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Lincoln Club of Orange County Jun 14, 2022 2:53:18 PM 6 min read

Manifesting Meritocracy In The Land Of The Free

Member Spotlight: Jan Eckermann

Orange County, CA - June 14 - “I feel like I’m living the American dream,” Dr. Jan Eckermann said. When he first arrived in America at the young age of 19, Dr. Eckermann only had $400 in his pocket and a student visa. Now Dr. Eckermann is a board certified neurosurgeon with his own boutique practice in Newport Beach and producer of luxury cigars.

Originally from Germany, Dr. Eckermann was raised by two lawyers dedicated to their political activism. He recalled them marching for causes and unfortunately arguing unsuccessfully before the German Supreme Court to legalize homeschooling across the country.

As he put it, once he arrived in America he plowed through college in a couple years and spent time working as a teacher’s aide prior to pursuing medical school.

I feel like a lot of Americans who were born and raised here take it for granted that we’re still, for the most part I think, a meritocracy,” Dr. Eckermann recalled. “If I was completely lazy, I probably wouldn’t have done anything and hoped to get some government handouts and whatnot. So I feel like if I can do it, anyone can do it and there are countless examples.

As an immigrant and physician, Dr. Eckermann is no stranger to comments about his conservative political leanings. However, he shared his belief that there are many more closet conservative immigrants.

I think there’s a huge Hispanic conservative population and I mean, they’re getting continuously indoctrinated to vote Democrat just by the nature of being an immigrant,” he expressed. “Most that I know don’t want a handout. They don’t want it. They want to work for themselves and have a sense of self-worth.

Since establishing his own surgery center, Dr. Eckermann admitted that he has benefitted from being able to call the shots. While many hospitals were shutting down for elective surgeries, Dr. Eckermann had an influx of patients who needed care. He was able to provide major surgeries for brain and spine diseases and disorders and perform spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain relief.

I find it [neurosurgery] fascinating,” admitted Dr. Eckermann who has watched the field change rapidly over the past decade. “Maybe someday we’ll never open a skull again. Maybe some nanobots injected through your veins will take care of everything even in my lifetime.

In his practice, Dr. Eckermann feels that neuromodulation and spinal cord stimulation are among some of the biggest developments in the field as well as seeing stem cells taking a bigger role in the very near future.

In his free time, Dr. Eckermann married a favorite pastime of his with his entrepreneurial spirit to create his cigar brand, Oyla Fine Cigars.

It’s a passion project gone wild,” Dr. Eckermann shared. “I initially wanted to make this cigar just for myself–and I’m not that kind of megalomaniac, self-indulgent guy that I need to have my own–but I had two cigars that I really liked and went back and forth between them. I thought to myself, if these two cigars could have a baby, this would be the perfect cigar.

Oyla Fine Cigars was then born when Dr. Eckermann found a small, boutique place in Nicaragua to produce roughly around 500 cigars a year for himself, family, friends, and even patients. Dr. Eckermann described his signature cigar as having a lot of the flavors that he liked without being harsh on the tongue.

The Oyla Fine Cigars brand currently is in California, Kentucky, West Virginia and available online, but Dr. Eckermann shared that his company is expanding. He noted that while their business has been steadily increasing over the years at a slow and organic pace, he doesn’t mind since he has maintained a very small, boutique operation without any major marketing or investing in a large inventory at the moment.

We’re releasing a new line in August with a lighter wrapper and it’s a really, really smooth cigar,” Dr. Eckermann explained. “Our main flagship is very smooth too, but this one, the Connecticut, is going to be just like vanilla and cream… you can have it for breakfast.

Between his bootstraps mentality bringing him from Germany to America, his nose-to-the-grindstone attitude about getting through medical school, his passion for quality and timely medical care, and his entrepreneurial drive to create his own company out of a favorite pastime, Dr. Eckermann is the American dream personified. Having been interested in politics his whole life, it was only natural that he and his wife Fanny joined the Lincoln Club of Orange County.

I think everybody who pays taxes on some level should be interested in what’s being done with the money,” Dr. Eckermann said, explaining that despite growing up conservative his interest in politics has grown over the years. “I got really excited during the Trump presidency and that’s why I think I reached out to the Lincoln Club. I wanted to get more involved because I do feel that Trump kind of represented the silent majority, the reasonable people."