Bill is a Managing Partner & Rollerblader
Bill has over 35 years of experience serving a variety of clients. Prior to joining Strothman and Company in 1995, Bill worked for the Louisville office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an international accounting firm. Bill is a past Business First “Forty Under 40” recipient and was named Outstanding Accounting Alumnus by the University of Louisville. Bill also has several business valuation and financial forensics certifications.
Bill talks about his passion for inline skating and how it has given him the confidence to be more upfront about his passions outside of work. He also talks about how he has yet to find someone to keep up with him and his skating!
• How he got his first pair of skates
• Talking about skating at work
• His birthday video
• The excitement of inline skating
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Pictures of Bill Skating
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Welcome to Episode 243 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I’m interviewing a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it in another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and,” the things above and beyond their technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you in the office.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s being published in just a few months. It’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s listening to the show change the cultures where they work because of it. It’s really, really awesome. Please don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. And this week is no different with my guest, Bill Meyer. He’s the Managing Partner at Strothman and Company in Louisville, Kentucky. Now, he’s with me here today. Bill, thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Bill: Yeah. Thanks for having me.
John: Oh, this is going to be awesome. I’m so excited. But before we do this, I have my rapid-fire questions right out of the gate here. So I hope you’re buckled in and ready to go.
Bill: Sure thing.
John: All right. Favorite color?
John: Nice. How about a least favorite color?
John: Oh, interesting. Okay. How about when you fly on an airplane, window seat or aisle seat?
John: Nice. Okay. How about do you have a favorite actor or actress?
Bill: No, not really.
John: Not really? Yeah. None of them or all of them, either way. That’s the same, right?
John: Yeah. Right. All right. All right. How about early bird or night owl?
Bill: I’m an early bird. I used to be a night owl, but I’m an early bird now.
John: Early bird. Nice. Okay. How about do you prefer more pens or pencils?
John: Pens? Nice. Okay. How about would you say more Star Wars or Star Trek?
Bill: Oh, I like them both, but I’d have to say Star Trek. I grew up with that.
John: Okay. All right. Fair enough. On your computer, more of a PC or a Mac?
Bill: Oh, definitely PC. I have an iPad and all that, but PC is the way to go.
John: Totally. No, I’m a PC guy myself. How about do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?
Bill: Vanilla, believe it or not.
John: Okay. Yeah. That’s actually been a pretty popular answer, believe it or not also. How about a favorite sports team?
Bill: University of Louisville Cardinals, ranked number one in the United States right now in basketball.
John: All right. The Cats fans just went crazy right now. Do you prefer more hot or cold?
Bill: I like it hot. I love summer.
John: Okay. All right. All right. How about do you have a favorite number?
Bill: Twenty-one when I’m playing blackjack.
John: Oh, there you go. Nice. I love it. How about more cats or dogs?
Bill: Dogs. Neither but dogs if we have to have one.
John: Between those two? Okay. We’ve got three more. For financials, more Balance Sheet or Income Statement?
Bill: Income Statement.
John: Income Statement. All right. That’s just a silly one. Two more. How about do you have a favorite Disney character?
Bill: Mickey Mouse.
John: Classic. There you go. And the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
Bill: I like my skates.
John: There you go. That works. That’s as good of an answer as it gets right there.
Bill: I have about five pairs, so I like them equally.
John: Oh, five pairs? That’s awesome. Is there a particular brand that you favor more?
Bill: Rollerblade primarily.
John: All right. Oh, so when you say skates, there’s ice skates. There’s roller skates, inline skates.
Bill: I have inline skates. Then I have a traditional quad skating rink skates. I do ice skate, but not very often. I don’t own any ice skates.
John: Yeah. Plus, it’s cold. And you like summer so that’s not — I’m catching on here. I’m catching on. But that dovetails right into that passion that you have at the skating and mostly inline skating, I guess from the video that I saw. Is this something that you’ve been doing for a long time or was it later in life where you picked it up?
Bill: I’ve been doing it since I was about ten or 11 years old.
John: Oh, that’s cool. That’s awesome. Is it something that you just never gave up? It was just like just something that you like to do and just kept doing it?
Bill: A little bit. You know what? I started my career at PricewaterhouseCoopers like you. Early years, at least back in the day, it was hard to do anything else except work. But I saw the first roller blades in a magazine. They were initially hockey trainers. They weren’t available in Kentucky. So I ordered a pair from a Canadian hockey supply store.
