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Better Business Bureau honors companies for marketplace ethics

Fourteen San Diego County businesses were honored Tuesday for ethical business practices by the San Diego Better Business Bureau.

Six for-profit companies and one nonprofit organization were honored as top winners of a 2012 BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, while seven others were named as finalists.

Now in its 15th year, the Torch Awards is the BBB's annual awards program honors outstanding local for-profit companies and nonprofit charitable organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to ethical business practices, both in operations and in terms of being ethical, reliable and responsive to employees, vendors and customers, according to Sheryl Bilbrey, San Diego BBB president and CEO.

“Consumers want to do business with ethical companies, and our Torch Awards is one way to identify companies that maintain a competitive advantage by adhering to BBB ethical standards,” Bilbrey said. “The Torch Awards program is designed to promote not only the importance of ethical business practices, but the willingness and efforts made by outstanding businesses to ensure that our marketplace remains fair and honorable. It’s the way San Diego celebrates ethical business practices in our marketplace.”

Winners and finalists were selected in categories based on number of employees. Selected as winners of a 2012 BBB Torch Award included (categories according to number of employees appear in parenthesis): On-Site Tech Support (one-to-four); Dream Design Builders (five-to-10); Reilly Financial Advisors (11-to-24); Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc. (25-to-99); Coles Fine Flooring (100-to-249); JW Floor Covering (250-499); and, Pacific Safety Council (charity/nonprofit, winner).

Finalists included: Milholland Electric Inc. (five-to10); San Diego Law Firm (11-to-24); Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar (25-to-99); ASI Heating and Air (25-to-99); Ideal Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical (25-to-99); Anderson Plumbing Heating and Air (100-to-249); and, Bill Howe Family of Companies (100-to-249).

Each year, thousands of U.S. businesses are entered in local Torch Award competitions conducted by BBBs in every region of the country. Winning entries from the San Diego competition will be forwarded to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the parent organization for the BBB network, for an international competition.

The 2012 BBB Torch Awards presentation luncheon was held at the Town and Country Resort Hotel and Convention Center.

Companies and organizations were not the only award recipients at the luncheon. Five high school students who wrote essays on the importance of ethics and integrity in the community were presented with cash scholarships. A total of 258 essays from students attending 87 different high schools in San Diego County were evaluated by the judges. Sycuan Casino was the presenting sponsor of this year’s BBB scholarship program.

This year's recipients of a Torch Award scholarship were (amounts awarded appear in parenthesis): Katie Anastas of Poway, a junior at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in North Park ($500); Gabriella Chan, a senior at San Marcos High School ($750); Melodyanne Cheng, a senior at Torrey Pines High School ($1,000); Malary Greenwood of Fallbrook, a senior at Oasis High School, an independent study high school ($1,250); and Kay Toma of Santee, a senior at Francis Parker High School ($1,500).

In her essay, Toma discussed an event that happened when her family ran a small jewelry retail store. Three customers who accidentally were given too much money in change later returned to the store to give back the extra money.

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