Show up, play hard and never stop learning.
These are rules for young athletes to live by. Substitute the word “work” for “play” and it’s also a synopsis of the formula for business success advocated by Ravi Norman, chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based Thor Construction; and newly anointed as one of Minnesota’s Most Admired CEOs of 2016.
As CEO of Thor Construction since 2009, Norman has overseen the company’s steady progress in positioning itself as a full-service construction company that also happens to be the largest Black-owned company in Minnesota – and one of the largest African-American owned construction companies in the country. In so doing, Norman has emerged as a high-profile community voice for ways to better empower minority communities to earn a greater share in the region’s economic prosperity. Norman speaks out publicly through the region’s news media – and privately through his position as a board member with numerous regional civic organizations – as an advocate for eliminating barriers to greater economic inclusiveness for minority communities in the region’s prosperity.
Norman was among 10 Minnesota corporate executives receiving the 2016 Minnesota’s Most Admired CEOs award on Sept. 16 from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. The publication focused the award on CEOs of more entrepreneurially-driven companies with annual revenues below $1 billion.
A 1992 honorable-mention McDonald’s High School All American basketball player, Norman preaches a business credo for success that could well have been drawn from his more athletic playing days. His “sit-eat-grow” plan for success covers such elements as show up, invest in the intangibles, be a team player, always improve and generate real opportunities for economic growth and prosperity.
Thor has compiled an admirable portfolio of work under Norman’s direction, including its involvement in major sports and multi-purposes arenas such as U.S. Bank Stadium (the new, $1.1 billion home of the Minnesota Vikings) and TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, and the $375 million T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The company recorded record revenues of $151 million in 2015. In furtherance of its growth, Thor announced plans earlier this year to build a $30 million, multi-tenant office complex in North Minneapolis that will serve as its corporate headquarters.
“I am honored and humbled to be included among the list of Minnesota’s Most Admired CEOs,” said Norman. “Now I look forward to working with the business and civic leaders of Minnesota to help me convert that admiration into a stronger legacy of sustained investment for ensuring better economic outcomes for all Minnesotans.”