Top reasons to visit Denver

NCRA’s 2019 Convention & Expo takes place in Denver, Colo., Aug. 15-18 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center.
Denver, The Mile High City, is a vibrant outdoor city located at the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Brilliant blue skies and 300 days of sunshine inspire urban adventures for all ages so be sure to register to attend this year’s NCRA premier event.

Whether you’re a foodie, sports enthusiast, a history buff, an art lover, or an avid shopper, Denver will surprise you with everything it has to offer. While at NCRA’s convention, be sure to take time between networking and educational sessions to visit the walkable downtown.

“Within a short walk of the Hyatt Regency you’ll find plenty to do on the 16th Street Mall. Boasting 42 outdoor cafés, a multitude of shops, a bustling nightlife scene, and a free shuttle bus called MallRide, the mile-long outdoor promenade is a perfect venue for your convention extracurriculars,” said NCRA member and Denver resident Matthew Moss, RPR, an official court reporter with Colorado’s 2nd Judicial District.

Moss also recommends visitors to Denver make the 10-minute walk from the hotel to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the nation’s largest non-profit theatre organization. “On evening nights throughout the convention the DCPA is scheduled to host legendary improv comedy enterprise The Second City, as well as the Broadway musicals including Chicago and Anastasia,” he says.

Closer to the 15-minute walking range from the hotel, there’s History Colorado Center, an award-winning tourist destination and a hub for learning and entertainment. The area features the Molly Brown House Museum, home to the famed Titanic survivor, actress, philanthropist, and activist, and a portal to Victorian Denver, and the Ralph Carr Building, home of the Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals as well as 11 major public art installations, Moss adds.

“If you’re up for exploring a little further from the hotel check out City Park, take a 10-minute Uber ride from the convention site to a sprawling public park in close proximity to the Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Planetarium, and the Denver Zoo. Further out, yet worthy of your consideration, are Red Rocks, the best small outdoor venue in America, and the park that contains it, as well as the Coors Brewery in Golden, the largest single-site brewery in the world,” Moss says.

NCRA member Brandi L. Burnett, RPR, also a Denver resident and owner of Burnett & Neilson Professional Reporters, notes that foodies attending the convention will find no lack of wonderful restaurants offering an array of tastes. She especially recommends her favorites, Euclid Hall and the Root Down.

Burnett also recommends taking in a game to watch some Rockies baseball if there is a game happening during convention and checking out some of the many theaters Denver has to offer such as the Buell Theater where the Broadway play Wicked is currently being performed.

“Transportation downtown isn’t too bad. The 16th Street Mall has a free shuttle that spans all of 16th Street. There is also the Lyme type scooters available for rent as well as bike companies everywhere,” Burnett adds.

Below is a list of the top 10 reasons to visit Denver according to the city’s visitor’s bureau.

  1. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is famous for its one-of-a-kind outdoor concert venue that is surrounded by giant, ancient rock formations. During the day, Red Rocks is a free city park with easy hiking trails and a visitor center that includes a Performers’ Hall of Fame. Legendary musicians like The Beatles (1964) and U2 (1983) have performed here, and today, the summer concert series from May through October presents the best artists in jazz, rock, pop, bluegrass, and more. Seeing a concert under the stars is a magical experience. Red Rocks Park is located 30 minutes west of downtown Denver.

2. Denver Beer Trail

Take a self-guided tour along the Denver Beer Trail and sample the craft beer paradise in The Mile High City. Explore the featured breweries, most in the walkable downtown area, and you will find everything from stouts to lagers and all the flavors in between. Denver’s craft beer culture is thriving, creative and growing larger every day.

3. Rockmount Ranch Wear
A true Western icon, Jack A. Weil (1901-2008), invented the first cowboy shirt with snaps and helped popularize Western wear as legitimate American fashion. Many of the Rockmount designs are worn by movie stars and music legends, all with the signature design of diamond snaps and sawtooth pockets. The grandson of “Papa Jack” Weil, Steve Weil, continues the tradition today at the store located in the heart of downtown at 1626 Wazee St.

