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In our NORMAPeople series, our employees from around the world report on their daily work, how they joined the company and what they appreciate about their work.
Mike Fallon is Vice President Sales at the NORMA Group subsidiary NDS in California. He has been a permanent member of the NDS team for more than 30 years. In an interview, he tells us about his career moves and how NDS has changed over the past 30 years.
Mike, when did you start working at NDS and what has changed since then?
I joined NDS in 1989. I started out as Eastern Regional Sales Manager. Back then, NDS was still a very small company with around 30 employees, and our product portfolio included only a few products, like grates and channel drain, for instance. It was a thrilling experience for me at the time, because my colleagues and I were able to help shape and develop the business from the start. In the beginning, our main goal was to tap new markets in the USA. At the time, NDS was focused on customers on the West Coast. Gradually, we extended our customer base to more and more states. Thanks to extensive sales management training, I was able to move up the career ladder and deepen my expertise. This was also when my career really took off because I was promoted to Vice President Sales. I therefore played an active part in moving into new markets and attracting new customers. Today, our products can be purchased in many countries around the world.
The course we set back in the 1990s built the foundation for what the company is today. We expanded our product portfolio, tapped new markets and hired new colleagues. Within a few years, the NDS workforce therefore swelled to several hundred employees. We focused on extending our product portfolio in the stormwater business. Today, our product portfolio covers stormwater, flow management and irrigation. Since then, I have been responsible for all employees and remits in the NDS sales department.
The beginning of the 2000s heralded a new exciting phase for us. The focus was on acquisitions. Buying many companies in a wide range of water management sectors enabled us to expand our business and ramp up growth in sectors that are important to us, such as stormwater.
In 2014, NDS was acquired by NORMA Group. How did this affect you and what has changed as a result?
Since joining NDS, the company has been bought and resold several times, so the sale of NDS was not a new experience for me. However, being acquired by a company was indeed new to us all, because until then, NDS had always been bought or sold by private individuals or private equity firms. From the first, communication was lively, and we were always involved in upcoming changes. Along with some other colleagues, I was given the chance to study at the Frankfurt School of Finance. Studying in Germany meant that we got to know many new colleagues from Germany and the world, so in no time at all, we grew into one large, global team. The acquisition also allowed us to pool our expertise and organizational structures, and to increase our effectiveness for the future.
Last but not least, you have been working at NDS for more than three decades. What prompted you to stay with the same company for so long?
In the USA, it is not customary to stay with a company for so long. Employees tend to change their employer often. I’m very happy at NDS, because we’ve always cultivated a growth-oriented mindset. We were always given opportunities to develop personally, to shape the company’s future, and to explore new paths for growth.