Pettis Norman, once known as one of the premier athletes in the National Football League, is currently recognized as a successful businessman with a keen sense of civic responsibility and boundless energy. His friends and associates attest to his integrity, positive approach to living, and astonishing capacity for hard work.
With more than forty years of business success, this former Dallas Cowboys star achieved a record of accomplishment in several fields of business. He is an acknowledged leader in the community - a banker, industrialist, entrepreneur, and political activist - and respected throughout the country.
In college and professional football, Pettis achieved an enviable record as an athlete. He was voted First Team, Currier All American in 1962, while attending Johnson C. Smith University, and he graduated with a degree in physical education, with a minor in biology. Shortly after graduating, Pettis signed with the Dallas Cowboys Football Club and served as the team’s starting tight end. He played in five play-off games, three championships, and one Super Bowl. During his football career, he was voted one of the most popular Cowboys by the fans in Dallas.
In 1971, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers and was chosen co-captain in 1972. He was voted the San Diego Chargers’ “Man of the Year,” and was first runner-up for the NFL’s Man of the Year.
While actively engaged in football, he prepared for a career in business and devoted much of his time to community, civic and educational endeavors. In the mid 60’s, he began a seven-year career in banking with South Oak Cliff State Bank in Dallas, after a brief successful position with Sears & Roebuck, as a sales and marketing representative.
At South Oak Cliff Bank, he was initially hired to work in Public Relations, and quickly rose to Assistant Vice President in Business Development. Soon he was promoted to Vice President, and became the first African-American Banking Officer in Dallas, Texas.
His experience in banking led Pettis to answer his calling in life - business. He ventured into real estate, apartments, restaurant franchising, and single-family housing for three decades. He created four companies under the umbrella of PNI Industries, including wholesale fuel distribution, petroleum transportation, convenience stores, wholesale automotive battery distribution and fleet maintenance.
He created The Dallas Together Forum, consisting of approximately 20 CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, to address the pressing issues of minorities and women participation in the “bounties of our nation”. The Dallas Together Forum became a successful role model replicated across our nation and communities abroad.
Today, the major portions of his business enterprise have since been sold. He applied his education and love of people and community interest to produce some of the best operations in the region and the nation.
Giving back to the community and helping others are central aspects of his philosophy. He served on numerous boards, including, but not limited to, Johnson C. Smith University, Paul Quinn College, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Citizens’ Council, Dallas Alliance, JPMorgan Bank Advisory Board, Goals for Dallas, and Dallas Together.
Pettis served on virtually every major civic board in Dallas, including the Dallas Urban League, Goodwill Industries, the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the Martin Luther King Center, Dallas Association for the Mentally Challenged, and the Dallas Parks & Recreation Board. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Dallas Charter Revision Committee and co-hosted the Dallas Area United Negro College Fund Telethon. Pettis enjoyed his business accomplishments during his NFL career and while raising three daughters with his late wife, Margaret.
With such commitments comes recognition, and Pettis has been honored with numerous community awards for his tireless efforts. Among these are: Humanitarian of the Year by Lions Club International District 2; Outstanding Young Man by the Dallas Jaycees; Real Estate Council Doers, Dreamers and Unsung Heroes Award; Minority Supplier of the Year, Dallas Fort/Worth Minority Business Supplier; Paul Quinn College Distinguished Trustee Award; Johnson C. Smith University Distinguished Alumni Award; and the Liberty Bell Award presented by the Dallas Bar Association. He was named one of Johnson C. Smith University’s All-Time Great Athletes Hall of Fame, the CIAA Conference Hall of Fame, and the Charlotte Sports Wall of Fame.
A native of Charlotte, by way of Lincolnton, Georgia, Pettis Norman is a proud family man with a beautiful wife, Ivette, three lovely daughters, Sharneen, Sedonna and Shandra, and one much-adored grandson, Alexander. He credits his mother & father, family, friends, educators, and his faith in God as the primary factors in his success.
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