Emil Norsic & Son was created in 1932 because a local trash collector was not picking up trash from Southampton estates. Emil Norsic saw the need for a reliable garbage collector and created a company based on exceptional service. More than 80 years later, the company continues to "go the extra mile" when providing service to its clients.
Emil Norsic & Son is now a full-service sanitation company, offering rubbish removal, dumpsters, and cesspool pumping and repairs. Phones are answered during business hours and emergency lines are monitored during evenings and weekends. Norsic understands that sanitation emergencies do not always happen during office hours and that customers want problems resolved quickly.
Norsic provides portable rental toilets for construction sites, sporting events, parties, horse shows, fairs, carnivals, benefits and galas. Norsic's Special Events Coordinator guides customers through the rental process and helps determine the amount of equipment that is needed, as well as the power and water supply requirements. Norsic also provides on-site monitoring to take care of any problems that may arise.
Some of Norsic's most challenging work is with film production companies. Norsic currently provides mobile luxury restrooms, showers and dressing rooms for more than 15 film production companies. Production companies have tight deadlines and ever-changing schedules based on script changes and weather conditions. In these cases, Norsic staff are on standby to make sure that trailers arrive on schedule. Norsic assigns a dedicated liaison to meet the needs of each production company.
Norsic staff have many stories about customer service. Skip Norsic recalls a client who dropped a precious ring – containing 22 diamonds, 22 sapphires and 22 rubies – down her sink. He was asked to locate the ring, which required climbing into the cesspool and sifting through liquid waste with a pool skimmer. In the end, Skip found the ring. Despite being covered in sewage, the ring's owner gave him a big hug!
"We are a service business," says Skip Norsic. "We try our best to get things right the first time. If we don't, I want to hear about it and fix it. We've earned the reputation of delivering to our customers, especially under difficult circumstances or tight deadlines. I think about my father and grandfather every day, and am proud to continue their legacy."
Three Generations of Service
Generation 1: Emil "Pop" Norsic
Pop Norsic never intended to stay on Long Island. He was a 15-year-old immigrant from Croatia whose plan was to stop briefly in Sag Harbor and then join relatives in Chicago. Not only did Pop remain on Long Island, he founded a sanitation company – Emil Norsic & Son – that has thrived for four generations.
Pop initially found work at the Fahys & Co. Watchcase Factory in Sag Harbor. There he met the love of his life – Antoinette – who was a maid at a local boarding house. The couple married and had three daughters (Mary, Barbara and Frances) and a son (Emil R. Norsic).
The Norsic family moved to Southampton in the early 1930s after Pop found work as an assistant on an estate. Although his primary responsibility was gardening, he noticed that the estate trash was picked up irregularly and – some weeks – not at all. He asked the Madam of the estate for permission to haul away her trash. Not only did she readily agree, she contacted friends at other estates who had the same problem.
Pop was happy to oblige. By 1932, he had created a garbage hauling business. Pop stood out from his competitors because of his work ethic, as well as because he always wore a shirt and tie to symbolize his professionalism.
Pop took a "hands-on" approach to marketing and became well-known at the Southampton Train Station. During the Depression, estate owners would send their butlers and other service staff to Southampton to prepare the estates for their arrival. Pop – wearing his customary shirt and tie -- would greet the staff at the train station and introduce himself. The staff was impressed by his professional attire and hired him to handle trash pickup at their estates. Pop quickly became well-known and well-respected by the maintenance people in Southampton.
In 1935, Pop purchased a local septic cleaning business. Two years later, a Southampton garbage collector offered to sell Pop his business for $500. When Pop lacked the funds to purchase the business, his son (Emil R. Norsic) supplied a loan. Emil, a caddy at the Maidstone Golf Course in East Hampton, had saved his tips and was happy to fund his father's business. The company "Emil Norsic & Son" was born!
Today, the handwritten list of Pop's original garbage customers is proudly displayed in the Norsic boardroom. These customers include the Vanderbilts and many other prominent American families. Pop Norsic ran the business until he retired in 1962.
Generation 2: Emil R. Norsic Sr.
