BBB, TrustBuilders to Honor 5 with Torch Awards

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Better Business Bureau of Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties and the BBB TrustBuilders will honor three companies, a community volunteer and a nonprofit organization at the Torch Awards May 8.

The awards will be presented during a luncheon at the Lake Club south of Poland.

“The Torch Awards are made possible due to the support of the BBB TrustBuilders, a group of banking institutions with long-term commitments to earn and keep the trust of the public,” said Carol Potter, president of the BBB, in a statement announcing the event.

“Dedicated to the growth and vitality of the Valley, these banks make the loans that help small businesses and individuals achieve economic success and financial security. They invest in trust building and strengthen our community through civic involvement, volunteerism, financial education, and sound operating principles,” she added.

The BBB TrustBuilders are Cortland Banks, PNC Bank, The Home Savings and Loan Company, Huntington Bank, Talmer Bank and Trust and Farmers National Bank.

Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust will be given to Baird Brothers Sawmill Inc., Millwood Inc. and Gettemy Drain Service, Potter said.

The BBB will also present a Torch Award for Civic Leadership to Scott R. Schulick, a vice president for investments in the Canfield office of Stifel Nicolaus, and a Torch Award for Nonprofit Excellence to Akron Children’s Hospital of the Mahoning Valley.

Baird Brothers is in Canfield and will be honored in the category of businesses with 100 or more employees. The Vienna office of Millwood, which makes and reconditions pallets, is in the category of 11 to 99 employees. And Gettemy, a family-owned business in Canfield, is in the category of 10 or fewer employees.

The Torch Awards, last presented by this BBB chapter 10 years ago, reflect both the growth of the chapter and the economic resurgence of the Mahoning Valley, an “increased energy level,” Potter said. The recognition of the honorees is part of the BBB’s efforts at rebranding the event, the chapter president said.

Instrumental in honoring the recipients of the Torch Awards were the six BBB accredited banks that constitute the BBB TrustBuilders.

All are “dedicated to the growth and vitality of the Valley,” Potter said, “with long-term commitments to earn and keep the trust of the public.” Besides extending loans and lines of credit to small businesses, the banks have employees who volunteer their time to improve the quality of life in their communities.

By “building a foundation of trust,” Potter said, and “exemplifying the BBB standards of trust, the banks strengthen our communities through their sound operating principles.” These principles are reflected in their “civic involvement, volunteerism and financial education.”

Choosing the recipients was a lengthy and painstaking process that began in January, Potter and Melissa Ames, vice president of BBB services, said. They and the BBB staff reviewed all of the more than 1,200 accredited companies and staff told of their experiences with those companies and made recommendations to the selection committee, which used the BBB Standards for Trust to make their selections.

To be considered, a company had to be accredited to by the BBB for at least two years, Potter said. “The banks had no input and no idea of whom the winners would be,” she emphasized.

Social media has provided consumers more avenues to relate their experiences with companies, Ames noted. “And we’re hearing more and more from consumers and businesses alike about the need for ethics and honesty. … Improved communications has led to increased awareness on the part of buyers. Consumers are more aware” of businesses’ ethical standards.

“Baird Brothers, Millwood and Gettemy Drain all exemplify the BBB standards for trust and transparency,” Potter said.

The BBB chapter will award $1,000 scholarships up to five high school seniors at the May 8 luncheon, Ames said. Those seniors who seek to be awarded an “Ethics & Integrity Scholarship” have until April 20 to submit either a 500-word essay or a four-minute video on the meaning of “ethics” and “integrity” to the BBB.

Those who apply must be the child or grandchild of the owner or employee of a BBB-accredited business, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, be enrolled in an public or parochial high school in Columbiana, Mahoning or Trumbull County, and plan to attend a university, college, community college or trade school in the year following graduation.

In addition to the essay or video, each entrant must attach a letter of recommendation from a school, community representative or employer that provides examples of the student’s leadership or community service.

For more details, visit or call the BBB at 330 744 3111.

Pictured: Melissa Ames and Carol Potter say the Torch Awards selection process began in January.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.