2005 Minnesota Business Ethics Award Presented

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Bob Shoemake
Director of Programs and Operations
Phone: (651) 962-4127
Email: rcshoemake@cebcglobal.org

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — An insurance agency, a law firm, and a diversified industrial manufacturing company are the recipients of the 2005 Minnesota Business Ethics Award.  The Awes Agency, Inc., Gray Plant Mooty and Pentair, Inc., were honored Thursday at a luncheon banquet.  Following a two–tiered judging process, each of these companies was seen to have excelled in its ethical performance.

The Awes Agency, Inc., is a 21–year old, Edina–based insurance and risk management agency.  Incorporated in 1984 by three partners who brought more than 60 years of insurance experience and their unhappy experiences working for other companies, the founders were determined to create a company that would treat people the way that they wanted to be treated.  In the intervening decades, the MBEA judges saw that this firm, in a very tough industry, has been tenacious in focusing on its core values, providing excellent service for its customers and a great place to work for its agents.

Gray Plant Mooty (GPM) is a 139–year old, comprehensive law firm based in Minneapolis with 153 attorneys and an additional 147 paralegal and support staff employees.  In assaying GPM’s record of ethical performance, the MBEA judges noted that this is a company marked by its emphasis on values and integrity and that these values are reinforced by action.  The judges made special note of the many processes the firm has created for reinforcing its central values, including recognition programs for employees who exemplify these values, careful attention to client satisfaction and extensive strategies for engagement in the community.

Pentair, Inc., is a 39–year old diversified manufacturing company based in Golden Valley.  Founded in 1966, it has acquired and sold a number of business lines in the intervening four decades.  With $2.28 billion in 2004 revenue and approximately 13,000 employees worldwide, it currently has two operating groups, water and enclosures.  The company’s ethical compass was established by its founder, Murray Harpole, who still lives in the Twin Cities.  While continuing to grow by acquisition, Pentair’s current CEO, Randall Hogan, reinforces the original culture with a frequently used expression, “winning right.” Amplified and reinforced by policies and practices aimed at all employees, from executive offices to the front line, the MBEA judges saw this expression as marking Pentair’s ethical “true north” and its passion for sustaining an ethical culture.

The Minnesota Business Ethics Award was established in 1999 by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP–TC) and the Center for Ethical Business Cultures at the University of St. Thomas (CEBC) to raise the standards for business ethics in Minnesota and to honor those companies that exhibit the highest standards.  SFSP–TC has approximately 300 members committed to education and ethics among professionals in the financial services industry.  CEBC is a non-profit organization which operates in a unique partnership with its business members and the University of St. Thomas.  The Center assists business leaders in creating ethical and profitable business cultures at the enterprise, community and global levels.  The Rotary Clubs of Edina and White Bear Lake joined as sponsors in 2004.

The Minnesota Business Ethics Award recognizes Minnesota businesses that exemplify and promote the highest standards of ethical conduct for the benefit of the workplace, the marketplace, the environment and the community.

A customer, client, employee, vendor or private citizen who is impressed with a company’s demonstration of ethical business conduct may nominate a business for the award.  Over 130 nominations were received for this year’s awards.

Companies, whether public or privately held, are judged in one of three categories based on number of employees:

  • Small: Under 100 employees
  • Medium: 100 – 500 employees
  • Large: Over 500 employees

The foundational standards for the MBEA are found in The Minnesota Principles, published by CEBC in 1992.  The Principles describe the ethical relationships which businesses are expected to maintain with all of their stakeholders:  customers, employees, owners & investors, suppliers, communities and competitors.

In light of those stakeholder relationships, the MBEA looks at:

  • What a company says it stands for
  • How it does what it says it stands for, and
  • How well it does what it says it stands for.

Local finalists may advance to a national competition that culminates in three national American Business Ethics Award (ABEA) recipients.  The ABEA was inaugurated in 1994 by the Society of Financial Service Professionals.

In addition to the recognition which MBEA winners will receive, completion of the MBEA entry form provides businesses with a process for examining their ethics management goals and processes in the light of best practices.

Originally published on May 05, 2005.

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