We sat down with Todd Norris, who covers Morbern sales for the Carolinas and Virginia, to talk about his experience in the industry and some impactful advice.
How long have you been in the textile industry and what were you doing before you joined Morbern?
I have been in the contract furniture industry for 32 years, which includes 18 years spent working with textiles. During that time I have represented CF Stinson and I currently represent Panaz Textiles. In 2002, I founded Legacy Furniture Group with a focus on acute and post-acute healthcare furnishings. I continued that work until selling the company to Haworth in 2011.
You have a lot of experience in the contract furnishings world. Is there something that intrigues or excites you about that part of the commercial design world?
I have always enjoyed the hunt for the next project, the next challenge. I enjoy designing and selling contract furnishings that help people find the solutions they need.
Why work for Morbern? What makes them stand out?
I first became familiar with Morbern in 1993 when I began my sales career with territory in Virginia. Morbern was, and is, known for manufacturing durable, coated textiles with a deep product offering and custom print options–capabilities that make them a marketplace leader. The company also is one of the last North American manufacturers of PVC-coated fabrics.
How are Morbern’s vinyl offerings superior to other products in the marketplace?
Morbern offers a wide range of vinyl options. These products are superior because of the proprietary chemistry and manufacturing processes that Morbern and its people have perfected over the years.
What have been the biggest changes in the textile business since you started in the industry?
Vinyl fabrics have come a long way in terms of their texture, and today’s offerings from Morbern feel as soft as leather. The issue that vinyl fabrics often faced with off-gassing has also been greatly improved with manufacturing advances.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I was always told to “under promise and over deliver”–advice that continues to serve me well to this day.
What are you currently reading?
These days I spend a lot of time reading about 100 emails per day! But when I do have free time I enjoy reading James S. A. Corey’s science fiction novel series, The Expanse.
Do you have any quotes that guide you in business or in life?
There are a few quotes that I’ve returned to time and again throughout my career. One is, “Common sense is not so common.”
I also admire the quote from Sam Goldwyn at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” A final quote I always return to is taken from several verses throughout the Bible, “Treat others as you would have them treat you.”
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I think people would also be surprised to learn that I’m an Advanced Scuba Diver. I’ve been certified since I was 16 and I have been fortunate enough to dive in most of the Caribbean. I earned my advanced diver’s certification about 15 years ago to allow me to achieve greater depths and longer dives. Diving is a pastime my wife, two daughters and I really enjoy.
Are you a native North Carolinian?
I am a native of North Carolinian from Hickory. There are two “H’s” in the heart of furniture in North Carolina–Hickory and High Point!
What can we find you doing when you’re not at work?
I like to spend a lot of time hiking in the North Carolina mountains with my wife and our Lab-Sharpe mix, Zayda.
What do you consider your greatest business accomplishment?
One of my greatest business accomplishments will always be founding Legacy Furniture Group. I’m also very proud of the fact that in 2010 we won a Healthcare Design of the Year Award from Healthcare Design Magazine for our Barinomics Recliner, a standard recliner that expanded to accommodate a bariatric patient.
What habits have you purposefully developed (in business or in life) that have served you well?
I always strive for excellence in everything that I do. I also always try to return anything I’ve borrowed in better condition than it was when I borrowed it.
If there is one habit that drives me every day, it’s to remember to never give up, follow up and always look up!