Awards & Events

BBB Honors Six With Torch Awards

POLAND, Ohio – Among the core tenets of the Better Business Bureau of the Mahoning Valley is that trust and ethics are a key component in a healthy marketplace. At the agency’s annual Torch Awards ceremony at The Lake Club in Poland, leaders offered six examples – four businesses, a nonprofit and a community leader – of what those two traits mean to the area.

“We get such tremendous support from the community and from our board,” BBB President Carol Potter told the crowd. “Without them, more events like this would not be possible.”

The four businesses honored were Butech Bliss of Salem, Rulli Bros. of Youngstown, Wm. Price Heating Company Inc. of Girard and CKC Cleaning Specialist of Hubbard.

Formed by John Buta in 1985, Butech Bliss manufactures custom-built equipment for the metals industry. The company employs 238, with two manufacturing plants that include more than 75 machining centers.

“They talk about integrity and that was one of the reasons we were selected,” said President John Buta upon accepting the award. “I think that’s something we can say we have, because we’ve done between seven and eight hundred million dollars worth of business in the last 30 years and we’ve never had a lawsuit.”

Michael Rulli of Rulli Brothers, said he was humbled to receive the award, which coincides with the business’ 100th anniversary.

“Our purpose is to provide people with the most basic human need: food,” he said. “How lucky am I to do that?”

Like the BBB, Chris McKernan, the second-generation owner of Wm. Price Heating, stressed the role strong relationships play in the success of a business.

“We are a family through and through,” he said. “Our employees have become our extended family. Many have been with us 20, even 30 years.”

The award for nonprofit excellence was given to the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, founded in 2010 to “catalyze strategic neighborhood reinvestment” in the city. Among their accomplishments last year were cleaning and securing 641 blighted properties, demolishing 179 and rehabilitating 23 others.

“Since we began we’ve counseled over 700 clients,” said Executive Director Ian Beniston. “We’ve created well over 100 homeowners and fixed 300 houses in the city.”

Suzanne Fleming was presented the Torch Award for civic leadership. Fleming’s career includes key roles at Leadership Mahoning Valley, the Northeast Ohio Regional Leadership Task Force and Mercy Health. She is currently active on the boards of the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, the Mercy Health Foundation and the Raymond John Wean Foundation.

“Thank you so much for this wonderful recognition of the value engaged citizens add to the health and well-being of any community,” she said in her acceptance speech. “I accept this award on behalf of all those who share their time, talent and treasure with so many worthy causes.”

Prior to the awards the BBB honored six area banks – Home Savings Bank, Chemical Bank, Cortland Bank, Farmers National Bank, PNC Bank and Huntington Bank – as TrustBuilders with a video presentation.

The BBB also presented $1,000 scholarships to six area high school graduates. The Ethics and Integrity Scholarships, sponsored by Sweeney Auto Group and Farmers Trust Co., were presented by Alexa Sweeney Blackann of Sweeney and David Dastoli of Farmers.

The recipients are Matthew Maroni from Boardman High School, Eric Ostrowski from Jackson Milton High School, Courtney Segool from Boardman High School, Caitlin Seifert from Niles McKinley High School, Ryan Sekanick from Howland High School and Alex Wollet from Cardinal Mooney High School.

Pictured: Chris McKernan, owner of Wm. Price Heating, receives a Torch Award from Carol Potter, president of the BBB of the Mahoning Valley.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.