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15 Voices – 15 Countries: Steve de Kort, USA

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NORMA Group is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The blog series 15 Voices – 15 Countries gives 15 colleagues from 15 countries an opportunity to report on their experiences at NORMA Group and tell us how NORMA Group has developed at their location.

Steve de Kort is Western Division Sales Director at NORMA Group subsidiary NDS in Woodland Hills, California.

Steve, how long have you been working at NORMA Group?

I have been with NDS since 1989 – 32 years already. Back then, NDS was a very small, privately-owned company. Right from the start, I always had the opportunity to develop and thanks to the mentoring of key supervisors and teammates I was fortunate to be selected for several promotions. We were acquired by NORMA Group in 2014. That opened a lot of new doors for NDS as significant investments were made to the US Water Management business. These investments allowed us to improve production and increase quality and shared efficiencies. The exchange of information and ideas with colleagues from the automotive sector gave us a real boost and new perspectives.

How has the company changed or developed since you started working here? And what have been the most memorable events for you?

As previously mentioned, NDS was still a small company when I started working here in 1989. Then we were taken over by a private equity company in the 1990s. That signaled the beginning of period of significant and accelerated growth. In the years that followed, we acquired more industry related companies and we quickly became a larger and more diverse organization, known not just for drainage but for Water Management Solutions. The product portfolio grew along with the workforce and we built a very talented organization. At the beginning of the 1990s, we specialized mainly in drainage products. As a result of the acquisition of a significant number of companies, we also expanded our product focus to include irrigation and Flow Management solutions. Today, we are a key market leader in the US and we are very proud of our achievements to date with more work to do.

In the early 2000s, Mike Gummeson became president of NDS, a position he still holds today. Mike established a new corporate culture and a strong sense of belonging and guiding principles. We embrace this culture today and it is a key differentiator between NDS and our industry peers. Customers and new employees can feel the culture directly. We stick together and move the company forward as a group driven by Mikes vision for Water Management.

What would you like to see in the future of NORMA Group?

For NORMA Group and NDS, I hope that we can become a leader in water management not only in the US market but also around the world. In the future, whenever anyone is asked what kind of irrigation or drainage system they have in their garden, the answer should always be the same. “An irrigation system from NDS-NORMA Group.” I hope we can increase awareness of our products as well as our expertise worldwide. Water is the world’s most precious resource, and we ensure that it is used carefully and efficiently. For me, that’s what makes my job more than just a job – it’s a passion that is also shared and embarced with all of my NDS/NORMA Group colleagues. I want our work to contribute positively to the future of this planet. And that’s exactly the opportunity we have here at NDS and NORMA Group.

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