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Five Questions With: Eric Meermann

Five Questions With: Eric Meermann, Vice President

Eric is the senior client service executive in our Stamford, Connecticut office, where he supervises the staff of client service professionals. He has been a part of Palisades Hudson’s executive team since 2017 and a part of the company since 2000; he is the lead executive for our firm’s business valuation practice and, along with Shomari Hearn, heads the Entertainment and Sports Team. A graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business, Eric currently resides in White Plains, New York.

1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was very young I wanted to be a veterinarian, until I reached the age when I realized that job was not just playing with cats and puppies, but mostly putting down sick animals.

I’ve been a big fan of wildlife documentaries since I was about age 4, when the PBS show “Nature” premiered. I thought it would be cool to be one of those wildlife photographers that the show so often portrays. That never panned out.

However, the most notable influence — you will gather that I watch a ton of TV from this five-question series — was the character Alex P. Keaton on the show “Family Ties.” I related to the character as someone who felt somewhat out of place in school and home life due to being what the character called “an overachiever,” and since he was obsessed with being a banker, I wanted to be in finance. Although I really didn’t understand what that meant, I was pretty sure it involved numbers and my favorite subject, math. Turns out the logic and rational thinking of mathematics was very useful in the real world of personal finance, along with basic algebra. (Trigonometry? Not so much.) This led me to majoring in finance in college and, ultimately, to my career in financial planning.

2. Did you pick up any hobbies during pandemic lockdown, and if so, are you still doing them?

Eric Meermann with his brother at the beach.
photo courtesy Eric Meermann

Yes, I experimented with getting outside during COVID and reconnecting with pastimes I enjoyed as a youth. First I went snowboarding a couple of times, and both times I hurt myself, although before that I was enjoying blasting down the mountain.

Then I tried bodyboarding again. Bodyboarding is like boogieboarding, but different because you go sideways on the board in the curl of the wave and have fins on your feet, and go out with the surfers, not the kids riding the foam. (We are a sensitive bunch, as we get made fun of a lot by the people who stand on their boards). That was super invigorating, but I realized that the poor shape I’m in makes it extremely difficult to paddle out to the lineup. Once I’m out there, I'm great, but getting out is tough on anything but the smallest days. I think I’ll stick with it, as it is a great way to bond with my younger brother, who is an avid surfer.

So, after those struggles, I ended up trying something new. I just started getting into golf in late 2021. I’m terrible at it and too stubborn to take lessons. But I love it, and it is way more my speed at my age and place in life. Just please don’t ask me to join your foursome yet; it will just frustrate everyone involved.

3. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read recently?

I recently finished the “The Witcher” saga by Andrzej Sapkowski. It is two prequel books and a five-part saga.

Years ago I read the “Harry Potter” series, after having seen all of the movies. Then I moved on to the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, after having seen the “Game of Thrones” TV show based on them. All were excellent.

However, I finally wanted to be one of those pompous people that gets to say “The books are so much better than the TV show!” while the episodes were actually airing. When I heard “The Witcher” was the new hot fantasy show premiering on Netflix in 2019, I told myself I would read all the books before watching it. I finished the books this year and watched the show after. It was great to not know what was actually going to happen and to not have my mind’s eye corrupted by the show while reading the books.

I enjoyed the Netflix series very much but I can tell you, with all pomposity… the books are so much better than the show.

sunset in White Plains, New York.
photo by Eric Meermann

4. What non-famous app on your phone do you love?

I really enjoy SkyView Lite. The app accesses your camera; you can point it in any direction and it will show you all the stars and planets in your view, and outside of it, in any direction. It overlays this with imagery of the constellations and facts about each heavenly body.
I don’t get a lot of stars in downtown White Plains where I live, but probably my favorite thing to do is sitting on my balcony and watching the sunset, and then looking at the night sky.
I occasionally enjoy camping, and the app is so much more useful there on a clear night when one is wondering, “Which one is that, that is so bright?”

5. If you’re a sports fan, what team(s) have your loyalty?

Giants and Yankees. It’s been a tough decade or so.

I grew up in central-ish/northern-ish New Jersey, and these two teams are basically mandatory, and go together. Unless you are one of those Jets/Mets people. If so, godspeed.

I should note that there is a debate over whether there actually is a Central New Jersey at all, and whether or not Union County, where I grew up, would fall into it. (And while we are talking maps and loyalties, it's Taylor Ham all day for me.)