By Tiffany Rider - Senior Writer
May 07, 2013 - Anniversaries are a time to look back at the road traveled and also look toward the future. Jeri Kusar, president and CEO of Kusar Court Reporters and Legal Services, is able to do just that in celebrating 30 years in business this year.
Kusar was born and raised in San Pedro to first generation Croation parents. Her life path was mostly set by cultural tradition – stay out of trouble, be a “good girl,” graduate high school, get married and have children. Fueled by a desire for independence, Kusar sought a new direction in her early twenties. She asked her mother for advice, to which she learned that her mother had always wanted to be a court reporter. Inspired by her mother’s dream, Kusar became a licensed court reporter in 1976 and never looked back.
“Although I don’t know why I have been so blessed, I know this: having great parents who believe in you and teach you right from wrong may be the greatest blessing of all,” Kusar told the Business Journal. “I have always treated everyone I meet with respect, and never asked anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”
Seven years into her career, with the encouragement of friends, Kusar decided to venture into entrepreneurship and opened Kusar Court Reporters in Long Beach on February 1, 1983.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the court reporting business industry was evolving as large companies began offering national and global services. Kusar said she recognized this evolution and the impact of technology on the business, leading her to expand her company’s business services across California. She opened conference rooms statewide with access to interpreters, launched a division offering certified legal videographers with in-house video syncing and began providing online access to products and services.
Those products and services include national and international court reporting, in-person and mobile video depositions, legal videography, real-time streaming of text and video, interpretation, court filings, legal and medical copying and subpoena and process servicing. Kusar’s online platform offers clients 24-hour access to depositions and documents that may be reviewed, annotated and highlighted via state-of-the-art iPad and Android mobile applications.
Across the state, Kusar has a staff of 100 court reporters, videographers and other professionals. To get a foothold in the global market, Kusar co-founded a worldwide network of independently owned court reporting and videography services called Table 8. The network spans 50 states, Canada, Europe and Asia.
“We created a network to allow us to compete with the big businesses that were trying to take over our businesses,” Kusar said. “Through that, I was able to create and cover jobs on an international basis. We just came back from London. We’ve been in Saudi Arabia. We’ve been in Hong Kong. We have reporters with passports who will fly and go.”
Kusar launched Long Beach Videoconferencing Center in 2004, facilities that include conference rooms equipped with large plasma screens, soundproof walls, wired conference tables, telephonic conferences, computers and Internet access. “We have expanded the center today so that we not only have our local rooms here with video conferencing, but I have rooms across the United States and internationally,” she said. “Kusar, over the years, has become a technologically advanced company. That’s how we’ve grown and will continue to grow.”
As Kusar is very hands-on in her entrepreneurial activities, she said she also believes in personal responsibility to be active in the community. She supports Shortstop, a program of the Long Beach Bar Foundation for at-risk kids, and the company supports the Long Beach Women’s Shelter, the Long Beach Rescue Mission food bank, the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure and The One Fund for the Boston Marathon victims, among others.
“When somebody does something kind and nice for you, pass it on,” she said. “That ‘passing on’ creates a reputation, and that reputation is a blessing in return for being kind, loving, warm and helpful to people. My success, I think, has to do with those attributes that I feel toward other people.”