This article can be found in the Fall 2019 edition of the Alumni Magazine.
November 25, 2019
Cameron Smith became a court reporter because he had a little extra time and an influential adviser. Little did he know a career was calling.
Smith had a window of available time in the summer of 2016 between academic years for Smith Academy for Excellence, the 4th through 12th grade academy he co-founded with father Thomas Smith and brother Corey Smith. Cameron’s influential adviser was his girlfriend Caty, who is now his wife.
Caty’s father, Charles D. Holm, the founder of Holm Court Reporting & Video, offered him an opportunity one day. Caty encouraged Cameron to jump in.
“They needed an extra court reporter,” Smith said. “I got certified and went through the process, taking some jobs in the summer and that led to taking jobs all the way to the beginning of the school year.” Smith’s court reporting opportunities kept coming. He and Caty drew closer and became engaged. An unexpected new path emerged for Smith—an opportunity to purchase the company from his eventual father-in-law. Smith became Owner, President and CEO on Jan. 1, 2017. He and Caty married on June 24, 2017.
The move put Smith at a crossroads. Running the court reporting business, he wouldn’t have much time to devote to Smith Academy. Two family businesses were pulling him in separate directions. Smith contemplated trying to do both—run a company and help run a school—but there are only 24 hours in a day. So he stepped out of the daily operation of Smith Academy.
“It was an extremely tough decision,” Smith said. “I discussed it with my dad and my brother and I wanted to try to do both, but it wasn’t realistic to do that. I have a business background and I’ve always wanted to own my own company.”
Because he couldn’t see walking away completely, Smith remains on the Smith Academy board and tries to make time to volunteer with the young men at the all-boys school. Smith also works on fundraising for a new building and location for Smith Academy, currently located at 725 W. Washington Blvd.
“My goal is to get over there once a week for mentoring,” he said. “I want to keep my face visible and maintain relationships with the boys there.”
Most of Smith’s daily time is devoted to Holm Court Reporting & Video, which Charles Holm started in 1986. The business serves various litigation needs of attorneys, both local and national. Among the litigation services it provides are court reporting for depositions, examinations under oath, arbitrations, hearings, statements, video depositions, video conferences and exhibit hyperlinking for electronic legal transcripts.
“Working with local attorneys here on a day-to-day basis has been a great experience for me,” Smith said. “There are a lot of really great people who happen to be attorneys in Fort Wayne. It has opened up a lot of opportunities in developing relationships.”
Some of the attorneys he has worked with have contributed to Caty Smith’s foundation, The Brandon Foundation, an after-school program for at-risk youth.
A commitment to serving was ingrained in Cameron Smith during his undergraduate years at USF, when he was also a member of the football team. He praises coach Kevin Donley as a mentor who inspired him to strive for excellence. Smith was part of the first Cougars team to play in an NAIA national championship game.
Smith also played professional indoor football after graduation.
“Learning the Franciscan values and standards and expectations on campus for students went a long way for me,” Smith said. “It’s refreshing to know it’s not just something they talk about, but live by. The professors speak on it; Coach Donley speaks on it. Following those values is an important thing for lifelong purposes. I’m deeply grateful for my experience at USF.”
When he’s not focusing on his business today, he is brainstorming ways to help the causes nearest to his heart.
“A lot of conversations with Caty involve what we can do to make the Brandon Foundation better, and what we can do to contribute to the school,” Smith said. “Mentoring is a big deal to me and I want to do as much of that as I can.”