4. Denver Art Museum

See the famous collection of Native American art and explore the bold contemporary art inside and out of the new Frederic C. Hamilton building, designed by world famous architect Daniel Libeskind. Denver Art Museum, located in downtown’s Golden Triangle, also offers free general admission on the first Saturday of every month and is free for kids under 18 at all times. The Golden Triangle Creative District is also home to galleries, fine-art studios, specialty stores, and eight museums, including Clyfford Still Museum and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.

5. Larimer Square

Larimer Square is Denver’s oldest and most historic block, home to the first saloons and businesses in The Mile High City. Today, the Victorian buildings have been transformed into shops, wine bars and the hottest, chef-owned restaurants. Look for the sparkling lights strung above the street, relax at an outdoor cafe or bar, taste the best of cuisine created by local chefs, or find unique clothing and accessories in the boutiques.

6. Union Station & LoDo (Lower Downtown)

Downtown Denver’s Union Station has undergone a massive restoration and redevelopment effort that transformed the landmark into a transportation, dining, shopping, and entertainment hub, all centered around the boutique Crawford Hotel. The station is a now a fun gathering place for locals and visitors eat a breakfast burrito at Snooze, sip a beer at the Terminal Bar, sample the locally sourced cuisine at one of the unique restaurants, shop a bit or have a hand-mixed cocktail at Cooper Lounge. There is direct rail service between Denver International Airport (DEN) and this landmark in the heart of downtown.

7. History Colorado Center

Denver’s History Colorado Center features exhibits and programs that tell the stories of Colorado and engage visitors in the past, present, and future of the Rocky Mountain West. Enjoy interactive exhibits like a virtual ride in a real Model T, test your skills on a ski-jump simulator or set off dynamite in an 1880s hard-rock mine.

8. B-cycle to Neighborhoods – RiNo, Art District on Santa Fe and More!

Vibrant arts and culture are just two wheels away! Explore The Mile High City using Denver B-cycle, Denver’s pioneering bike-sharing program and pedal your way through Denver’s creative art districts that surround the city center. Explore the River North Art District (RiNo), which is rapidly becoming the hotspot for artists, foodies, and designers. While retaining its industrial character, RiNo still offers plenty of cafés, brewpubs, restaurants, and art galleries. Visit the Highlands neighborhood, just north of downtown or the Art District on Santa Fe, which is home to more than 100 galleries, artist studios, and creative businesses. Denver’s art districts also celebrate the first Friday of each month with art walks where galleries are open late.

9. Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek Shopping Center is home to more than 160 stores and restaurants including Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi’s, Michael Kors, and Hugo Boss. Visit the guest services desk and ask for your “Passport to Shopping,” which offers discounts for more than 60 stores and restaurants. Head across 1st Avenue to find the charming, tree-lined streets of the Cherry Creek North neighborhood. Here you can explore galleries, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, spas, and more. Cherry Creek is located just 15 minutes southeast of downtown.

10. Denver Attraction Passes

The Mile High City offers you two different passes to take advantage of the great attractions throughout the city. The Mile High Culture Pass gives you three days to explore many of Denver’s top art and cultural museums, while the Denver CityPASS gives you access to three, four, or five of Denver’s most popular attractions for seven days. Explore the two options at DenverAttractionPass.com.

Start earning the CRC in Denver

Register for the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) Workshop at NCRA’s 2019 Convention & Expo happening Aug. 15-18, in Denver, Colo., and start on becoming recognized as one of the most elite and qualified captioners in the profession. The CRC Workshop is being held on Thursday, Aug. 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is chock-full of valuable information for understanding what it takes to be a captioner.

Candidates for the CRC must also:

  • Pass the CRC Skills Test (literary matter at 180 wpm) at 96 percent accuracy, which is offered online under NCRA’s new block schedule. Registration for the Skills Test will be open from Aug. 1-20, with testing available from Sept. 1-20.
  • Pass a 50-question CRC Written Knowledge Test (WKT).

The CRC certification also acknowledges proficiency in language skills and in realtime writing in the broadcast and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) environments.

“Becoming a Certified Realtime Captioner will allow me to expand my professional reporting services to my clients and hone my skills in a challenging industry,” said Elia E. Carrión, RPR, an official court reporter for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Carrión has worked as a court reporter for 22 years. She earned her CRC in May.

