Local BBB honors companies for their ethics

Better Business Bureau award

The Toledo Blade, May 23,2002

Ken Fankhauser turned over to his employer a check an auditing client had made out in his name instead of cashing it, a move that so impressed the customer he eventually sold the Toledo business to Mr. Fankhauser and his brother.

Thirty-eight years later, the Fankhauser family business – Toledo Metal Spinning Co. – was one of three firms given the first Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics by the Better Business Bureau of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.

The award is to recognize companies committed “to exceptionally high standards of fair dealings in their relationship with the public,” said local BBB President Dick Eppstein. Nominees had to fill out a four-page form about their policies and practices, and entrants were judged by a panel of community leaders.

In yesterday’s ceremony, Toledo Metal Spinning won in the medium-sized business category. Golden Construction Co. of Toledo won in the small-business group and Lifestyles For Ladies Only, Inc., of Lambertville in the large-business categories.

Toledo Metal Spinning’s ethical behavior was forged by the honesty of Mr. Fankhauser, the 45-employee firm’s president, said one of his sons, Eric, a company vice president.

“We just do what sort of came naturally to us,” Eric Fankhauser said after the ceremony. “We’ve upheld ourselves to that standard.”

Customers and employees nominated more than 70 businesses for the awards, which various Better Business Bureaus nationwide have given to the most ethical firms in their areas. The list was winnowed down to nine finalists, three in each category.

J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state, and Kenneth Hunter, president and chief executive officer of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., in Arlington, Va., spoke at the awards ceremony at the Pinnacle in Maumee.

A former chief postal inspector of the U.S. Postal Service, Mr. Hunter urged businesses to be wary of fraud. Violent-crime rates have fallen, but white-collar crimes have increased 10 percent to 20 percent a year, led by a 40 percent annual rise in identity theft, he said. “There’s still far too much complacency and acceptance of the existing condition,” he told about 275 people at the event, which followed the local BBB’s annual membership meeting.

Other Torch Awards finalists in the small-business category, made up of firms with one to 15 employees, were Fisher Appliance & Refrigeration of Temperance and Salsberry Christmas Tree Farm of Delta. In the medium segment, firms with 16 to 50 employees, Beck’s Construction Co. and Leader Engineering-Fabrication, both of Napoleon, were finalists. In the large category, The Andersons of Maumee and Sky Bank of Bowling Green were finalists.