Norm was executive director of the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission (SSCRPC) from 2007 until 2017. He also served as city planner in the administrations of Springfield Mayors Karen Hasara and Tim Davlin. He moved to Springfield in 1991 to work for Governor Jim Edgar's Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, first leading the policy planning and research program and later serving as director for community development. During his time with the SSCRPC the organization published a regional strategic plan for Sangamon County and all of its communities. He earned a bachelor's degree from Western Kentucky University, a master's degree in communication from the University of Kentucky and completed all coursework toward a doctorate in Public Administration at the University of Illinois Springfield.