More information about the CRC and other NCRA certifications is available online at NCRA.org/testing.

Don’t miss this year’s Vendor Training Workshops

Kick off this year’s convention excitement by attending one of the supplemental Vendor Training Workshops happening from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 15, just before the official start of NCRA’s 2019 Convention & Expo taking place in Denver, Colo. NCRA’s premier event is happening Aug. 15-18 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Space in the workshops is limited, so register now to attend sessions being led by representatives from Stenovations, Advantage Software/Eclipse, Gigatron StenoCAT, and Stenograph.

Stenovations – DigitalCAT

Greta Duckett

Presenting for Stenovations will be Greta Duckett, RPR, CRR, from Montgomery, Ala., a freelance court reporter with Baker Realtime Worldwide Reporting who is licensed in three states and is a certified digitalCAT trainer. She also holds NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. Duckett, who has been reporting since 1995, will provide attendees with a review of the basics and editing commands and progress to realtime commands and the newest features of digitalCAT. A one-hour Q&A session will follow for attendees to ask questions.

Advantage Software/Eclipse – Exploring Eclipse

Jeremy Thorne

Jeremy Thorne, director of research and development for Advantage Software/Eclipse, will spend some time investigating details of how Eclipse can make your work easier and deliver more value to your clients. In his research and development role, Thorne is involved with several products available from Advantage Software, including Eclipse, AccuCap closed captioning, Bridge Mobile litigation support, and the Connection Magic client/server system. He started writing Eclipse in 1987 and has been working on it continuously ever since. Attendees at this session will discover features and options in a hands-on workshop and get a look at what’s in development for the future. Schedule and material are flexible and will be adapted to the needs and aptitude of the group.

Gigatron StenoCAT – It’s all about optimization

Rick Louie

Attendees at the Gigatron StenoCAT session will learn how to optimize their hardware, StenoCAT software, and realtime for the best performance of all components working in synchrony. The session will be led by Rick Louie, supervisor of StenoCAT product support, who has more than 25 years of StenoCAT product experience in areas of quality assurance, senior technical support, and training.  Over the last 23 years, Louie has conducted numerous training seminars for the StenoCAT Users Network, California Court Reporters Association, and Deposition Reporters Association of California, as well as at previous NCRA conventions. He is also an instructor at South Coast College of Court Reporting and a former court reporting student.

Stenograph – New features and enhancements

Cindi Lynch

Stenograph’s training program manager Cindi Lynch has trained thousands of court reporters, captioners, CART providers, scopists, teachers, and students all over the English-speaking world on a variety of CAT and other software for machine shorthand professionals for the past 30 years.  She manages Stenograph’s Certified Independent Training Agent Program, is the author of the nine Case CATalyst Self-Study Guides, and created the Exceptional Extras files and documents included with Case CATalyst. She wrote and programmed the Integrated Video Training video lessons and the Essential Skills course practice files included with Case CATalyst. Lynch also serves as a primary online liaison for Stenograph on Facebook and other social media sites for court reporting professionals and students, and she is a primary resource at StenographHelp.Askbot.com.  She will teach attendees how to make the most of the exciting new features in Case CATalyst Version 20, including RealTeam, and help them take their Case CATalyst skills to the next level by learning how to work with greater ease and efficiency than ever before!

While no equipment is required, reporters who prefer not to have to haul equipment to the convention will still benefit from this class. Detailed, printed handouts with step-by-step instructions will be provided. For attendees who want to bring equipment, there will be some power strips provided; however, to ensure you can conveniently plug in a laptop computer, we recommend you bring your own extension cord and power strip. There is no need to bring your writer.

Register now to be guaranteed a seat in your favorite vendor’s training session. Be sure to also reserve your hotel room for the Convention. Support NCRA and help keep rates for member events low by staying at the host hotel. Not only do you enjoy special lodging pricing, but you’ll also enjoy great amenities including continental breakfast on Friday and Saturday. Plus, staying at the host hotel puts you right at the site of all the exciting happenings including networking opportunities, educational sessions, the Expo floor, and this year’s keynote speaker, the well-known Erin Brockovich, consumer advocate and environmentalist who served as the inspiration for the movie that carries her name.

