Norb’s presidency has smoothed the path for significant initiatives and challenges for OSDA and me in 2017. With his combination of industry knowledge, team outlook and diplomatic skills, Norb spearheaded the Balance Calories Ohio rollout. This project brought all of his lessons into focus for me.
We had significant work to do in a cross-section working group of member companies and he never let “partisan” Pepsi politics override his judgment. In fact, he saw opportunities for all of our members to shine rather than grab the spotlight just for the Blue team. A huge lesson in making everyone feel comfortable and welcome to contribute.
On difficult days, his calm, reassuring presence lead me back from the trees and made the forest visible again. How? He is gracious and unfailingly kind. And those are increasingly rare qualities. Norb makes people want to treat others better. He has proven that you can be both a fierce competitor in business and someone others want to know.
His gift for photography and gardening underscores this softer, creative side. If you want to see his keen mind and reverence for life’s beautiful things, check out https://norbsteuber.smugmug.com/ The work reflects his love of travel and deep faith in God. This will be his second act and a lovely one it is.
Our last “official” meeting was my annual evaluation. The setting was a low-key homey diner and his advice to me wasn’t all about performance goals and spreadsheets. He asked that I find more ways to balance work and life in 2018. That is the essence of Norb—a deep level of caring that makes people see that they matter beyond sales numbers or achievements. And that is his biggest lesson for me.
Executive Director, Ohio Soft Drink Association
AS NORB PREPARES FOR HIS NEXT ADVENTURES, HE SPENT A FEW MOMENTS SHARING SOME INSIGHTS WITH OSDA IN THIS Q&A.
How did you get started in the beverage industry?
I began my career in the beverage industry on May 16, 1977. While working in a local grocery store, I spoke to the Pepsi guy who delivered the product about a job possibility. I applied for a position and was hired as a driver salesman.
Norb with incoming President Jennifer Richmond
What is your favorite memory from your career?
In 2005, I won one of the most prestigious PepsiCo awards—the “Ring of Honor,” which fewer than one percent of the total workforce receives. At the time I was in the role of Key Account Manager, calling on one of our major grocery chains. I was able to grow their business double-digits by utilizing our local properties, the Bengals and Reds, through marketing events at the store level.
What makes you most proud to have worked in the beverage industry?
Although the beverage business is a consumer goods business, the people who work in it are the most valuable assets. I am proud to have worked with so many dedicated people who strive to make our industry what it is.
What has been the most important accomplishment of the OSDA during your tenure on the board?
The Balance Calories Initiative, which we launched in Columbus this summer, is the most important accomplishment of OSDA during my tenure. Given the future of the industry and consumer buying trends, it laid the foundation for OSDA and the industry to begin working with local municipalities and government officials to help families balance calories through healthier beverage choices.
What words of wisdom do you have for others in the industry?
Working in the beverage industry can be very rewarding because of the competitiveness of the business and the dedication of the people who strive daily to make it better. If you are willing to work hard, this business can be very rewarding because of the relationships that you build and the people you work with.
What are your plans for retirement?
My wife Mary and I are looking forward to traveling a lot and spending more time with our daughter, Cassie. I also hope to take my photography skills to the next level.
What else would you like to add?
My career has included 17 years selling and delivering, two years as a sales representative, 10 years as a key account manager, and 11 years in operations. During that time, I also finished my undergrad and MBA.
I have been with Pepsi through it all.