When Dennis Holien founded Persona in 1980, Lyle Norton was first in line to join him after working together at another sign company for the previous seven years. Lyle, known as Employee #1 and #1 Problem Solver, has held half a dozen different job titles in his 35 year tenure with Persona, beginning as Plant Manager, and culminating as Vice President of Process Improvement. Norton sees technological innovation and advances as the biggest changes in sign manufacturing from 1980 to the present. In addition to his many coworkers, Norton sites “the challenge of problem solving” as the job aspect he will miss most in retirement.
At Norton’s retirement celebration Dennis Holien remarked, “Persona would not be where we are today without Lyle. He has been an important part of the company over the years.” Taking costs out of production has been Norton’s most significant contribution, according to Holien.
Holien also praised the quality of commitment by Norton and his family. When the company pursued production of neon signs, wife, Carol Norton, went to school to learn neon bending. She then returned to the plant to train the rest of Persona’s employees. With her husband’s retirement, Carol looks forward to traveling and spending time together with their grandson, Mason. She is “grateful Lyle had a career he loved.”
“I have known Lyle for 30 years. Today a Persona institution retires,” commented Greg Kulesa, President of Persona’s holding company, ANZA, Inc. “When I think of Lyle, I think of integrity. I’m privileged to have worked with Lyle and will miss him.”
Norton plans to continue using his problem solving skills as he restores his ’69 Camaro.