BBB Torch Awards for Ethics: A Q&A with Past Winners

We asked previous recipients of the Torch Award: What has receiving this award meant to your company or organization and your team? How has it impacted your culture?


Steve Swanstrom
President and CEO

To understand what the Torch Award for Ethics means to Centris Federal Credit Union, it is important to know the Torch Award embodies BBB’s mission of advancing business trust. The selection process judges the character of the organization’s leadership, how an authentic culture is being fostered, how the company prioritizes its relationship with customers, and the impact the organization is making in the community.

Being selected by a panel consisting of members of the business, nonprofit, and academic sectors of the community is a huge compliment and motivates our employees to model Centris Federal Credit Union’s vision, mission and values every day.

The recognition that comes from being selected as an award winner is an honor unlike any other award. It communicates to the community and to our member-owners that Centris Federal Credit Union’s top priority is ensuring we live up to the trust they have instilled in us to help protect their financial well-being.

The public recognition in press releases, blog posts, social media, local advertisements and BBB’s website is priceless. It brings public awareness and helps enhance public confidence in Centris Federal Credit Union. Ultimately, the BBB Torch Award for Ethics honors organizations whose leaders demonstrate a high level of personal character; ensure that the organization’s practices meet the highest standards of ethics; and consequently, generate trust with its customers and the community. Centris Federal Credit Union is deeply honored to be a past recipient of this prestigious award.


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Denise Natali-Paine
Vice President

It was a tremendous honor to be a past recipient of the BBB Torch Award. To be publicly recognized as a company dedicated to integrity and ethical practices parallels with our own vision. Part of our commitment at Cox is to make the world a better place for our employees, our customers and improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. A few of the ways we do that is by doing the right thing always – for people, for the company and for the planet. We lead by example – treat everyone with respect, be accountable and be present. And everything we do, we do it in the spirit of Cox with a culture of giving back, a brave entrepreneurial spirit and a determination that our company should be a force for good in the world.

Being a previous recipient of the BBB Torch Award also speaks to the culture we have at Cox Business. We encourage our employees to connect with purpose, model the way and respect differences and share ideas and diverse perspectives. Our employee resource groups (ERG’s) reflect our community and our values. We believe in a culture of belonging where everyone can come to work as their authentic selves. We encourage and engage in open dialogue with the understanding that culture is built on people, discussion, and actions.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!


Clayton Becker

Farmers National Company has a rich history of acting as a trusted advisor for our clients.  Our values are based on Integrity, Commitment to Excellence, and acting as a Fiduciary on behalf of our clients.  Receiving the BBB Torch Award is strong evidence of on our commitment to this culture.





John Jeanetta
President/CEO, Heartland Family Service

For Heartland Family Service, our organizational culture is tied directly to our mission and outcomes. Founded in 1875, we are a nonprofit agency whose mission is to strengthen individuals, families, and communities through advocacy, education, counseling, and support services. We touch over 140,000 people annually via 40 programs that address a wide array of behavioral health challenges and related social problems, such as homelessness. When we live out our values of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, empowerment, and equity, our clients can create trusting relationships with our staff, access traumatic memories, make healthy decisions, set goals, and secure the quality of life they want and deserve. Thus, the work we have done to build our trauma-informed culture, for which we have received recognition from the Better Business Bureau in 2011 and again in 2019, is central to our ability to help the people we serve and strengthen our community.

Receiving this award twice has validated the hard work we’ve been doing while at the same time driven us to do more. Our efforts are constantly evolving. We look at our data – client outcomes, employee engagement, client and staff grievances, and other indicators – and make changes to do better and be better. Mistakes are made, but with our commitment to trauma-informed care and the standards upheld by the Torch Award for Ethics, we do all we can to learn from those mistakes and continue our evolution. We are a work in progress.

To consistently live out our values across all our programs and 20 locations requires constant commitment and vigilance, especially over the past three years of the COVID-19 pandemic and remote/hybrid work. We thank the Better Business Bureau for shining the light on the importance of ethics. Our organization has benefitted greatly from participating in this award program. We know we will continue to benefit from our association with the Better Business Bureau and look forward to gleaning additional opportunities for growth as we are introduced to future Torch Award for Ethics winners and the inspiring practices they’ve developed to earn such valuable recognition.


Tom Galgerud


Marc Portofee
General Manager



Having won the Torch Award multiple times in our relative short history has really solidified our reputation in a very competitive and sometimes less than ethical industry. We take a great deal of pride in trying to raise the bar to a higher standard than our competition and show our customers that there are still companies that provide craftsmanship and care about the finished product. How a company handles issues that arise during the course of work says a lot as to how much that company cares about their customers and the services they provide.



Dan Thrasher



Nick Rohe



Being a four-time winner of The Torch Award is an important acknowledgment for our customers and our employees that we are a company that stands by our principles and our word. This helps to build the trust and authenticity vital to a thriving workplace and place in the community.