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  • Mario A. Rodriguez Education Day

Mario A. Rodriguez Education Day

  • 16 Mar 2024
  • 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23228


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:


When it Comes to Your Victory, it's Your Mindset that Counts!

Join us on March 16th in the Kelly Education Center at the beautiful Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia.  Get into a marathon mindset with an amazing lineup of speakers, good times with friends and free admission to the botanical garden!  

Register Now

Early bird ends February 9th


$235 VCRA Member Early Bird| $260 VCRA Member Standard Rate

$310 Non-member|$160 Non-reporter/Guest | $85 Student

Note: Ed Day registration fees may be transferred, but NOT refunded. Early Bird not available to Students, Non-Members and Non-Reporters/Guests.

Registration and breakfast will open at 7:30 a.m.  Programming will begin at 8:00 a.m. with a welcome from your VCRA President, Michele Eddy.  

Attendance/participation will be tracked by Board members punching a hole in a member’s punch card after each session concludes. Each punch card will have the participant’s name and NCRA ID number identified.

For a list of hotels near Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, please click here.

Download the PDF Schedule

Topic/Speaker Description Time/CEUs

Registration Open and Breakfast

7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Inside the Alex Murdaugh Trial: Steps to take to maintain order in chaos

Mike Watkins

Mike will discuss: Keeping inventory of 800 plus exhibits…including many rifles and a lot of ammunition…in a very small area; how to ease stress by maintaining your daily routine while working out of town; being able to navigate in a small town while being part of a high profile media event; keeping your composure while the whole country…or world for that matter…watch daily; trust your training when the pressure is on; dealing with the prosecution and the defense in a professional manner.

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.



9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

For the Record: What do attorneys want from court reporters, and what can we do together about the court reporter shortage?

Sean P. Byrne, Esquire

Sean will discuss a litigation attorney’s perspective on best practice and great service from a court reporter; the current and expected future court reporter shortage, why it matters and what we can do about it together.

9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.



10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Proposed Legislation in Virginia and its Impact on Court Reporters

Kevin Martingayle, Esquire

Kevin Martingayle will speak about recently proposed or passed legislation from the 2023 General Assembly session that may impact court reporters, likes and dislikes that lawyers and judges have when it comes to reporters, a few nightmare/funny stories, the importance of having a good relationship with the court reporter (or firm), how he learned to become a great speaker and create a clean record, and will answer any questions the audience may have.

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


Break   11:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Business Lunch/ Town Hall

Town Hall, Annual Business Meeting and Elections

11:45 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.


Realtime for Everybody

Michele Eddy, RPR, CRR, CRI, CCR

In part one, Michele Eddy will provide step-by-step instructions on how to set up realtime for both Eclipse and CaseCATalyst from start to finish in a mock deposition setting, including how to handle difficult situations with attorneys and witnesses.

In part two, Michele will present editing shortcuts and realtime tips for using macros to edit from your steno machine for both Eclipse and Case CATalyst, as well as tips on using Brief-It and Suggest a Brief. Information about Boost/AI Live will be provided via a handout.

Participants should bring their laptops and steno machines.

1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.



2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

When it Comes to Your Victory, it's Your Mindset that Counts

Matthew Jones

Marathon Mindset of Victory. Court reporting, like a marathon, can be an endurance event. Keynote speaker Matt Jones will inspire, encourage, and motivate us. From Matt’s story and the lessons he learned from conquering cancer three times and completing a marathon on every continent after relearning how to walk, we will: Discover one of the most important and easiest ways to reduce anxiety and increase resilience; learn the three choices to develop a Marathon Mindset of Victory; experience revitalization for Court Reporting and Life.

Matt’s presentation is not only based on his story of overcoming insurmountable odds, but he also shares from the field of Positive Psychology, offering peer-review and evidence-based strategies for greater success in life and work. 

2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.


Break   4:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE

Today’s new technology is yesterday’s news. Staying at the top of your game is vital to your success in the court reporting and captioning arenas. We will explore the impact technology has had on our profession and the importance of staying current with new technology to ensure that you support the services you provide your clients. The presentation includes an overview of some of the latest in hardware and software products.

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Swearing in VCRA Officers, Silent Auction winners    5:30 p.m.

VCRA .80 CEU | NCRA .70 CEU | NVRA 7.0 CEU

During the Mario A. Rodriguez Education Day, the Virginia Court Reporters Foundation (VCRF) will be holding an online silent auction!  The auction will be open to attendees and non-attendees.  Items being auctioned will be available to view online and in person at our convention.  If necessary, items will be shipped to non-attendees; however, certain items will be pickup only due to size or shipping cost.

Browse the auction

If you’re able, please consider donating an item.  If you know anyone else who might be willing to participate or contribute, please share the link with them as well.

Donate an item

All proceeds from this auction go directly to support the Carolyn M. O’Connor Education Fund scholarship program for court reporting students, who can receive up to $2,000 to help offset the cost related to their court reporting education, and to the VCRF General Education Fund.  Donations are tax deductible.

The party starts early! 

We will be holding a pre-Education Day social at River City Roll in Richmond on the evening before Ed Day, Friday, March 15th at 6:00 p.m.  Save the date, and plan your arrival to Richmond accordingly.  A link to RSVP for the social will be sent out a few weeks before the event date.  Join us for a little networking and a lot of fun!

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty on a historic property with more than 50 acres of spectacular gardens, dining, and shopping. A classical domed conservatory is the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic. More than a dozen themed gardens include a Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Asian Valley and Cherry Tree Walk.

Your registration for the Mario A. Rodriguez Education Day comes with free admission to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden!  

