Tyler Norton can’t say he was necessarily surprised when his father, Verdis Norton, came out of retirement. Verdis had spent decades leading companies at the highest levels and, at age 69, was technically retired.
“One of the prevailing underpinnings of my dad’s ethos is hard work,” he observes. “He was a great provider for our family—he took that very, very seriously, and there was a focus on delivering results.”
What did surprise Tyler was what Verdis came out of retirement for. It was an obscure technology that tapped into the power of redox biochemistry. Verdis sat on the board of a biotech company that was researching it, and they were producing what seemed to be… salt water.
A NEW VENTURE
The company had given Verdis a device that would make one quart of the product at a time. “When I started drinking it,” he recalls, “I was thinking more clearly and had more energy, and I thought, ‘What in the world is this stuff?’”
Verdis started to study and learned that the redox molecules in that “salt water” occur naturally in the body and support cellular health. He recognized that a product with redox technology would have the potential to impact people’s well-being in a way nothing ever had before.*
But the company behind it had been struggling for 15 years to capitalize on the technology, and they were about to go bankrupt trying. With key investors on board, Verdis made an offer, bought the technology and patents, and set about finding a way to bring this burgeoning area of science to the forefront.
Tyler admits he thought his dad was crazy. “Think about it,” he laughs. “If your 69-year-old dad wanted to start a business selling salt water out of Salt Lake City, would you invest in it?”
Tyler wasn’t alone. The entire Norton family was skeptical.
“Our Sunday dinners were very interesting for a while,” Tyler smiles, remembering his dad being the center of a lot of jokes, often ones that characterized him as a wild-haired, labcoat- wearing mad scientist. (Verdis still chuckles when he thinks back on it.) “But Dad’s one of those guys who might be wrong, but he’s never in doubt,” Tyler asserts. “Once he decides, it’s on.”
A BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY
A seasoned strategist, Verdis knew how to turn companies around. “I had a lot of confidence that we could figure out the right thing to do,” he says. After millions of research dollars and countless lab hours, the breakthrough finally came.
Now, instead of producing one quart of the redox product at a time and consuming it right away before it had a chance to denature, they could produce more and it would last. The product had a shelf life. ASEA® REDOX was ready for the marketplace. The vehicle would be network marketing, uncharted territory for both Verdis and Tyler.
A BURGEONING BELIEF
A senior executive of a large company at the time, Tyler had a decision to make. “It was hard to imagine making a significant career shift and committing to the multilevel marketing industry,” he admits. “I would never have left my position without knowing this was real.”
The more time he spent with ASEA®, the more Tyler saw what was happening. “I would go out to meetings and have untold numbers of people coming up to me, largely wanting to thank my dad through me,” he says. “I would call my wife from the hotel and say, ‘This is bigger than I thought—this is affecting more people than I imagined.’”
Those thank-yous have continued. Tyler recounts a recent conversation he had with an associate before a meeting. She shared the experiences she and her children had with our product. Tyler then referenced the conversation in that meeting.
“She told me afterward, ‘I kind of felt like I mattered tonight,’” Tyler says. “I remember feeling indignant at the thought that she might entertain the notion that she didn’t matter. Then I realized that this company can be the means whereby someone who does matter feels like they do. That, to me, is what it means to better people’s lives.”
Verdis, too, is moved by the difference ASEA makes. “I think I have at least 500 letters,” Verdis shares. “You read those, and you can hardly keep the tears back.”
A RELATIONSHIP, DEEPENED
As the company grew, so did Verdis and Tyler’s relationship. “I’ve always really enjoyed my interactions with Tyler,” Verdis says. “Even at a very young age, he could get me laughing, and I’m a more serious kind of person.”
Still, their time together had been limited during Tyler’s childhood. “My dad was very driven, very focused on his career,” Tyler discloses. “Our relationship was not, I don’t think, the prototypical father-son relationship.”
Going into business together changed that dynamic. Tyler recalls one particular trip when the two flew into Munich, then rented a car and drove to Austria.
“He downloaded things to me about his life history I had never heard before,” Tyler muses. “By the time that week in Europe was over, I realized that without this experience, I wouldn’t know my dad at the level I do.”
A COMPANY WITH A SOUL
Tyler has a long-held belief that every corporation has a defining spirit. “That’s a company’s ethos,” he explains. “For some, it’s just money. But in our case, we wanted it to be about humanity.”
From his background in financial services, management, and consulting, Tyler had learned that teaching uplifting, positive principles that underscore good human interactions attracts and retains the right kind of talent.
Tyler brought something to the company that wasn’t there,” Verdis asserts. “I credit him with bringing some real heart into the business.”
That ideology has evolved into the ASEA® Ethos, something Tyler now teaches at major events in a series of lectures. The message resonates across the globe and attracts associates who want to build more than just a business.
“I hope ASEA is a place where people are comfortable to come and be themselves,” Tyler says.
THE BEST 10 YEARS
Looking back on ASEA’s first 10 years, Verdis says they’ve been the best of his career.
“I don’t regret anything,” he says. “I had a great career. I wouldn’t change it, other than I would probably go into network marketing when I was 18 instead of when I was 69.”
Tyler admires that his dad, at 80, can say the last 10 years have been the best. “It’s the whole notion of ‘beat yesterday,’” he observes. “Try to do something better in your 70s than you did in your 60s or your 50s or 40s.”
One of those “better” things for Verdis was mastering the network marketing culture. “The first time they said, ‘You’ve gotta hug people,’ I said, ‘Oh, I don’t do that—I don’t hug,’” Verdis laughs. His background in corporate America had demanded an opposite culture, and as he puts it, “You touch, you’re out.”
But once Verdis broke through the barrier, it became easy for him. “This business is all about people, so it’s good,” he says. “Some of the closest friends I have in the world are friends in ASEA.”
LEAVING A LEGACY
Verdis has often been asked why he started a company at 69 years of age. His answer: “To leave a legacy.”
Now retired (for real this time), Verdis has scaled down his day-to-day involvement with ASEA but still advises at the board level.
“I want to see ASEA in every country. None left out,” he maintains.
Tyler points out that while it’s true that Verdis’s original vision of redox life sciences experiencing massive growth is coming to fruition (redox is now being taught at the university level), his focus isn’t all business.
“Dad wants everyone to benefit from the products,” Tyler says. “He still lives in the same home and drives the same cars. When he started this company, he did it because he believed it would help people.”
Tyler, too, sees ASEA’s legacy reaching far into the future. “Legacy is not about me,” he says. “It’s about people we don’t even know yet. It means you’re focused on something beyond you, what comes after you, not what’s hitting you now.””