Why certifications are beneficial – according to members

If you are interested in earning an NCRA certification, official reporter Cindy Shearman, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Vail, Ariz., advises: “Keep on keeping on. You only fail when you quit trying to earn the certification.”

People have many different reasons for earning NCRA certifications – from it being required in their state, to the increased pay it brings, to the confidence and sense of accomplishment they feel about earning a new set of letters behind their names. The JCR Weekly reached out to several NCRA members during Celebrate Certification Month to learn more about why they earned their certifications and what the benefits are.

“I wanted to continue to improve my skills and qualifications and, on some of my jobs, there was a pay increase associated with an additional certification,” says Shearman. “I feel the certifications help my self-confidence and also have helped in obtaining employment and salary increases. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I earn another certification.”

“While I was a court reporting student at MacCormac College, we were encouraged – no, expected – to achieve the RPR in addition to the required CSR. After I passed my RPR, I wanted to continue to distinguish myself and earn the respect of my family, mentors, and peers,” says Sabrina Lewis, RDR, CRR, who works as an official court reporter in Birmingham, Ala.

Freelancer Marvie Votaw, RPR, CRR, of San Diego, Calif., said that she earned her NCRA certifications “to become more employable and later on [to receive] higher pay.” She says that earning her certifications gave her everything she was hoping for — better opportunities and higher pay – and that she is proud of her accomplishments.

“Having credibility behind my name was always important to me, so I sat for the RPR WKT when I started high speed classes in court reporting school,” says captioner and freelance court reporter Donna Karoscik, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Lancaster, Ohio. “After graduating, I took the skills portion and passed. At the time my employer did not require certifications and, being a new reporter with student loans, I let the RPR lapse for financial reasons. Wouldn’t you know it, a few months later the firm I worked for set a policy that all reporters needed to obtain any and all certifications we could, with the RPR being the required base-level certification? I took it the next time it was offered, passed all four legs, and will never let it lapse again.”

“One of the key benefits I have experienced is my certification credentials help me stand out from a sea of reporters. I’ve also worked for employers who paid more for higher certifications – both freelance and court,” says official reporter and captioner Allison Kimmel, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Marysville, Ohio.

Captioner Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Caseyville, Ill., shared that she earned her certifications “to show to others (and myself) that I’m always working on upgrading my skills.” In addition, she points out that the credentials increased her confidence in her skills. “It’s something specific and concrete I can point to, to say, ‘I’ve achieved this goal.’”

The many benefits of certification

Lewis went on to list all the ways that credentials were worth the time and effort: “First, your credentials speak for you. For example, attorneys or reporting agencies utilizing the NCRA Sourcebook are able to search for reporters by type of credential; i.e., RPR, CRR, etc. I have gotten countless referrals this way. Second, when a position needed to be filled on the state licensing board, my national certifications brought me to the attention of the nominating committee; I was appointed to the Alabama Board of Court Reporting. That service then led to a position on the board of the Alabama Court Reporters Association. Last, but not least, because of my credentials, I am at the top of the pay scale as a federal official court reporter.”

“I gained a new level of confidence with each credential I earned. That confidence increased my love for and commitment to the profession. I became more active in and encouraged others to get more involved in the court reporting and legal communities,” says Lewis. “Your credentials show the world that you believe in yourself and you believe in the importance of your profession.”

Karoscik agreed that both the recognition and the financial benefits were important benefits. However, she said: “I have always felt it is important to stay current on technology and information within the court reporting and captioning professions, even if they don’t directly apply to my current position. If I am asked questions about why we do this or why we don’t do that, I want to know the answer. It makes us more credible members of the business world. In my opinion, knowledge is invaluable, especially when marketing yourself, your business, and your skills as a reporter.”

Some advice on pursuing NCRA certification

When asked for advice to others who are pursuing NCRA credentials, Votaw urges: “Get as many as you can!”

“My best advice for others pursuing credentials is to take them seriously and take the time to adequately prepare. Preparation is key! Practice above the skills test speeds – including the CRR and the CRC. Look through the Job Analysis for whichever WKT exam is being taken, review the NCRA website, and examine books from school days on legal and medical terminology,” says Kimmel.

