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On the Job with Michael Meyer von Bremen

Michael Meyer von Bremen

Michael Meyer von Bremen

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Michael S. Meyer von Bremen is a partner with Hall, Booth, Smith and Slover P.C. He runs the firm’s Albany office.

Q. What was your first job?

A. First official job was as a member of the camp staff for the Boy Scouts at Camp Osborn.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first paycheck?

A. A meal and movie when the camp staff took a weekly trip into town.

Q. What’s the single most effective technique you’ve found during the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. When limiting it to one technique: Thank them for quality work and mean it when you do.

Q. What led you to your current position?

A. Like many lawyers, “To Kill a Mockingbird” convinced me that it was the career path I wanted to take when I was around 12 or 13 years old.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. Outside of my parents/family, Professor James Cox from Mercer University. Dr. Cox taught Constitutional Law and Political Philosophy and had a gift of making class so interesting, students wanted to attend. His classes provided the foundation for my careers in the legal profession and public service profession.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. Do not take anything for granted. Have a reserve built up. On a community level, many people are facing and have faced difficult times, and even the smallest contribution of service back to our society to help those in need can go a long way.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples email, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?

A. Text messaging in its current setup. It presents a safety concern when operating a moving motor vehicle on the road. Voice recognition additions to the devices allowing for dictation of messages are an improvement.

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. With the drop in population in our region, recognizing the need to reach out as a region to attract new businesses and population and then becoming good at it. Working to attract retirees with our climate and what we have to offer outdoors would be a good investment.

Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?

A. Tie: California and Europe. Peggy and I traveled to California as a 50th birthday gift to each other. Yosemite, Muir Woods and the Northern Coast are incredible to see. Europe: A large part of my family is there, and it is a treat to visit them, not to mention beautiful sites to see over “across the pond.”

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. A much heavier reliance on electronic communication and an expectation from time to time that one can drop everything and respond to an email, which may require a lot of thought, within a matter of seconds.

There are instances where it is almost out of control.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. Computer. I really enjoy the Kindle, but it is not as much work-related.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. Many. Annual gatherings with family during holidays; college football, especially the annual Georgia-Florida game with my college friends.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. “Unbroken, A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hildenbrand. I do read daily and regularly The Albany Herald, Atlanta Journal Constitution, sports, news and legal periodicals, daily devotionals and at least one book.

Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I typically am up between 7:30 and 8; I work for about an hour at my computer in my study and then come to the office. I am a night owl, so I typically work well into the evening hours.

Q. What famous person would you most like to meet and why?

A. Dale Murphy (former Atlanta Braves star). His principles are such an example for all to follow. If Jimmy Stewart was still alive, he would have to be on the list.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. Relaxing at the beach or lake, work in the yard, golf, exercise.

Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?

A. I was being recruited by some national-level people to run for an elected position statewide in the early 2000s and turned it down.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. Client satisfaction and helping clients right a wrong.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. Long hours, high stress level.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Tie: Constitutional Law in college with Dr. Cox and our Clinical Trial Practice class in law school.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. Tie: International relations field or return to policymaking.

Q. Finish this thought: “On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself …”

A. Traveling, working in the garden, more participation with charities, catching up on sleep, more golf and spending more time with my wife and children.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. Integrity

Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?

A. Hard to say, especially now with the announcement of the postal center here shutting down or phasing out, leading to the potential of other job losses. I think by late 2013 to early 2014 we will be rebounding.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most-played on your iPod?

A. I have a different device, but rock from the ’80s ‘70s and 1960s — lots of Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Eagles, Dire Straits, Elton John, etc. Some classical and jazz.