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 awards 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, BBB staff and our almost 3,200 local Accredited Businesses, it is a privilege to recognize the companies listed as winners and runner-up as receiving the 2013 Western Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. The businesses selected to receive this year's prestigious award are: Susan Muschweck Interior Design, LLC of Gibsonia, PA; and Service Line Warranties of America, a Utility Service Partners company, of Canonsburg, PA.
There was one company who was selected to receive runner-up distinction: NET Xperts LLC of Pittsburgh, PA.
About the Winners:
Susan Muschweck Interior Design, LLC:
The mission of Susan Muschweck Interior Design, LLC is to make designing and remodeling decisions with integrity, by keeping the client’s vision in mind to assist in affordably creating space they will love. Muschweck’s background spans nearly two decades of award-winning set styling for broadcast, video and print mediums. Her company’s cost conscious model, tailored work to each specific job and straightforward compassion have built a solid reputation with top-notch contractors, suppliers and a growing client base.
In addition to providing clients with quality service, Susan Muschweck Interior Design, LLC values community service by supporting local animal shelters and partnering with community service agencies and consignment stores to recycle items disposed of in the design process that could be useful to those less fortunate. Several local and national organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Lighthouse, Treasure House Fashions (a non-profit that serves to support women, particularly those in crisis), and Ambiance Boutique (a consignment store whose profits support homeless women), are among those that have benefited from Muschweck’s work. These groups assist in recycling items that could use a change of scenery and another chance at life.
According to Torch Award judge, Dr. Virginia Gerde, “Susan Muschweck Interior Design, LLC charges by the hour not the job, so the client receives the most for their money and a personalized design for their wants and needs. The company gave excellent examples of making decisions that put the needs of the customers and vendors above those of the firm. Supporting a strong business community, Susan Muschweck hires long-time vendors and new entrants in the field. The owner is direct and open about expectations for others and for herself."
“As a small, service-oriented business, it’s imperative that I provide my clients with intelligent and professional design service 100 percent of the time,” says Susan Muschweck, owner of Susan Muschweck Interior Design, LLC. “By keeping their best interests in mind, I am able to sustain my business. My staff and I apply this same sense of respect in the workplace and are honored to receive this award.”
Service Line Warranties of America, a Utility Service Partners company:
Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) is the consumer facing organization that provides utility service line warranties to consumers nationwide and is part of the Utility Service Partners, Inc. (USP) family of companies. USP was formed in 2003 and soon thereafter acquired Columbia Service Partners, Inc. (CSP)—a utility service line warranty provider--from NiSource, Inc. SLWA soon thereafter began working with regional utility companies to jointly offer service line warranty products.
Recognizing the need to address an aging national infrastructure, SLWA began working with the National League of Cities (NLC) in 2010 to develop a program to provide cities and municipalities across the US that would educate their residents on their ownership responsibility for water and sewer line laterals. Later that same year, the NLC and SLWA forged a partnership and introduced the NLC Service Line Warranty Program that combines an educational program and warranty solutions for municipalities and their residents throughout the US. Today, this program offers water and sewer line protection to over 3.5 million residents through nearly 200 municipal partners.
Headquartered in Canonsburg, PA, SLWA has over 50 employees and has helped over 60,000 homeowners save over $45 million in utility service line repairs.
Torch Award judge, Dr. Jim Weber states, “Service Line Warranties of America assimilates integrity, ethics, trust, and honesty as central values for its organization. This firm’s ethical employee training includes six pillars of character and emphasizes a positive approach toward “the benefits of being ethical.” The firm also created a Community and Employee Engagement Committee to better enable the firm to act responsibly toward the community.”
Commenting on the program and the Torch Award, Philip E. Riley, Jr., President and CEO of SLWA, says, “Service Line Warranties of America is extremely proud to be selected as a Better Business Bureau Torch Award winner for 2013. Our commitment to marketplace ethics has been a constant standard within our organization. This award underscores our Vision of ‘Bringing peace of mind, one community at a time.’ We very much appreciate the Western Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau's recognition of our high standards that we will continue to adhere to each and every day.”
About the Runner-up:
NET Xperts LLC:
NET Xperts LLC is a customer-friendly business that provides computer and network technology services to clients in the Pittsburgh area. The company works with organizations that are both large and small, as well as non-profits and educational institutions, to develop technology plans that meet strategic business goals. The goal of NET Xperts LLC is to help customers meet business objectives through becoming their trusted technology partner.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, NET Xperts is also a partner with Hewlett-Packard and Symantec Corporation to provide ongoing excellence and support to clients. In the ever changing technology industry, NET Xperts continues to focus on establishing its technicians and company as a top-notch, knowledgeable organization through achieving constant, high ranking certifications.
NET Xperts provides enhanced services to non-profit organizations by offering them with a special rate, along with several other benefits. This includes sponsorships for events, promotion through several types of media and donations. NET Xperts LLC is the Official Network Solution Provider of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
Founded in 2002, all four founding partners of NET Xperts continue to grow and improve the business, having hired more than 20 full-time employees, while maintaining strong office values.
“NET Xperts has a straightforward list of values that they incorporate into their training and day-to-day operations," says Torch Award judge, Dr. Jim Weber. Likewise, Torch Award judge, Dr. Faith Bjalobok notes, “NET Xperts, in terms of their management policies and significant return to the community, demonstrates a commitment, on their part, to developing and maintaining a business in which ethical considerations hold a place of primacy.”
According to Marc Sachs, president of NET Xperts LLC, “our company’s hope for the future, in winning this award, is to continually provide excellent standards of service to our current customers, while being innovative within the industry. We also hope to expand our services to new customers to create new and exciting opportunities for the Pittsburgh area.”