Business ethics: UW-Green Bay students, alumni help spread word

At the fourth annual Ethics in Business Awards luncheon (Nov. 1) in Green Bay, the spotlight was on companies, organizations and individuals that travel on the ethical high ground.

And helping in the selection process were members of UW-Green Bay’s SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) chapter.

Sponsored by American Foundation Counseling Services and supported by the greater Green Bay business community, the Ethics in Business Awards honored those organizations and individuals who demonstrate the highest ethics in business. The awards were presented at a luncheon held at the KI Convention Center.

This year’s winners:
Non-Profit recipient: Freedom House Ministries
Business recipient: The Karma Group
Individual recipient: Rick Barh, founder and COO of Innovative Services, Inc.

The SIFE Chapter, whose adviser is Prof. John Stoll of Public and Environmental Affairs, served as the “research team” that devoted many hours reviewing nomination forms of approximately 110 nominees. The students prepared a report to the award selection committee, an independent group of community members that chooses the recipients. Serving on the research team as researchers and investigators were, Chad Bianchi, Josh Delfosse, Jacob Eggert, Kaitlyn Gilles, Matthew Hamm, Abby Puckhaber, and Krista Tschurwald.

Michael Haddad, president and CEO of Schreiber Foods, served as keynote speaker for the awards ceremony and noted that recent headlines are rife with scandal in business and on college campuses. But many businesses and organizations place an emphasis on ethics and community service, and they too deserve the spotlight.

“It’s important that you and I be remembered for how we make people feel and what we stand for,” he told an audience of about 500 that included many community and business leaders. Among those at the luncheon were more than 30 high school and college students who had participated in the annual Ethics in Government Forum, which was held in the morning at Green Bay City Hall.

“Nobody starts the day saying today I’ll be a crook,” said former Brown County Executive and Sheriff Tom Hinz (UW-Green Bay Class of 2008) who served as facilitator for the morning program. “You (students) have the opportunity to determine what your legacy will be.”

Also participating in the program were Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach, Wisconsin State Senator Dave Hansen (UW-Green Bay Class of 1971), Green Bay alderman and UW-Green Bay lecturer Brian Danzinger, and Oneida Nation Council Member Brandon Stevens.

Each speaker emphasized the need for personal ethics and values. Danzinger told students that it’s not the clear-cut right and wrong that confuse us, but those issues that lie within the gray area of ethics that we need to discuss.

After introductions the students were divided into groups that looked at real-life ethics scenarios ranging from cheating on SAT exams, to scandal at Ohio State University, to public relations dilemmas confronted by Chrysler Corporation.

“You understand what earning something is, rather than having it given to you,” Stevens told the students. “It’s all about building a community.”

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Photos by Terry Anderson, Institute for Learning Partnership