me from my booth in Las Vegas. This year Karina spoke at a session – with my sister, Jill – on “How court reporters and interpreters work together.” I was the emcee and passed the microphone around; it was special for me to be presenting a session with my fiancée and my sister. The NCRA Conferences have literally been life-changing!
Special thanks to outgoing NCRA President Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, who stopped by my booth in Vegas, spoke to me in Orlando, and also sat in on the Houston session (and gave excellent examples of the importance of good translating).
Houston was amazing this year. Everyone should plan on attending the NCRA Conference & Expo in Louisville, Ky., in 2024. You never know what great things will happen at an NCRA Conference!
Rob Phraner is Chief Administrative Officer of Horizon Legal Solutions and Language Pickup, LLC. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Karina De La Cruz is CEO of Horizon Legal Solutions and Language Pickup, LLC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phraner and De La Cruz are based in West Palm Beach, Fla., and will be married soon!