This week, I attended my first Torch Awards, in St. Louis, and it was very cool. The Torch Awards is the marquis event for Better Business Bureau, a time when we recognize and celebrate companies, organizations, and individuals who have displayed the highest ethical standards. We do not have a Torch Awards in Mid-Missouri – yet! – so the St. Louis ceremony includes winners from our region, which is why I was there.
The first thing to know is that the event is held at Chase Park Plaza, certainly one of the nicest event venues in St. Louis – being there definitely sent the message that this was an important day, deserving of attention. The second thing is that the business community, in particular, really supports the event every year; would you believe it was a sell-out, with 500 or so people in attendance? I think that says something.
Here is a look at this year’s winners, recognized for their commitments to exceptional business ethics and customer satisfaction:
- Elite Travel Inc., Cape Girardeau, Mo.
- Frederic Roofing Co., Brentwood, Mo.
- General Grant Car Wash & Detail Center, Marlborough, Mo.
- The Gutter Cover Co., St. Charles, Mo.
- J. Laughlin Plumbing Co., Valley Park, Mo.
- Mosby Building Arts, Kirkwood, Mo.
- Padgett Building & Remodeling, Swansea, Ill.
- Pulaski Bank, Creve Coeur, Mo.
- Renewal by Andersen, Maryland Heights, Mo.
- ServiceMaster of Columbia, Columbia, Mo.
- Variety, the Children’s Charity, Maryland Heights, Mo.
- Weinhardt Party Rentals, St. Louis and Kirkwood, Mo.
- The Women’s Safe House, St. Louis, Mo.
I particularly enjoyed watching four high school students receive Student of Ethics awards of $2,500 each, to be applied toward college or trade school expenses. They were selected from 135 students who submitted essays, transcripts and recommendations. The winners are:
- Christopher Barnett, Eureka High School, Wildwood, Mo.
- Leah Krafft, Washington High School, Washington, Mo.
- Jenna Liu, Rock Bridge High School, Columbia, Mo.
- Travis Whitt, Altamont Community High School, Altamont, Ill.
It was an incredible ceremony, in which we focused on what I love about Better Business Bureau – building a more ethical world where business and consumers can have real trust. It really makes me look forward to next year, when we can have our own Torch Awards, right here in Mid-Missouri.