Norsic & Son Still Going Strong After 73 Years in Business

Thu May 05, 2005 - Northeast Edition

In the early 1930s, while the nation was in the throes of the Great Depression, Emil “Pop” Norsic worried about his financial future like so many others of his time.

In 1932, however, an opportunity came along for Norsic when he was offered a chance to buy the assets of a failing company. He did not see this as a risk; rather he saw it as his big chance to take control of his own destiny and make a better life for his family.

Pooling his meager savings with his 12-year old son’s caddying money, he paid $500 for the business, which consisted of two trucks, a hand-operated pump and a list of cesspool and garbage customers.

At first, he was barely able to keep his fledgling company afloat. In time though, he reached a milestone when he hired his first employee. His business survived through World War II, after which it finally began expanding. During this time, Norsic’s two son-in-laws joined the company along with his son Emil R. Norsic.

With additional equipment and a growing list of accounts, the company provided a living for the entire family. When Pop began to slow down, he split the business into three parts. The son-in-laws struck out on their own, creating two new companies, Nickolich Stations and Sims Sanitation.

Emil R. Norsic took over for his father and ran the company until his own son, Emil R. “Skip” Norsic Jr. joined him in the 1970s, gradually taking over some of the responsibilities.

In 1980, Emil R. Norsic stepped down and Skip took the reins as the population boom hit eastern Long Island. Skip took full advantage of it. The company grew steadily as he purchased new equipment and hired more employees. Eventually when his uncles were ready to retire, Skip bought back their businesses, and Sims and Nickolich returned under the Norsic & Son banner.

The company’s growth has continued. Norsic & Son Inc. now owns a sizable fleet of heavy equipment and specialized trucks. Today, the company primarily provides sewage removal and pumping for cesspool emergencies. The company also rents portable potties and roll-off dumpsters.

Additionally, Norsic operates a waste transfer station, which it uses strictly for its own garbage collection business. Trucks are brought into the transfer station to drop off their loads, which are then compacted and reloaded for transportation to area landfills.

Norsic’s Current Operations

Emil R. Norsic Jr. is president, and Mike McCallen and Rene DeBenedette are vice presidents. The company has approximately 51 employees.

Norsic operates 20 garbage routes, from which the garbage is hauled to various transfer stations throughout Long Island. Norsic also operates a moderate sized demolition company, processing construction demolition material down to a 12-inch minus, which is then hauled to a Brookhaven, NY, landfill.

Modernizing the Fleet

Over the past several years Norsic has used a rubber-tired excavator for processing debris at its transfer station. As truckloads of construction debris are brought in, the excavator aids in unloading the trucks. Debris is then put into a large receptacle and is compacted to reduce the number of trips to the landfill.

When a substantial amount has been collected, larger trucks are brought in and the accumulated material is transferred to the landfill. Norsic’s transfer station operates six days a week, eight hours a day, continuously.

An excavator used this frequently can have a short life expectancy, and the company had reached a point where the downtime it was experiencing with its older excavator had become a problem. The company needed to make a move.

Mike Jordan, Norsic’s local sales representative of Edward Ehrbar Inc., had for some time been trying to work on equipment requirements with Norsic. Jordan had already sold to Norsic, two pieces of equipment — a pressure washer and a Komatsu WA320 rubber-tired loader — and had begun making a strong move to present the features of the Komatsu PW220-7 rubber-tired excavator to Mike McCallen,

McCallen’s experience with the WA320 had been a positive one. For five years, the machine had performed flawlessly, which helped Norsic establish a trust for both Jordan and the Komatsu brand. As a result, the company became a proud owner of a Komatsu PW220-7 and has been putting it hard at work.

McCallen has been very pleased with the machine’s dependability and durability. He also appreciates the easier maintenance and accessibility to the machine’s components, as well as how quietly the excavator runs.

For McCallen, the PW220-7’s deck guard, which is standard on Komatsu excavators, also has been a plus. The deck guard is an angular piece of steel around the base of the machine that dramatically reduces damage during operation.

Product support provided by Jordan and Edward Ehrbar Inc. has been just as dependable as the PW220-7, according to McCallen.

“Parts availability has been astounding,” McCallen said. “Our operators love the new machine. They were particularly impressed by two things: a much faster cycle time and, face it, in this business, time is money, and that the machine itself was vastly more comfortable than the old machine.”

Since the sale of the PW220-7, Norsic also has purchased a PC15 mini-excavator, which the company uses for trenching when doing cesspool and septic work.

The More Things Change...

If “Pop” Norsic were alive today, he would barely recognize the company he founded for $500 in 1932. Today, just one of his company’s computers cost at least that much. Norsic’s equipment fleet, with its modern amenities and technological advances, is a far cry from his two run-down trucks with which he started.

“Pop” would, however, recognize Norsic’s work ethic and its commitment to service which, just as they were 73 years ago, are still essential ingredients to a successful business.