John: That’s awesome.
Bill: I maintain — and I don’t know this for sure, but nobody’s disputing me that I had the first pair of Rollerblades in the city of Louisville.
John: Oh, for sure. And probably the state of Kentucky. Are you kidding? Or south of the Mason-Dixon? I mean good Lord, man. That’s from a Canadian hockey company. That’s so cool.
Bill: And landscapes were invented as hockey trainers. I don’t know if you knew that. They weren’t initially used for recreation. They were used to train hockey players in the summer, so they could keep heels up.
John: That’s so cool that — I mean you saw them in a magazine. You’re like, “This is what I want to get.” We’re going back a little bit. Did they look similar to what they do now?
Bill: Well, they had wheels. But other than that, they were hard plastic, not much cushion, not much support. Now, they’re very advanced. Every year, they get more and more advanced literally.
John: Is this something that you talk about at work? Do clients and co-workers know about this?
Bill: It comes up. I don’t bring it up, but it just comes up in conversation. “What do you do after work? What kind of hobbies do you have?” Most people here at work know that I do it, especially since my birthday video came out.
John: Yeah. And we’ll definitely have a link to that for everyone listening from the show page at whatsyourand.com. It’s actually a really cool video and well done. But it’s not something that you shy away from in conversation either?
Bill: Oh, no, not at all. I think it’s fun and cool.
John: Yeah. Exactly. Early on in your career, was it something that you would talk about as well or sometimes, it seems like there’s a confidence issue for newer people?
Bill: I wouldn’t talk about it much early in my career. I didn’t really keep it a secret, but I wasn’t as open about it as I am now.
John: Yeah, for sure. And do you think it’s due to you being more experienced and more confident or just things have changed?
Bill: I think both of those things. There’s people like you that are celebrating CPAs doing different things. And I commend you for that.
John: Oh, thanks, man. Yeah. I guess it’s just trying to show that we’re not all sticks in the mud that people want to make us into. Especially accountants themselves, I feel like they believe that story more than anyone. And it’s just not true, right?
John: This might be an odd question, but do you feel like it gives you a skill that you bring to the office in some way?
Bill: Well, it gives me a lot of confidence that I can still do that after so many years. So if I can do that, I can do other things. So I think it does give me some confidence.
John: And I’m sure it makes you pretty relatable. I mean especially as a managing partner, I mean that’s a big deal to be human as opposed to just this God-fearing type of person in the corner office that everyone’s scared of.
Bill: Inline skating is in decline. Five or ten years ago, it was really cool. Now, you don’t see it as much. But that’s not why I did it. I did it because I enjoyed it. There was a sense of excitement. Of course, there’s always this danger when you’re on them.
John: Well, yeah. I mean it is some excitement. There’s certainly not that sense of danger when you’re auditing a balance sheet.
Bill: Plus, it’s really great exercise. It’s a low-impact exercise.
John: Right. Yeah. Absolutely. I mean it’d much better than running on your knees and ankles and everything. That’s for sure. Have you ever come across other inline skaters through work?
Bill: I have not come across too many. One of our partners, he tries it from time to time. I’ve never been out with him because he couldn’t keep up with me or even close. But my wife tried it a few times. She had a couple spectacular crashes, so she gave it up.
John: Oh, no.
Bill: Yeah. I don’t have a lot of people to skate with.
John: Based on that video, I mean you’re not just doing pads. I mean you’re at a skatepark, like actually doing some ramps and all these different pipes and things like that. So that’s really cool.
Bill: Two mayors ago, this guy, David Armstrong, was a conservative lawyer type Mayor, just very buttoned down. But for some reason, he got this idea that he wanted a skate park. So we have one of the — they tell me one of the best skate parks. It’s not the best in the country, but it’s certainly one of the top ten or 15. And when it opened, I just wanted to give it a try. It’s thrilling to be able to jump into a bowl and come back up on the other side without killing myself.
John: What goes through your mind as you’re getting ready to go, yeah, over the leap there?
Bill: Well, I don’t want to fall. But I don’t have a fear of falling because if I did, I would fall. I stay in the beginner and intermediate parts of the park. I don’t try the expert parts. Thirty years younger, I probably would.