Mike Watkins

Mike Watkins started his court reporting career in 1991, when he began working in Jasper, Alabama for Walker County Court Reporting. From there he moved to Florence, Alabama, to work with Clark and Bishop Court Reporting. He stayed on with Bishop Court Reporting until 1995 when he began an officialship for Lauderdale County, Alabama. There he worked for Judges Don Patterson, Alice Martin, and Mike Jones. In 2000, he moved to the Upstate of South Carolina, where he worked in Charlotte, freelancing with the firm of Adams and Holt. In 2002, Mike realized he missed the courtroom and applied to the State of South Carolina to be an official court reporter. Mike still holds that position today. In the last 21 years, Mike has worked several high profile cases, two of which were State versus Jamie Baldwin (featured on Dateline) and the State versus Alex Murdaugh (featured on Court TV, Netflix, Dateline, 20/20, and others.)

Sean P. Byrne, Esquire

Sean P. Byrne, Esq. is a seasoned medical malpractice defense trial attorney with over 25 years of experience in civil litigation. He is the proud son of Sue Byrne, who has been a certified court reporter in NY for over 40 years. Sean is the founder and managing partner of Byrne Canaan law, a health care defense focused firm in Richmond with 11 attorneys. His team defends high exposure med mal cases and regulatory investigations, and they work with health care providers to provide risk reduction education and advice to help improve patient safety. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Richmond where he teaches courses including trial practice and health law. Sean is involved in numerous community and professional service activities including as a member of the Board of Directors at Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, and the Richmond Bar Association.

Kevin Martingayle, Esquire

Kevin Martingayle is a partner in the Virginia Beach office of Bischoff Martingayle, P.C. He has a trial and appellate practice, handling a wide variety of matters, including business litigation, constitutional and civil rights cases, education-related disputes, defense of licensed professionals in administrative proceedings, land use and zoning matters, and cases involving covenants not to compete and other employment issues. Mr. Martingayle is a past president of the Virginia State Bar (2014-15) and has held numerous committee and leadership positions with the VSB and other bar organizations. He received his B.A. in economics from Hampden-Sydney College (Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Michele Eddy, RPR, CRR, CRI, CCR, and Realtime Systems Administrator

Michele has been a freelance court reporter for over 30 years, beginning her career in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1989, after graduation from the Academy of Court Reporting in Cleveland, Ohio. In August 2009, she moved to the D.C./Northern Virginia area. She has been a Certified Realtime Reporter since 2000 and earned the Realtime Systems Administrator Certificate in 2012.

Michele has served in all Board positions of the Ohio Court Reporters Association and is currently the President of the Virginia Court Reporters Association, having previously served as Secretary and Director over the last six years. She chaired the Education Committee and the Lawyers and Paralegals Liaison Committee of VCRA, having conducted A to Z classes and participated in school counsellor and school career day events. She received the Frank G. Tayloe Award by VCRA in March 2015 and the Outstanding Performance and Special Achievement awards in 2003 and 2007, respectively, by OCRA.

Up to June 2020, Michele worked as a high-volume freelance reporter in depositions, trials, or arbitration settings on almost a daily basis, providing interactive realtime, rough drafts, daily copy, or rush transcripts. In 2019, Michele had the privilege of serving as a temporary Reporter of Debates for the U.S. Senate for several weeks, having a part in creating the Congressional Record on a daily basis.

From June 2020 forward, Michele has been working for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a Verbatim Reporting Officer, covering Board and Committee Meetings remotely and in person, providing realtime, rough drafts, and final transcripts that are a part of the final Minutes.

Michele has been using the Eclipse software during her freelance years and CaseCATtalyst during her years at the IMF and the Senate. She has taken several training courses from certified trainers and is proficient in using both software programs.

Matthew Jones

Matt Jones is known as the “Eight Continent Marathon Man.” He went from being a three-time cancer conqueror to relearning how to walk, to going through a bone marrow transplant, to completing eight marathons on eight continents. This includes Antarctica and the newly discovered continent of Zealandia. Matt was diagnosed with cancer on September 11, 2002. After spreading to the fluid in his brain doctors did not think he would live. After victoriously conquering cancer, he was told by his doctor, no one has gone through what he did and be alive one year later. Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett said, “Matt is a true champion and his story inspires others to be a true champion.” Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton said, “Matt Jones has done what anyone would consider impossible. Conqueror. Overcomer. Champion. Superhuman. None of those words do him justice." Matt is the author of numerous books and his latest one is, “Happiness is a Marathon: 26.2 Ways to be Happier at Work and in Life. For more information about Matt please visit his website at www.MatthewDJones.com

Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE

Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE, Director of NCRA, from Rittman, Ohio. Kelly Linkowski, who has worked as a captioner since 1993, holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC). She has worked from the comforts of home and around the world, providing verbatim transcription and instant speech-to-text accessibility using the power of stenography.

At the national level, Ms. Linkowski has been an active volunteer, contributing to articles for publication, presenting seminars, and encouraging students through mentoring and as an advisory member of stenography programs. She has been involved with numerous NCRA committees, including the Student Community of Interest, National Outreach Committee, Court Reporting Program Advisory Committee (Student Liaison), Council on Approved Student Education, Intersteno Task Force, National Congress of State Associations (Regional Representative), Strategic Planning Task Force (Captioning Segment Chair), Nominating Committee, Captioning Committee (Chair), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) Certification Committee.

At the state level, Ms. Linkowski began her service with the Ohio Court Reporters Association as a Director and Student Liaison in 2012 and completed her term as immediate past president in 2021.

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