“Practice until you are better than the test,” advises Thomas. “Test nerves are ubiquitous, and for any student reading this, they never fully go away. You’ve got to work with and around the nerves until you are better than your nerves.”

When it comes to the skills tests, Karoscik says: “Practice at least 20 wpm faster than the dictation you’re trying to pass. Practice difficult, dense literary. Nowadays it is easy to find dictation on YouTube. There are social media outlets just for practicing. Rich Germosen, RDR, CRR, has an excellent dictation library which he shared with me. Eileen Beltz, CRI, CPE, has a vast YouTube presence with her dictation as well. I turn it on to practice for upcoming assignments or if I’ve been on vacation and away from the keyboard for a while. Don’t wait to try. Confidence works wonders. You can do it!”

NCRA’s CRR and CRC certifications showcase realtime skills

To mark the 2019 Celebrate Certification Month, all through May we will take a look in each week’s JCR Weekly at the certifications offered by NCRA.

NCRA’s Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) certifications reflect that the professionals who hold one or both are at the top of their game when it comes to providing first-rate and accurate realtime services.

Earning the nationally recognized CRR certification signifies that the professional who has received it has demonstrated their timely knowledge of cutting-edge realtime technology and proficiency and accuracy of reporting. CRR credentials ensure a reporter is an expert in the specialized field of realtime reporting. They are highly sought after because of their proven precision in reporting and ability to deliver high-quality realtime services.

Vanessa Alyce

“Acquiring my CRR certification gives me such a great sense of accomplishment, and it has actually enhanced my confidence in my abilities as a reporter,” said Vanessa Alyce, RPR, from Las Cruces, N.M., who earned her CRR in January.

“NCRA’s certification program is a great way to measure our skills as reporters and serves as a testament to the professionalism of the court reporting industry,” added Alyce, who has worked as both a freelance and official reporter for a little more than 26 years.

Marla Faith Knox

“This CRR certification has reinvigorated my career and the path I chose 24 years ago to become a court reporter,” said Marla Faith Knox, RPR, an official court reporter from Phoenix, Ariz., who earned her CRR in May 2018.

“This journey has brought me wonderful friendships with colleagues around the country. I have been able to help countless litigants, judges, and attorneys along the way, as well as the hard-of-hearing community. Being a member of NCRA is incredibly rewarding as they are advocates for a profession that has continually provided for me and my family,” Knox added.

To be recognized as a CRR, candidates must hold the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification and have passed, with high accuracy, tests that include equipment set-up, accurate realtime writing, and prove they hold a thorough knowledge of realtime technology.

The CRC certification acknowledges proficiency in language skills and in realtime writing in the broadcast and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) environments. It was implemented in August 2015 to provide NCRA members with a higher level of captioning training and the resources they need to transition to providing captioning services. The certification reflects the combined training of the previous certifications Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) and Certified CART Provider (CCP). The CRC certification was developed to increase realtime proficiency and certify more individuals in providing realtime services. CRCs are highly sought after because of their expertise in this very specific field of reporting.

Greta Bourgeois

Greta Bourgeois, from Nashville, Tenn., has worked as a captioner for six years and earned her CRC in January. She is currently a freelance captioner and CART provider for three firms.

“I attended my first NCRA national convention in 2018, and being around so many talented professionals inspired me to pursue this certification. I know having my CRC will help me achieve my career goals,” Bourgeois said.

Laura Axelsen, RPR, CRR, from Vacaville, Calif., also earned her CRC in January. She has worked as a court reporter for 35 years and currently works as a freelance court reporter, a broadcast captioner, a CART provider, and a certified life coach.

“I love my career and never want to stop. Striving for these and other certifications keeps my relationship with my career fun and makes me a better professional after all,” Axelsen said.

To be recognized as a CRC, candidates must successfully complete a captioning workshop provided by NCRA and a skills exam that is a realtime dictation of 180 words per minute on literary matter.

For more information about earning your CRR or CRC or any other NCRA professional certifications, visit NCRA.org/Certification.

2019 NCRA Convention & Expo speakers

The following reporters and captioners will be speaking as part of the student track at the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo. The event will run Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

Read the session descriptions here.

Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR, CSR, FCRR

Jo Ann Bryce has been a reporter for more than 42 years. She is currently an official reporter for the Northern District of California San Francisco Federal Court. Bryce is a five-time National Realtime Champion, and at the 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo in San Francisco, she won both the National Speed and Realtime Contests. In total, she has five gold medals.

Amie R. First

Amie R. First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE

Amie R. First, Realtime Systems Administrator, has been passionate about court reporting since starting school.  She freelanced for several years and then caught the captioning bug working as a CART Provider at Kent State University in Ohio for a decade (and getting a pretty good education).  She was also a broadcast captioner for five years covering news, sports, webinars, earning calls, in addition to providing large-screen CART for seminars and graduation ceremonies. 

Nine years ago, she took her realtime skills to Orlando, Fla., when she accepted a federal official position in the Middle District of Florida where she has covered many realtime/daily trials. In Florida, she found the love of her life, Shane, and is getting married this fall in her hometown Minerva, Ohio.

First has served on the board of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) and is a recipient of the association’s Martin Fincun and Diplomat awards. She has served on several committees for OCRA and NCRA in addition to mentoring students and new professionals. 

Mike Hensley

Michael Hensley, RDR

Mike Hensley is a new reporter who is raising the bar for what new professionals can achieve. In just three years of court reporting, he is already a certified RDR. He also holds a position on the board of directors for the California Court Reporters Association and serves as chair of NCRA’s New Professionals Advisory Committee. As a freelance deposition reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hensley handles highly technical patent cases as well as complex medical and pharmaceutical subject matter. He does all this while providing realtime to clients and lightning-fast turnaround on final transcripts. His high energy and enthusiasm fuel his desire to help others succeed and achieve their full potential as court reporters.

Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag

Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC

Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag has been reporting nearly 40 years as an official, freelancer, firm owner, and occasional CART provider and has been a member of NCRA for the entirety. She has given countless seminars for reporters, students, vendors, and educators and holds NCRA’s highest credentials. She has served in multiple committee positions and numerous state and national leadership positions, including as president of NCRA. She became a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters in 2001.

Debbie Kriegshauser

Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, CRC, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR

Debbie Kriegshauser is currently a federal official reporter with the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Mo. She has been a reporter since 1980 and has worked in all phases of the reporting profession. She also has served on numerous national and state committees, including her current service on the NCRA Student/Teacher Committee.

Saba McKinley

Saba McKinley, RPR, CRI, CSR

Saba McKinley has been reporting since 1991 as an official and court reporter pro tem. In 2010, she included CART captioning as part of her professional services.  McKinley served on the California Court Reporters Board (CCRA) of Directors from 2013-2015 and currently serves on both the CCRA and the NCRA’s Captioning committees.

She is on the speaker rosters for both CCRA and NCRA and loves talking to students about the court reporting industry. 

After attending CCRA’s Boot Camp, McKinley was inspired to begin offering both onsite and off-site trainings on the essentials necessary to provide effective CART captioning services. 

Phoebe Moorhead

Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR

Phoebe Moorhead is a freelance court reporter and is currently president of the Utah Court Reporters Association.

Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC,

Alan Peacock has more than 30 years’ experience in the court reporting, CART, and CART Captioning fields. He lives in Mobile, Ala.

Lindsay Stoker

Lindsay Stoker, RPR, CRC

Lindsay Stoker is a freelance captioner with more than 11 years of experience. Her specialties include remote captioning and broadcast work. She travels frequently to caption conferences, often with thousands in attendance. She lives in Los Angeles, Calif., with her husband, Brandon, and her four sons.

Jeffrey Weigl

Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRS(A)

Now in his 13th year in the industry, Jeffrey Weigl is the president of WizCap Realtime Reporting Inc., and splits his time between legal reporting, on-site captioning, and everything that comes with running a boutique firm. Weigl’s passion for speed building and shorthand theory refinement has been highlighted by two NCRA Speed Contest wins along with multiple Realtime Contest medals.

Darlene Williams

Darlene Williams, RPR, CMRS

Darlene Williams has been a freelance reporter since 1985. Her career has taken her around the country to work all matters of litigation, including medical malpractice, intellectual property, construction, and the like. In her present position with Planet Depos, she acts as a mentor to students of the Planet Institute program, teaching them how to prepare transcripts and helping to bridge the gap between graduation from reporting school to taking their first job.

