PRI Court Reporting is lucky enough to have a very talented and experienced team of employees. Andrea Crago is a court reporter in Columbus, Ohio and she has been with PRI for 23 years. While Andrea has concentrated her work in the CART setting for many years, she also has deposition experience as well. Andrea is very professional, knowledgeable, and talented. You may have met her at a deposition or CART job, so here’s a chance to get to know her a little better.
How long have you been a court reporter?
I have been a reporter for over 35 years, but took six years off (consecutive) during that time to have two children and to get them started in preschool.
How long have you been working at PRI?
I was hired by PRI in July of ’92, following my six-year hiatus from work. By the time I came back, the court reporting business had gone completely CAT (computer-assisted transcription), so I had a lot of ramping up to do, especially since I wanted to specialize in CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation). After five months of homework to build my computerized dictionary and building up my writing speed again, I went out on my first job in November of ’92. And I have been with PRI now for over 23 years.
Did you have other court reporting experience prior to joining PRI?
Yes, I have six years’ full-time experience in deposition work, trial work, and conference/meetings work, over four different states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut (my husband was in computer sales, and his job took us to four states over five years), but I never had any trouble getting a job with a freelance firm wherever we lived.
What do you like most about working at PRI?
Two things, really. Since I specialize in CART, PRI is the number one freelance firm in the state of Ohio which offers the highest quality CART/captioning writing, so we get some very high profile work, which is interesting and personally challenging. The second reason is PRI’s willingness to be flexible with my work schedule. I really only work part-time, but my availability is all over the place. I have been able to raise three children (yes, we added one more) while still being an “at-home” mom when needed.
Where are you from or where did you grow up?
I was born in Phoenix, AZ, while my dad was in the Air Force. When his tour was over, my parents moved back to Youngstown, Ohio. I was only 2 years old.
Before working as a court reporter, did you have another career or job? If so, what?
I actually was a secretary for two lawyers in a firm after I graduated high school with clerical training. I was the person who booked the court reporter to come in for depositions. I would talk with them and ask lots of questions, and I thought it was something I would like and could do. Luckily, Youngstown State University offered an Associate’s Degree in court reporting. (They don’t anymore, sadly.) So I went to school at night after work, and three years later, I graduated at the top of my class.
What is one thing you would like our clients to know about court reporting/depositions/CART?
Not to sound flip, but to remember that even though we work with machinery and technology, that we are human – which ultimately makes for a better transcript (versus electronically recorded). But we do need periodic breaks, time for nourishment, and have busy lives outside of the courtroom/boardroom. And I wish we had super human hearing, but we don’t; so if you cannot hear a person talking, chances are we can’t, either.
What is the most unusual deposition/CART situation you’ve found yourself in?
Logistics-wise, having driven into the countryside for a deposition at someone’s home (a hostile witness) and not being able to get out of my car because of the attack dog that was at my window. Ultimately, the lawyer called me on my cell (from his car) and said that the depo was not going to take place. Content-wise, while I was working in Connecticut, I reported the grand jury indictment proceedings, and there were always strange and unusual stories!
What’s on your iPod?
Oh, boy, I don’t own an iPod. I’m a big fan of listening to NPR on the radio.
What is one thing our clients don’t know about you?
I’m only half Italian. (French is the other half)
What is your favorite restaurant in Columbus?
Mimi’s Cafe – best salmon.
What is your favorite app?
Google maps with audio directions. The best when driving at night and unfamiliar with the area. Second favorite: GasBuddy — finds the lowest gas prices in the area.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Driving – picking up and dropping off kids.
What is your best tip for balancing work/life/family?
Trusting God, and looking ahead and planning for the next day or two. When the unexpected happens, put a positive spin on it and go with the flow.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about Andrea. Look for more interviews with other PRI Court Reporting staff in the future.