The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to promote, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct; and to instill public confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, protect and assist the general public. In this spirit, the Better Business Bureau conducts an annual award program to gain public recognition for companies that maintain a solid commitment to conducting their business practices in an ethical manner. Each year, companies of different sizes are selected from 28 counties in western Pennsylvania to receive the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.
On behalf of the local BBB Board of Directors, the independent panel of judges, the BBB staff and our over 3,200 local Accredited Businesses, it is a privilege to recognize the companies listed as winners and runner-ups as receiving the 2010 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. The businesses selected to receive this year's prestigious award are: Beverly Services, Bethel Park PA; and Equity Lending Group, Inc., Zelienople PA.
There were two companies who received runner-up distinctions: D-Bug Inc., Latrobe, PA and SoundWise Hearing Aid Technologies, McKeesport, PA.
About the Winners:
Beverly Services (also known as Beverly Heating and Cooling, Inc.) is one of Western Pennsylvania’s premier commercial and residential heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical contractor.
Originally established in 1942 as Beverly Electric Sales and Service on Beverly Rd. in Mt. Lebanon, the company’s headquarters now reside just a few miles away in Bethel Park.
The company as it is known today has grown largely upon the influence of Richard F. Kennell and his son Thomas Kennell. Richard Kennell or “Dick” Kennell, as everyone called him, was a man of great character and honor. He came with the company in 1967 and soon after purchased the company. He taught to every employee that reputation is everything and that you must always do everything you can to protect your reputation.
He instilled his beliefs in all his employees and also his son - Thomas Kennell who started full time with the company in 1987, after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Business and Economics. At the University, Thomas Kennell served as President of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity where he learned the true meaning of ethics in business. Thomas then worked as the company’s Vice President, C.F.O., and President, purchasing the business in 1997.
In 1995 Beverly Heating and Cooling, Inc. won the Carrier Corporation’s highest Honor, the coveted Carrier Distinguished Dealer Award. The award is a life time award which ranks the company as the Top Carrier Dealer in the country. To be eligible to win the award the dealership must submit a business plan, have executive management site visits, complete dealer assessments, and succumb to the infamous “secret shopper” experience. In 2000 Beverly won the Carrier Distinguished Dealer award again and is one of only two dealers in the country to have ever accomplished this feat.
Also, in 2001 the company started to market under the name Beverly Services as full service plumbing, electrical, and duct cleaning were added to the business offerings. The company tagline was also added “Because we care… we’re always there!” The tagline assures our customer that we will be there anytime that they call.
Torch award judge, Dr. Jim Weber said Beverly Services has “An exceptionally strong ethical culture and well-developed ethics code, especially for a firm this size. The company Web site reinforces the ethical principles at the core of employee behavior. The ethical value of “care” was emphasized in its dealing with its customers and a source of pride for the company. Rarely is ethics articulated as well in a smaller firm.”
At Beverly Services you can always be connected to a live operator and service technicians repair systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is part of every repair, service, and installation at Beverly Services.
“At Beverly we realize that our future depends on our customer’s perception of our company and how well we satisfy their needs and wants. Without customers we would have no reason for being,” states Thomas Kennell. “Our goal is to provide the highest quality, most professional and reliable service and installation of heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical products at competitive prices within our industry. “
“It’s clear from Beverly Services’ values that their daily operations are guided by the premise of what is the right thing to do for their clients, employees and suppliers. This has a direct correlation on their continued success as a leader in the industry,” states Warren King, President of the BBB.
Equity Lending Group, Inc.
Established in 1995 Equity Lending Group, Inc. was founded by Jim Clarke originally from Scott Township and now residing in Harmony PA. Based in Zelienople, Equity Lending Group, Inc. (ELG) is a full service, licensed mortgage company originating both residential and commercial mortgages in Pennsylvania and Florida. The company’s core business is the residential mortgage markets in Western Pennsylvania as well as a recent branch opening in Mechanicsburg, Central Pennsylvania.
The mantra of ELG has always been Professionalism; Full Disclosure and No Surprises at Closing.
The company has weathered severe cycles in the mortgage business by continually putting the customer first. It is through this customer-oriented philosophy that enables ELG to be the choice of hundreds of clients each year especially during uncertain times in the mortgage business.
The cliental of ELG is primarily referral based through financial advisors, accountants, attorneys, real estate agents, builders and home remodeling companies. This network of referral sources, along with over 15 years of previous customers has enabled ELG to excel, while many of its competitors have gone by the wayside and are no longer in business. While the big banks have become inefficient and lacking regarding their customers needs, ELG works closely with its customers providing hands on, face to face contact and professional mortgage expertise to navigate through the quagmire that exists in today’s mortgage markets.
They offer Conventional, FHA, USDA- Guaranteed Rural Housing, VA, PHFA, and Portfolio mortgage products. ELG handles the mortgage process from application to closing and typically sees all of its clients in person, both up front and by attending all of their closings. Offering unparalleled service such as evening appointments in the customer’s home or place of business and a hands on experience from start to finish is what differentiates ELG from its competitors. ELG builds relationships with its customers that are long lasting. Approximately 40% of the companies business is from prior customers. At ELG the sales come naturally through advice, education and the desire to help people.
“In reviewing Equity Lending Group, Inc.’s application, the company’s ethical philosophy which is most impressive is their commitment to educating the client about their services and company which leads to their high level of customer satisfaction,” states Warren King, President of the BBB.
Jim Clarke the company’s owner believes very simply that “if you take care of the customer, the customer will take care of you”. This is evident by the thousands of customer surveys and testimonials that ELG has accumulated over the years. ELG maintains a voluminous amount of customer satisfaction surveys and testimonials, proudly on display in its conference room.