Doug Zweizig

Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR, FCCR

A 1989 graduate of Central Pennsylvania Business School (now Central Pennsylvania College), Doug Zweizig earned his associate degree and moved to Philadelphia, Pa., from a small town in 1989, where he began work as a freelance court reporter. In 2001 Zweizig began as an official court reporter in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. After many rewarding years there, in 2014, he accepted a position in the U. S. District Court for the District of Maryland, where he’s currently working. He is a two-time NCRA Realtime Contest Champion, has placed third overall four times, second overall once, and third overall in his very first speed contest. He has 17 medals in both realtime and speed: seven gold, four silver, six bronze.

Read session descriptions here

Find full event schedule here

Register here

2019 NCRA Convention & Expo Student Track Sessions

Read the presenter bios here.

Check out this year’s NCRA Convention & Expo student sessions. We bring back a couple of old favorites and two new sessions. Students also get a chance to kick off the weekend with a students-only breakfast where they can get an overview of the convention and make connections with other students. Don’t miss the Meet and Greet with the NCRA Board of Directors.

Steno Speed Dating

As the seminar’s name implies, it will consist of 10 stellar reporters sitting with a small group of students for 10-minute long “speed dates.” The students will have 10 minutes to ask their questions before switching off to the next reporter for their next “date.”

Presenters:  Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR, CSR, FCRR;  Amie First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE; Mike Hensley, RDR; Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR; Saba McKinley, RPR, CRI, CSR; Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC; Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI; Kelly Shainline, RPR, CRR; Lindsey Stoker, RPR, CRC; Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, CSR(A); and Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR, FCRR.


You Want Me to Do What? I Didn’t Learn That in School….

Court reporting is more than putting words on a page.  In this seminar you will learn some common transcript preparation pitfalls young reporters encounter and how to avoid them.  The presenter will share some tricks of the trade, as well as helpful research tools and how to use them.  Come for the information but stay for the “goodies.”

Presenter:  Darlene Williams, RPR, CMRS

Darlene Williams

Good Reporter/Bad Reporter

This audience-participation skit touches on professional etiquette and mannerisms in conducting oneself at work. Learn the tools of the trade to win over clientele for freelance work or get hired for overflow work in a judicial proceeding. Why some people “have it” and others just simply don’t. Be prepared to laugh!

Presenters: Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR


Student Jeopardy

A fun and interactive “Jeopardy” game that will cover such topics as: the history of court reporting, spelling, homonyms/synonyms, vocabulary, and courtroom procedures. Students will learn some of the trickier English and grammar rules that we encounter every day and will be quizzed on the types of questions found on the RPR Written Knowledge Test. Be on the team who answers the most questions correctly and win a prize!

Presenters: Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR, and Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR

Find full event schedule here

Register here

Local court reporter lobbies lawmakers for reauthorization of training grants

The Herald-Whig posted an article on May 13 about NCRA’s Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp participant Kim Cottrell, an official court reporter from Quincy, Ill.

Read more.

Hurry, savings for early convention registration end today

The special savings on registration fees for the 2019 Convention & Expo happening Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo., end today. Don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of the special pricing of a $50 discount on the full registration.

While taking advantage of this opportunity to save, be sure to reserve your hotel room for the Convention at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Support NCRA and help keep rates for member events low by staying at the host hotel. Not only do you enjoy special lodging pricing, but you’ll also enjoy great amenities including continental breakfast on Friday and Saturday. Plus, staying at the host hotel puts you right at the site of all the exciting happenings including networking opportunities, educational sessions, the Expo floor, and this year’s keynote speaker the well-known Erin Brockovich, consumer advocate and environmentalist who served as the inspiration for the movie that carries her name.

Don’t miss your chance to save on registration fees, hotel rates, and be in the middle of the excitement planned for court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, and scopists, including the two-day CRC Workshop and CRC Exam, the ever-popular CRR Boot Camp, full-day vendor training workshops, and the Punctuation Workshop. And remember, throughout the Convention attendees can earn up to 1.175 CEUs.

