The goal of the program is two-fold. First, the BBB Center for Character Ethics seeks to applaud businesses with exemplary ethics and to hold these businesses up as examples for others in the marketplace. Secondly, the program provides hands-on ethics education for students at the College of Business at Colorado State University, Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado and University of Wyoming College of Business.
Companies of all sizes are nominated for the BBB Torch Awards by their customers and business peers and are vetted by a nomination panel that convenes each summer. During fall semester, the student groups meet with representatives from nominated companies and conduct a thorough review of the company’s business practices. Students then prepare a nomination paper based on the criteria of the Six TRUST! Principles of EthicalEnterprising:
Transformation at the Top
Reinforce and Build
Unite the Team
! Enthusiastically Reinvest!
Successful completion of the students’ nomination papers results in a financial honorarium of $2,000 awarded to the business honor society or college of business at each university to enhance business education opportunities. The honorarium is funded by voluntary contributions from BBB Accredited Businesses.
An independent panel of judges consisting of past award winners, BBB Board members and other distinguished business professionals convene in January to review submissions and to determine finalists and award winners.
The BBB Torch Awards 16th annual project came to fruition this year, April 30th, when BBB Accredited Businesses, current nominees, past winners, university partners, sponsors and others gather for a ceremony honoring the winners.
2014 Torch Award for Ethics winners
Mountain States Farm Bureau Insurance
Winner in 51 or more employee category
Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance, headquartered in Laramie, lives and breathes the Code of the West. “It reinforces what was quietly always here,” says CEO Jim Geese. “The company’s values – honesty and integrity, teamwork, solution driven and ownership – are front and center on its website. Employment longevity is more the rule than the exception for the 475 employees who are offered free blood screens, gym memberships as well as use of the in-house exercise room. Every year Mountain West employees pick two charities – one local and one national – and conduct fundraising events throughout the year to support those causes.
Winner in 25-50 employee business category
“One of our goals is to raise the public perception of roofers,” said Chris Humphrey, who has owned Capitol Roofing in Cheyenne for 28 years. “We sell value rather than being the cheapest.” The former rodeo bull rider, who opened a location in Fort Collins two years ago, credits the company’s success to employees who are hired based on character, teachability and willingness to work as a team, and who collectively put safety first. When it comes to giving back, Humphrey’s soft spot is for anything to do with kids’s sports. The company also partners with No Roof Left Behind and Habitat for Humanity to provide roofs to those in need.
SteamMaster Cleaning and Restoration
Winner in 11-25 employee category
In its 30-plus years, SteamMaster Cleaning and Restoration of Minturn has earned a reputation for being fair and honest with customers and employees alike. The company lives and breathes “BRIAR”: Balance, Responsibility, Integrity, Excellence, Results. CEO Raj Manikem spearheaded an industry-wide drive for funds and equipment to help Boulder area residents who didn’t have insurance or funds to make needed repairs following the September flood. The company has raised more than $350,000 via its annual golf tournament with proceeds benefiting organizations and causes in the Vail Valley. Every year SteamMaster provides free heavy-duty cleaning services to area firehouses on Sept. 11.
Microbial Research Inc.
Winner in one to 10 employee category
In 2003, Don and Debi Bade started Microbial Research in Fort Collins to perform laboratory support for research of veterinary pharmaceuticals. When staff doubled in size, the Bades worked with outside HR sources to create an employee policy and a Competencies and Expectation guideline to help employees set and meet goals. To encourage optimal performance, staffers are encouraged to commend peers whose performances significantly benefit the company. The Bades regularly provide birthday cupcakes for homeless children to share with classmates as well as mom gifts for Project Self-Sufficiency. They also purchased 20 drums for Laurel Elementary in Fort Collins to allow students of all abilities to make music together.