John: To me, it’s all expert. So I don’t know why they labeled it like that. I mean it’s all impressive.
Bill: But as far as being exciting, it’s basically like jumping in the three foot end of a empty swimming pool. So that’s pretty exciting to be able to do that and not kill yourself doing it.
John: Right. Exactly. Without the water. I mean it’s like, “There you go.” And plus, you’re going fast. I mean to stop, is it like a hockey stop or is it the brakes on the back?
Bill: Inline skates come with breaks. I don’t use them anymore because they’re actually more of a hindrance. I just drag my right foot to stop primarily. And you can stop a lot quicker.
John: No, that makes sense. Absolutely. And the one thing that I’m wondering — this is just in my own head — is how much is it on an organization to create a culture where it’s cool for people to share these hobbies and passions? Or how much is it on an individual to just create their own little circle?
Bill: Well, I think at our firm, pretty much everybody knows that I do this. There’s other people that do other cool stuff. I think most people aren’t inhibited in sharing their hobbies and what they do after hours.
John: Right. Yeah. Is there anything that you guys do specifically? Or is it just a tone at the top and that’s just the way the firm is?
Bill: Yeah. I think it’s the tone at the top. We don’t really ask people to disclose stuff like that, but I think people do. And as far as the business, we’re not a small firm, but we’re not a huge one either. So everybody pretty much knows everybody and gets to know what they do and what they like and that type of thing.
John: Yeah. And plus, you’re around that person more waking hours than your family. So finding out who they are as people makes for good business because then what drives people and maybe it’s a common thing. Then magic happens. But either way, it’s still cool. How much do you feel like — does the tone at the top really matter for organizations, do you think?
Bill: Oh, I think it does. We are in the process of hiring someone that was in public accounting with another firm, got out, went in the industry, wants to get back into public accounting. He was very careful with us. He wanted to get to know several of our people because he said at his first firm, it was kind of clinical and stiff and not very fun-loving. He felt like our firm was. And that’s why he wanted to resume his public accounting career with a firm like ours.
John: Bill, this is great. I mean obviously, skating is something that’s unique. Do you have any words of advice to someone listening that thinks that they have a hobby outside of work that has nothing to do with their job or they’re the only one that does it?
Bill: Yeah. I would just tell them to talk about it. People will be more interested in you and will probably ask you a lot of questions about it. You may interest them to get involved in with what you’re doing.
John: It doesn’t hurt to share. I mean provided it’s something that’s legal. That’s obviously important. But I’ve never heard a story where it’s hurt a situation to share.
Bill: Right. Right. Nobody’s going to be mad at you.
John: Right. And if they are there, I mean that would be the biggest laugh ever. “I’m angry that you inline skate.” it’s like, “Really? What?” That’s crazy. This has been really fun, Bill. But before I wrap it up, it’s only fair that I allow you to be able to rapid-fire question me if you’d like. So if you have any questions for me, I’ll let you fire away.
Bill: Yeah. I was going to ask you how you feel like you’re giving back to the profession that you started in many years ago?
John: Wow. That’s a really good question. I guess I feel like I’m just blowing the doors off of how cool we actually are. It really frustrates me when someone says, “Well, you don’t seem like an accountant.” I don’t even know what that means. I mean that’s so insulting to an entire profession. And come to find out that people like you are the norm and that people that are multidimensional. And we’re all out there and yet, we’re not talking about it. So I feel like the way I’m giving back is encouraging people to talk about this, to own it, to be proud of it and make it a thing because it makes the work better. And it makes the profession better in the end.
Bill: Yeah. I got the impression it wasn’t just a job for you just a way to earn a living. It was something that you had a passion about.
John: Yeah, a little bit. I mean when you’re doing it like this, you certainly have to have a passion for it because otherwise, you’ll go insane. And maybe I’m both. Maybe I’m crazy, too. I don’t know.
Bill: Yeah. It’s been great talking to you and learning more about you. Thank you for helping our profession so much.
John: Oh, no. Thank you so much, Bill, for being a part of What’s Your “And”? This was awesome.
And everyone listening, if you want to see pictures of Bill or the video that I mentioned, you can maybe connect with him on social media. You can go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. While you’re on that page, please click that button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread that who you are is so much more than what you do.