My First BBB Torch Awards Ceremony

TorchAwardsImageThis 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.


Welcome to Mid-Missouri Better Business Blog!

Better Business BureauWelcome to Mid-Missouri Better Business Blog, the official online voice of Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau. This is our first post, and we are excited to provide a new line of communications as we further the conversation about trust, integrity, and excellence in business.

Each week or so, we will share information about Better Business Bureau activities in Mid-Missouri, tips for consumers, scams to watch out for, and pretty much anything else we can think of to improve the lives of our readers and contribute to a business community with a foundation in trust.

I will be writing most of the content for our blog – Sean Spence, regional director for Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau. As a long-time entrepreneur and advocate for various causes, I support Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau because of my love for the business community (yeah, yeah, I suppose that sounds a little corny – but it is absolutely true).

Business works best when it has a foundation in trust – when business and consumers trust each other – and that is pretty much what Better Business Bureau is all about. The organization has its origins in the early 1900’s, when the practice of modern advertising was on the rise and, unfortunately, the practice of deception in advertising was rising right along with it.

The organizations that led to what we now call Better Business Bureau were created by the business community in an effort to set standards for truth in advertising. Isn’t that cool? The business community did not want government or anyone else telling them how they should behave and communicate; they wanted to regulate themselves, and they created Better Business Bureau as a mechanism for doing that.

As a long-time member of the business community – mostly right here in Mid-Missouri – I love that idea of us setting our own standards, of us coming together to build a more trusting world. That is why I am with Better Business Bureau, and why I look forward to sharing it with you and our community.