“This award means so much to us, especially in light of the beating the mortgage industry has taken over the last few years. It is great to be recognized by our customers and others professionals we work with,” states Jim Clarke. “We are proud to be true mortgage professionals”
About the Runner-ups:
The history of D-Bug began in 1939 when Francis Neighly bought a franchise known as Extermital Termite Service located in Latrobe, PA. He and two employees implemented all the work.
In 1961, Charles Frisky decided to buy Extermital Termite Service from Francis Neighly after he retired. Charles valued integrity and ethics treating every customer with honest and truthfulness. The people in the community discovered this quality about Charles and as a result, he doubled the size of the business. Hence, Charles got the jobs done right and gave the company a spotless reputation.
In 1976, Hugh N. Morrison Jr. (commonly known as Nick) became Charles’ son-in-law. It was also that year that Charles began experiencing heart problems; therefore, he decided to retire and sell the business. Nick and his wife opted to purchase the franchise from Charles and carry on the family business. Sadly to say, Charles passed away one year later.
Nick followed in his father-in-laws footsteps by practicing integrity and ethics. It was easy considering these qualities were instilled in Nick growing up. Nick strived to achieve and make the business even bigger and better. Nick bought out the Extermital Termite Service franchise, incorporated, and changed the business name to D-Bug Inc.
However, the pest control business was seasonal. Bugs do not swarm in cold weather. Therefore, Nick considered getting involved in another business to pick up the slack of the winter months. He made the decision to learn everything he could about basement waterproofing and in 1983 it was added to D-Bug’s profile. As a result, the waterproofing business was a total success due to facilitating the jobs correctly and treating the customers with honesty and respect.
“What stands out throughout D-Bug Inc.’s application is their dedication and passion about exceeding customer’s expectations. They show respect for the rights of others and being courteous at all times reinforces their belief that the customer is their number one priority,” states Warren King, President of the BBB.
D-Bug Inc.’s initial and main office is located at 1142 Mission Road, Latrobe, PA but due to the expanding business area, Nick opened an office in Uniontown and a warehouse in Greensburg. Actually, D-Bug services ten counties in western PA. In addition to basement waterproofing, D-Bug Inc. also does Versa-Lok retaining walls, cement finishing (driveways, sidewalks, porches), glass block windows, camera sewer lines, install ventilation fans in crawl spaces, and mold and mildew control just to name a few.
Nick guarantees all his work in pest control and waterproofing. Every job is monitored and inspected. He makes sure all employees are highly trained, act in a professional manner, and complete each job efficiently. All pest control employees are licensed and continually participate in training classes to ensure their licenses are valid and the techniques and procedures used are up to date with today’s technology. They do not use sub-contract laborers and have qualified employees doing the work. Just as their motto states, “Get it done right the first time.”
“It is an honor and a privilege for D-Bug Inc. to be selected as first runner-up of the 2010 Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. Our company takes pride in ethical business practices; therefore, receiving this award reinforces our commitment to provide outstanding service and professionalism to our customers,” states Hugh Morrison, Owner of D-Bug Inc.
SoundWise Hearing Aid Technologies
C. William “Bill” Cook, owner of SoundWise Hearing Aid Technologies had been fitting patients with hearing aids for twenty years, when he went back to school and completed a rigorous course of study to become an Audioprosthologist. In 2000, he opened his own company so he could work in a company he knew would uphold the highest ethical standards in dealing with the public. He wanted patients to know that they could count on SoundWise to give them the very best hearing aid for their hearing loss; and at the best possible price, for their financial situation. Bill Cook has always set a high standard of integrity for himself and his company. His employees know he expects no less from them and they strive to live up to his expectations
SoundWise is a small company, but with a big concern for the hearing health of their patients. Consumers expect and deserve to have professionals who are knowledgeable in the latest technology and have the expertise to help them with their hearing health. Their dedicated staff take continuing education courses and complete far more hours of training, than the ten required by the State of Pennsylvania. Hearing aid technology is evolving so rapidly and they recognize that the only way to keep up-to-date is through constant re-education.
SoundWise is their family oriented company which includes their patients as part of their extended family. Their employees are patient-focused and know each patient by their name. They give each patient warm, individualized attention in a friendly atmosphere while serving them in an honest and forthright manner - never putting pressure on them to buy. They explain their hearing loss to them and recommend which hearing instrument would be most beneficial, but the ultimate decision is left up to the customer. Their slogan is: “The choice is always yours,” and it is.
The company and its staff stand behind their product and are not satisfied until the patient is satisfied. They offer superior service above and beyond what most patients demand or expect, even if they did not purchase their hearing aid from them. Their strongest asset is their excellent service which brings in most of their new business through referrals.
“Equally impressive is SoundWise Hearing Aid Technologies’ commitment to giving back to the community,” states Warren King, President of the BBB. “Their dedication to helping those that are in need is another core value which demonstrates their strong belief in doing what is ethical in the marketplace.”
SoundWise reaches out to the community by supporting and contributing to several foundations throughout the world who supply free hearing aids to children and adults who cannot afford them.
“A solid community citizen, providing a critical product to those in need. Ethics clearly supports the company’s employees actions,” stated Dr. Jim Weber, Professor of Business Ethics and Management at Duquesne University and one of the Torch Award judges.
“Today's hearing aid wearers are mobile, busy, and active. They have full lives. SoundWise Hearing Aid Technologies is proud to be able to offer our patients the finest hearing aid technology, the most superior level of customer service and the most caring of professionals in the hearing aid business. To be chosen for the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania Runner-Up Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics gives us an outward symbol of what we stand for: A company whose dedicated professionals really care about the patients we serve. As we strive daily to improve people's lives through the gift of hearing, we never let ourselves lose sight of the high standard of integrity and ethical practices this company was built on,” states Bill Cook, Owner of SoundWise Hearing Aid Technologies.