BBB Presents Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust

POLAND – More than two years in the making, the 2022 Better Business Bureau Torch Awards honored several local businesses at The Lake Club Thursday, emphasizing the “Marketplace Trust” their partners and customers have found in them.

The awards are sponsored by the BBB TrustBuilders – Premier Bank, PNC Bank, Farmers National Bank and Huntington Bank,

Honored this year were Aim Transportation Solutions, Warren Harley-Davidson Sales Inc., Lewis Construction, Milsek Furniture Polish Inc., Barbara Ewing, CEO of the Youngstown Business Incubator, and COMPASS Family and Community Services.

The list of honorees, representing companies from Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, were actually selected to be honored in 2020.

Melissa Ames, BBB president, said that early in 2020, she and Carol Potter, recently retired as CEO of the organization, created the list of companies that were to be honored, but COVID stopped the awards.

“These are the companies that were going to be honored in 2020,” Ames said. “I had the list on my desk for years, it probably had a little coffee stain on it.”

Scott and Geoffrey Fleming, owners of Aim Transportation Solutions, winners of the 2022 Torch Award for Marketplace Trust received the award from BBB President Melissa Ames.

But the awards were long overdue not just because of the pandemic. Many went to companies that have been in the community for years and multi-generational business with long-term success that only comes when a business garners both trust and respect, accordingly to Ames.

“These companies in their own capacity do such amazing work with their employees, with their clients, with their vendors, within the community and it is just such an honor to finally be able to give them recognition,” she said.

The awards highlighted the longstanding commitment to providing excellent work and a dedication to doing things the right way.

Aim Transportation Solutions, for example, spun off from a family logistical service started by Tom Fleming’s grandfather in 1906, a company dedicated to getting luggage from the trains to families immigrating to the Youngstown area, according to Ames. Now, with more than 1,200 employees. they work to keep supply chains moving across the country.

Fleming started his own business with a fleet of 25 trucks, but the company has flourished to have more than 100 operation centers with more than 11,000 vehicle’s in 29 states. The company’s diesel technicians have won national awards for their professionalism and Aim ranks 22nd on Transport Topics’ Top 50 Dedicated Carriers list.

Warren Harley-Davidson Sales Inc., owned by Bill and Doris Metzenroth, was one of the first motorcycle dealers to embrace the “boutique” store and hired an artist to create localized shirts. The family business prides itself in having a passion for community, Ames said, and demonstrates the core values of honesty, integrity and service.

Lewis Construction was founded by his uncle and his father when the current company president, Dennis Lewis Jr., was 4 years old – which means he does not remember a time before the business. The company specializes in helping a homeowner or business recover from a disaster.

“You learn empathy,” Lewis said, adding you learn to see the situation through the eyes of a person who lost everything and then work to make it better.

Lewis said he operates even today by the Cadet Honor Code  – “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.”

Winners of the Ethics & Integrity Scholarship are Adrianna Quinlan, Riley Hively, Ryan Irwin, Jamie DeSalvo and Patrick Kelly.

Milsek Furniture Polish was established in 1914 by Zolton Csiky, who had emigrated from Hungary and created the Original Milsek Furniture Polish and Cleaner. But it was his wife who saw a business opportunity.

The company, purchased by Joyce Herubin in 2006, continues to be a family business with her husband Chris serving as vice president, her son Christopher serving as director of marketing, and daughter Lauren serving as the chemist. Milsek has expanded from a regional to a nationwide brand, available at more than 2000 retailers.

Barb Ewing, the Youngstown Business Incubator, was honored with the Torch Civic Leadership award, with Ames calling her the Wizard of Oz. Working with regional organizations, Ewing has been a director or partner in many of the economic development projects that have improved the lives of many in the business community.

In the true fashion of a leader, Ewing credited others who put her in the positions and worked with her to make things happen.

“We are all passionate about this community and about making it better,” Ewing said.

The final award was given to Compass Family and Community Services, “a 114-year-old organization that makes it a mission to help individuals and families build better lives and a stronger community,” Ames said. Compass provides counseling, addiction services, residential services, workforce development and guardianship programs for seniors. The organization is constructing a permanent living facility for those with mental illness and drug addictions.

Recipients of the $1,000 high school scholarships, which were presented by Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC and Farmers Trust Co., were Jamie DeSalvo, Riley Hively, Ryan Irwin, Patrick Kelly and Adrianna Quinlan. Each of the recipients wrote an essay about Ethics and Integrity.

DeSalvo is a Howland High School graduate involved with the DeSalvo Construction Co. and heading to Miami University of Ohio.

Canfield High School grad Hively, of Hively Construction Co., plans to attend Youngstown State University.

Irwin is a West Branch graduate connected with K&S Millwrights, Inc., who will be attending Muskingum University.

Kelly graduated from the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center and is connected to Dearing Pump and Compressor Co. He will be attending Akron University.

Boardman High School graduate Quinlan is heading to Kent State University.

“We’re so blessed to have this wonderful community with so many great businesses and future business leaders,” Ames said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.