The Better Business Bureau that serves all of Southeast Texas is conducting its 11th annual awards competition to recognize and encourage ethical business practices in the region.  The March 28 deadline for entries is rapidly approaching.  Winners of this business integrity award, the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, will be forwarded for international awards consideration.  American Valve & Hydrant, Capital One Bank, CHRISTUS Hospital, Neches Federal Credit Union, and Philpott Motors, are the underwriting corporate Diamond Partners this year for the Southeast Texas application and selection process.   
“The purpose of this award is to recognize annually those for-profit businesses in our region committed to maintaining exceptionally high standards of ethical behavior in buyer and seller relationships,” said Michael Clayton, President/CEO of the BBB.  “I encourage the many outstanding companies in Southeast Texas, small and large, that work to uphold the trust and respect of their customers to submit an entry for this prestigious award.”  You need not have a formal ethics program to compete.
Applications for the 2008 Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics regional competition will be accepted through March 28, 2008.  Two categories of companies will be recognized: one large (40 employees and more), and one small (1-39 employees).
Past Southeast Texas winners of the Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics include Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Waldman & Smallwood Law Firm, Texas Marine, Anderson Ford Mercury, Philpott Motors, Winnie Welding Works, Howell Furniture Galleries, Tallman Pools, Bill Clark Pest Control, Entergy, Burris Transfer & Storage, Orange Savings Bank, Jeneal International, Collier Park Retirement Community, Broussard’s Mortuary, Mason Construction, Inc., Southeast Texas Water Conditioning, Inc., Efficient Systems, Inc., and American Valve and Hydrant, Inc.
The Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics awards are open to all for-profit Southeast Texas businesses that serve retail and wholesale markets.  A company does not have to be an Accredited Business of the BBB to submit an entry for this coveted award.  Applicants must be located in one or more of the following counties:  Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Tyler, or the Bolivar Peninsula.  Non-profit organizations or businesses whose primary markets are local, state or federal governments are not eligible for this award.
Southeast Texans are asked to nominate companies and businesses in the region and also to encourage those organizations he/she works for, or where they are a customer, to apply for the coveted award. 10,000 entry forms have been mailed to businesses in the region.  Nominations and applications may be requested from the office of the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Texas by calling (409) 835-5951 x104, or by writing to the BBB at 550 Fannin, Suite 100, Beaumont, TX, 77701.  Application forms are available on-line at  You may fax nominations and application requests to (409) 838-6858 or email:
A prestigious independent panel of judges from the non-profit sector will select the finalists and winners.  The three finalists in each category will be recognized and the winners announced at the 11th annual Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics Presentation Banquet to be held Tuesday evening, May 6 at the Beaumont Civic Center.
Proceeds from the banquet will benefit the BBB Consumer Education Foundation, Inc. who will make another $10,000 contribution to continue funding endowed College of Business scholarships at Lamar University.  The BBB Consumer Education Foundation, Inc. has contributed $100,000 to these scholarships over the last ten years.
Special guest speaker at this year’s event will be Stephen M. R. Covey, author of “The Speed of Trust” and co-founder/CEO of CoveyLink Worldwide.  Corporate tables for the prestigious awards presentation are now available.  For more information and table partnership reservations contact Debbie Bridgeman at (409) 835-5951 x117 or email