An Interview with Eric Swarthout
Interviewed by: Ronni Bleich
Name: Eric Swarthout
NYSLTA Role: Treasurer
Company and Title: Thoroughbred Title Services, President
Q. Why do you enjoy working with the NYSLTA?
A. It is the best way to connect with people who have similar experiences. Even though we are all competitors, we work together. We put aside our differences and business models and still talk as peers, ask each other questions, and work for the overall betterment of our industry.
Q. What do you plan to focus on this year, as Treasurer of the NYSLTA?
A. My main responsibility is to review the books that Regina and Bob prepare. They handle the day-to-day accounting, but I review and complete the Treasurer’s Report monthly. I have spent some of my time confirming that we have proper controls in place, which is difficult with a small professional staff. I review the expense reports, check writing procedures, and give input into the budget process.
Q. What do you enjoy doing while not working?
A. I have 2 young boys – 11 and 8 – and I enjoy watching them play soccer and baseball, and I have had the opportunity to coach both of them.
Q. When did you start in the title business and how did you get started?
A. I started as an IT intern, originally hired to fix the computers and design the website at Electronic Land Services in 1998. When I graduated college, I was thrown into new things, such as calculating complicated rates, working on commercial transactions, and audit preparation. I began learning each department from the software side. In 2002 or 2003, I approached my former boss and asked to be the Operations Manager. In 2009, ELS became Thoroughbred, and in late 2014 I became Thoroughbred’s President.
Q. Do you have any pets?
A. I don’t have any pets currently, but I do love animals and enjoy feeding the raccoons that visit my deck. Last summer we had a few babies, one in particular that we nicknamed Tiny would regularly eat out of my hands.
Q. Who is the most influential person to you (alive or deceased)?
A. My Father. Growing up, I swore I would never be as sarcastic as he was, but now here I am. He worked hard and was a kind and caring man. I feel like I owe my work ethic to watching him.
Q. What did you want to be when you “grow up”?
A. When I first entered college, I wanted to be a high school physics teacher. After graduating college, I spent some time as an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College teaching classes in their continuing education program. I still enjoy teaching; I regularly teach new Realtors about title insurance and wire fraud. I never expected to be in the title industry, but I wouldn’t know what to do if not for the title industry.
Q. If you were not in the Title Industry, what job/career would you want to have?
A. I probably would fall back on my IT background or look for a leadership role in any industry. I feel that my unique combination of an IT background combined with the finance and management skills I’ve picked up along the way would allow me to succeed in a leadership role in many industries.
Q. What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?
A. Definitely my stubbornness. I don’t give up, ever. Once I have my mind set on something, I will come up with an answer.
Q. Where is your favorite place in the world?
A. St Maarten/St Martin. I have visited the Island 6 or 7 times in the last 5 years and love it there. We always stay on the Dutch side, but do a lot of our dining on French side where the food is amazing.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. I’m a big fan of procedural crime dramas, especially NCIS, NCIS LA, and Law and Order SVU.
Q. What is the last band you saw live?
A. Twenty One Pilots at MSG.
Q. What’s your favorite quote?
A. “Good, fast, cheap – pick any two.” The logic applies to almost everything!
Q. What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
A. At 14, my (divorced) parents each said that they would match any money that I saved from my job to buy my first car. Over the next two years working at McDonald’s, I was able to save $1,000. I bought a $3,000 used car that lasted me 4 years.
Q. What is one thing you have learned about yourself during this pandemic?
A. I truly enjoy coming to the office. While most were working remotely, I came to the office daily. I prefer being there.
Q. Have you tried anything new or different during this pandemic?
A. I have developed a pandemic hobby of bird watching and bird photography. I started off taking cell phone photos. I enjoyed it, so I bought a nice camera and now I take photographs. In North/Central Westchester, there are many trails to go hiking and bird watching. Check out my Instagram page if you want to see some of my photographs.
Q. Tell me something not everyone knows about you.
A. I worked in a local magic shop when I was 12 and 13 years old. I performed magic shows for kids’ birthday parties and at the mall. I can also juggle and make balloon animals!