Other highlights include such ticketed networking opportunities as the Opening Reception, the Awards Luncheon, and the Member Recognition Gala. The annual Realtime and Speed Contests are also expected to sell out quickly, so don’t delay registering for these special events!

For more information about the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention. Don’t let procrastination make you miss the special pricing in effect through May 15 that will get early registrants a $50 discount on the full registration.

For sponsorship information please contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs, at mpetto@ncra.org.

A Convention to Remember

Attending an NCRA Convention & Expo is a great experience for students. Last year, students attended special sessions teaching them proper courtroom behavior, online skills testing, professional working tips, and more. These students share their experiences attending their first national convention. 

Marina Garcia

Marina Garcia

Alvin, Texas

Alvin Community College

As court reporting students, our gospel is to practice, practice, practice; but sometimes we forget how equally important it is to surround ourselves with positive support and mentors. As a student, frustration becomes our normal.  We need some type of fresh air to regain our motivation, and that is exactly what I experienced at the 2018 NCRA Convention. The ambience is inspiring, electric, and most of all, fun. It was exactly what I needed to regain my motivation from burnout.

My biggest takeaway from the convention was seeing my future self in these amazing reporters because they, too, were once in our shoes. It was an honor to listen to the special guest speaker, witness the winners of the speed and realtime contests, and attend the student sessions to meet other reporters and students from all over the nation. The convention unravels the real world of court reporting and captioning outside of our classrooms to show us how worthwhile it is to work hard, never give up, and never stop trying to improve our skills. I’m already looking forward to attending as many conventions as I possibly can.

Ezra Campbell

Ezra Campbell 

Athens, Ga.

Studying for his RPR

Attending the 2018 NCRA conference in New Orleans, La., was a special experience for me for a couple of reasons. For one, it was my first court reporting conference, and I attended as a student. I was overwhelmed at first, but it proved to be a great learning experience.  I did not regret putting myself out there and meeting other students, as well as many knowledgeable working reporters and captioners. The kicker came with the fact that it was located at the Hyatt Regency, where I used to work as a barista. It was both a familiar and an exciting environment, and I came away even more determined to launch my career.

Parker Burton

Parker Burton
Atlanta, Ga.
Brown College of Court Reporting

In August of 2018, I had the opportunity to attend my first NCRA convention as a student. Admittedly, I was quite nervous about what to expect, who I would meet, whether the professionals would have time to entertain my questions, and whether I would feel like an outcast among the other students. I am happy to report that my preconceived notions were all incorrect. After attending the convention in the vibrant city of New Orleans, La., I was more motivated by my fellow students and armed with more advice than I could ever have hoped to obtain.

I would encourage all students who are members of NCRA to make it a priority to plan early to attend the next NCRA convention, in Denver, Colo. There is so much information to gather and networking to be done that will be beneficial to your future endeavors, both as a student and then as a professional.  All the information you learn in school is valuable, but the experience of attending an NCRA convention and sharing ideas, successes, struggles, and helpful hints with like-minded people from across the country and beyond will help accelerate your skills and encourage you to push further.

See you in Denver!

Logan Kislingbury

Logan Kislingbury

Houston, Texas

Mark Kislingbury’s Academy of Court Reporting

The 2018 NCRA convention in New Orleans, La., was my first convention experience as a court reporting student and NCRA member. I’ve been to plenty of conventions in the past with my dad, but I treated them only as vacations. One of the biggest changes that I noticed as a student was what the convention hall really provided. What was once a place full of seemingly endless booths of free candy, popcorn, and freebies, became a small city, because I understood what each booth was and what that company stood for. The main benefit of the convention hall changed from candy to networking. I met a lot of passionate people who each had different stories and were so happy to see a new student entering the field. Leaving with more than 15 business cards felt great; I’m very excited to keep in contact with these people in the future! 

Another part of the convention I’d never experienced was taking classes. I participated in some student classes where I learned about the differences between freelancing and officials, how realtime worked, and what you can do with it, and the huge world of opportunities that becoming a court reporter opens. I made friends with other students who know the struggles and accomplishments of school just like I do. Plenty of court reporters volunteered their time just to help us and answer our questions solely because they care so much about the profession. I had so much fun and learned so much in New Orleans last year. And I’ll do it all again in Denver this year!