2012 Minnesota Business Ethics Award Winners Announced

Minnesota business and professional leaders gathered Wednesday, May 16, to honor three companies with the 2012 Minnesota Business Ethics Award (MBEA).

The MBEA, co-sponsored by the Center for Ethical Business Cultures at the University of St. Thomas, recognizes Minnesota businesses that exemplify and promote ethical conduct in the workplace, the marketplace and the community. Award recipients are recognized by MBEA judges in three company size categories: small (under 100 employees), medium (100 to 500 employees) and large (more than 500 employees). The 2012 honorees are:

  • Murphy Automotive Inc. (small-size company category recipient)
    Founded in 1976, Murphy Automotive is a closely held and privately owned company with five automotive mechanical repair facilities and one fuel-convenience store. The company, with its distinctive customer and employee policies, is headquartered in Lakeville.
  •  Western National Insurance Group (medium-size company category recipient)
    Western National Insurance Group is a 110-year-old property and casualty insurance provider for businesses, individuals and families in the central and western United States. Launched in 1900 as the Mutual Creamery and Cheese Factory Fire Insurance Co. of Minnesota in St. Paul, the company is now headquartered in Edina.
  • The Schwan Food Co. (large-size company category recipient)
    A private, multibillion dollar company, The Schwan Food Co. sells branded frozen food through home delivery, the food service industry and grocery stores in North America. The company, headquartered in Marshall, started in 1952 with the delivery of 14 gallons of ice cream to rural families.

Keynote speaker John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management in the United States and co-author of a newly released book, Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street, reflected on the financial-sector crisis and outlined key elements of his call for a return to “stewardship” in financial services. Taft called on leaders to focus on their duty to serve clients and lamented a tendency in years past to treat clients as stepping stones to earnings growth.

The MBEA luncheon celebrated five other finalists for the award, each of which has made exemplary strides and accomplishments in creating a business culture that aspires to high ethical standards:

  • Small category: Boy’s Electric LLC, which is based in Eden Prairie and serves the Twin Cities area, and Independent Packing Services Inc., headquartered in Crystal and serving customers across the country.
  • Medium category: Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Co., a top-100 public accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Minneapolis, and Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand LLP, a Minneapolis-based law firm with clients throughout the United States.
  • Large category: Cummins Power Generation, a Shoreview-based global provider of power-generation systems, components and services.

Now in its 13th year, the MBEA has recognized 38 Minnesota-based businesses, ranging in size from less than 10 employees to more than 150,000, that have exemplified ethical business conduct and practices.

“Being an award recipient signifies that a company puts top priority on ethics from leadership to the front line in everyday business conduct and transactions,” said David Rodbourne, MBEA co-chair.

“Award recipients,” added MBEA co-chair Linda Bartlett, are “role models for our state who carry on the immense responsibility demonstrating the value of growing an ethical business culture.”

The MBEA was founded in 1999 by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) at St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. In 2009 the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants joined as an award sponsor.

A list of past recipients can be viewed here.