Emil R. Norsic was born in Sag Harbor in 1920. He graduated from Southampton High School in 1937. In 1938, Emil met his future wife – Anne Raynor – at a friend's wedding in Hampton Bays. The couple was married in 1942. Emil and Anne had two daughters (Toni and Joanne) and a son (Emil R. "Skip" Norsic Jr.).
Emil had no desire to join the family business because he wanted to learn a trade. He became a welder and spent the early part of his career at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation. Emil was such a proficient welder that he became one of only four aluminum welding instructors in the country. Emil enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943, where he continued his work as a welding instructor and a marine aircraft engineer.
After his discharge from the Marines in 1946, Emil joined Emil Norsic & Son. When Pop retired in 1962, Emil took charge of the company.
Over the years, Pop's sons-in-law also joined Emil Norsic & Son and eventually ran independent companies. Daughter Fran's husband (Sid Sims) initially worked in a liquor store in the Bronx. After his store got robbed one too many times, the couple moved to Southampton to work with Pop. Sid Sims opened Sims Sanitation in 1962 and ran it until he retired in 1989. Sid referred to himself as the "Garbologist of the Hamptons."
Daughter Barbara's husband (Peter Nikolich) founded a company called Nikolich Sanitation. Peter ran this company until he and Barbara retired in 1998.
After his retirement in 1985, Emil continued to be an active volunteer in many community groups. He also administered the Emil Norsic Scholarship Fund, which he created in his father's honor.
Emil remained proud of his military service. For 64 consecutive years, he played "Taps" at the Southampton Village Memorial Day service. At age 90, Emil was honored with an engraved bugle for this contribution to the community. Emil passed away on December 9, 2014.
Generation 3: Emil R. "Skip" Norsic Jr.
Skip was 12-years-old when he began working for his grandfather during summer vacations. His first job was riding in the garbage trucks and collecting trash. He received his Commercial Driver's License in 1966 and still regularly drives the company's 40-ton trucks.
In 1969, Skip earned a business degree from Bryant University in Providence, Rhode Island and went to work for his father. At that point the company owned three trucks. Happy to put his business education to good use, Skip focused on growing the company and purchased new equipment to help make the business more efficient and profitable. In 1974, Skip started the portable toilet business.
Skip took over the day-to-day operations in 1985. In 1987, he and his brother-in-law (Mike McCallen) became co-owners of Emil Norsic & Son.
In 1987, the business was still being run from the Norsic's kitchen table. Skip purchased an office trailer and invited long-time friend Rene Debenedette to help grow the business. With Rene's help, the company expanded to a second trailer in 1999. Renee's responsibilities included answering the phone in addition to managing the septic business, portable toilets division, and special events. Emil Norsic & Son continued working from trailers until they bought their current building in 2006.
In 1989, Skip attended a trade show that was selling high-end portable toilets. The interior of the restroom trailers housed luxury restrooms with two or three stalls, urinals and sinks. They also had heat, air conditioning and fresh water. Skip recognized that these portable restrooms would be perfect for Hampton events such as the Hamptons Classics Horse Show, one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States.
Skip purchased a portable restroom trailer, which became the first of many. Skip was correct that customers loved these luxury restrooms. Demand spread throughout New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. The company now owns more than thirty mobile restroom trailers, many of which have been designed to Skip's specifications.
Construction was now booming in the Hamptons. Under Skip's direction, the company added dumpster pickup and delivery to construction sites. In 1999, Norsic purchased another portable toilet company.
In 2007, the Norsic restrooms were a hit at the Ross Concert Series. These five concerts featured musical superstars that included Prince, James Taylor, Billy Joel, and Tom Petty. With concert tickets costing $15,000 each, patrons expected luxury and the Norsic restrooms delivered!
That same year, Mike McCallen retired. Skip Norsic became the third generation owner of Norsic & Son.
By 2010, the restroom trailers were a popular addition at many high-end events, including fundraisers and weddings. Norsic's reputation grew when they provided luxury restroom facilities for a month-long event at Lincoln Center in New York City. One of Norsic's mobile restrooms was even featured on the television show Inside Edition!
That same year, one of Norsic's wedding planner clients went to work for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. This
series premiered in 2010 as a period drama set in Atlantic City during the 1920s and 1930s. During the series' five
season run, Norsic provided luxury restrooms for their film locations around New York City. Today, Norsic provides
mobile luxury restrooms, showers and dressing rooms for more than 15 film production companies.
