“From the time I was a little kid, I loved everything about the outdoors…climbing trees, slogging through creeks and streams, hunting, fishing, and everything in between,” said Norm Latona, founder of Southeastern Pond Management, headquartered in Alabaster, Alabama. “I was a city kid…my family didn’t hunt and fish…but I still loved it!” Growing up in Birmingham, Latona attended John Carroll High School, where he wrestled for Joe Sicola and Dan Tourtelotte. “Coach Sicola basically pulled me out of the hallway and told me I was going to wrestle. I was a small kid – wrestled 98 pounds as a freshman. I quickly fell in love with the sport. I had always played sports…baseball, football, soccer…but there was something very different about wrestling, and I took to it quickly. Looking back, those days shaped me into the man I would become…it sounds kind of crazy, but I’ve always considered myself a wrestler first!”
Career pursuits would eventually lead Latona to Auburn University, where he studied Fisheries Science. Encouragement from one of his fisheries professors led Latona into starting his private service and consulting company in 1989. Southeastern Pond Management, which now employs around 50, staffs four locations in the southeastern U.S., providing fisheries management consulting and service to lake and pond owners, including privately owned properties, municipalities, home-owner groups, golf courses, and office parks.
“The private lake and pond business was brand new when we launched in the late 1980’s. Initially, the challenge was letting folks know that we existed…that there was an outfit for hire that could help service their lakes and ponds -manage their liquid assets, as we like to say!” Today, Southeastern Pond Management services over 30,000 lakes and ponds in states as far from Alabama as Texas and the Carolina’s.
In 2003, Latona joined forces with a group of local families and friends to create the non-profit, Alabaster Youth Wrestling Association (aka, Warrior Wrestling Club). He served as President of that organization for 8 years, helping to oversee the construction of the state’s first private dedicated wrestling training facility (Warrior Wrestling Complex). Over the past 18 years, Warrior Wrestling Club has produced dozens of National All-Americans, 11 National Champions, the state’s first Cadet as well as Junior FS/GR National Champion, and close to 50 collegiate wrestlers. Numerous program alumni now give back to the sport volunteering, coaching at various levels, and officiating. “I truly believe that wrestling is the greatest sport on earth. It helped shape who I am, and it has meant everything to my family. I owe so much to wrestling…I could spend three lifetimes giving back to the sport and never come close to equaling what it has done for us!” Latona currently serves as the Chairman of Team Alabama Wrestling, the state’s USA Wrestling affiliate.
Norman Latona was born in 1966 and graduated from John Carroll High School in 1984. He married Shannon Latona in 1989. They have three children, Dominic (24), who wrestled for Coach Tony Robie at Virginia Tech University, Sam (21), who currently wrestles for Coach Robie and Virginia Tech University, and James (18), who will be attending the US Naval Academy next fall where he will wrestle for Coach Cary Kolat.