The Tradition Continues
Today, Emil Norsic & Son employ almost 70 people and own more than 100 pieces of equipment. As a full-service sanitation company, Norsic offers a full range of comfort stations as well as rubbish removal, dumpsters, and cesspool pumping and repairs.
The office is located in a freestanding building in Southampton, New York. The company also owns a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Riverhead, New York. This climate-controlled warehouse is used to store restroom trailers and other equipment.
At the heart of the company is Skip Norsic, who provides the same personalized service that his grandfather did 80 years ago (except for the dress shirt and tie). Although Skip is quick to recognize the legacy of his father and grandfather, he also credits his friends, advisors and trusted employees for the success of his business.
Emil Norsic & Son now welcomes a fourth generation into the business. Skip is excited to be working with his nephews, Chris Zorko and Michael E. McCallen, who are continuing the tradition of service and excellence that was started by Pop Norsic in 1932.
Commitment to the East End Environment
As one of the East End's oldest and largest sanitation companies, we are involved with environmental issues every day. Moreover, the Norsic family has lived in this area for nearly a century. Here's where we've chosen to build our homes and raise our families. We are active in civic and volunteer organizations and we're proud to be a part of the fabric of this community. We have deep roots here and we intend to stay. Naturally, we are deeply committed to the preservation of a healthy environment for the Hamptons in particular, the East End in general, for the larger community of Long Island and it's surrounding waters.
We know that we have an impact on the environment just as we know that every other business, every government agency, indeed, every individual, has an impact on the environment. It's just a fact of life. We also know that for each of us, it is a responsibility to see that the impact we do have is a positive one. Here is what we're doing.
First, the very nature of our business puts us in the forefront of efforts to preserve the environment. The east end, as we know it, would not exist without companies such as ours. We are specialists in servicing septic systems in the sandy soil conditions and high water table of the area. We haul tons of household garbage and commercial waste to authorized dump sites every day, and we provide field sanitation for farm workers, road construction crews, builders and special events throughout the East End.
To accomplish this, we must operate specialized equipment and we know it is imperative that steps be taken to minimize the impact that equipment has on the environment. We have taken those steps.
We have hired several staff mechanics to maintain our equipment so that noise and emissions are kept at a minimum. We have paved our property to keep down the dust that would otherwise be kicked up by truck traffic and the perimeter of the property has been landscaped, not only for aesthetic reasons, but also specifically designed to help with noise abatement. We have also instituted a number of policies and procedures to keep unnecessary noise from disturbing our neighbors. We have built sound absorbing berms along the boundary line.
We have also appointed an Environmental Issues Coordinator to help focus our efforts in these matters. Having worked for years in jobs where he regularly dealt with environment-related issues, Brian G., was the obvious choice to tackle the job.
He has organized the workflow on the property to optimize efficiency and reduce noise and dust. He accepts and evaluates all environment-related suggestions and / or complaints. He supervises operations on the property and advises us on environmental policies. He is organizing a program whereby we can exchange ideas and information with other sanitation companies so that the industry, as a whole, can become better-informed and more responsive. Brian also acts as liaison with interested governmental agencies.
Our efforts go even further. For several years, we have participated in the Suffolk County Adopt-A-Highway program where our employees volunteer to clean up a section of local highway on a regular basis. We belong to trade organizations that routinely address environmental issues and we have always been willing to listen to responsible criticism and to take corrective action where it is warranted. Why wouldn't we? We live here and when it comes to the environment, we're all in it together.
To make a suggestion or lodge an environmental complaint, write to:
Emil Norsic & Son, Inc.,
1625 County Road 39
Southampton NY, 11969
Include your name and address so that we can keep you informed as to what we're doing.
Skip Norsic is active in many community organizations, including:
- Southampton Chamber of Commerce (Member)
- Southampton Golf Club (Founder Member)
- Southampton Hospital (Quarterback Club)
- Long Island Liquid Waste Association (Board of Directors)
- Southampton Town Solid Waste Advisory Committee (Member)
- Member Ducks Unlimited (Member)
- Hampton Collegiate Baseball League (Co-Founder and Board of Directors)
- Portable Sanitation Association International (Member)