Three Firms Receive Minnesota Business Ethics Awards

Business leaders from across Minnesota gathered on Wednesday, May 18, to honor three companies with the 2011 Minnesota Business Ethics Award (MBEA).

The MBEA, founded in 1999 by the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, recognizes Minnesota businesses that have exemplified and promoted ethical conduct for the benefit of the workplace, the marketplace, the environment and the community. The 2011 award recipients are:

  • Platinum Group — Founded in 1984, the Platinum Group provides turnaround management, consulting and advisory services, as well as financing and investment services for its clients. The company is located in Eden Prairie.
  • KleinBank — Founded in 1907, KleinBank is Minnesota's largest family-owned state bank and has 23 locations. The KleinBank corporate center is located in Chaska.
  • The Mosaic Company — Founded in 2004, Mosaic is a global producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash. The company is headquartered in Plymouth.

Award recipients were recognized by the MBEA judges in three company-size categories: small (under 100 employees) — Platinum Group; mid-size (100 to 500 employees) — KleinBank; and, large (more than 500 employees) — The Mosaic Company.

The awards luncheon also recognized the other finalists in the each of the three size categories.  Finalists were:

  • Braith Auto Repair and CresaPartners  (small category)
  • Marco Inc. (medium category)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and Piper Jaffray Company (large category)

Keynote speaker Nancy Feldman, president and CEO of UCare, described the ethical thinking behind UCare’s decision to return $30 million to the state of Minnesota and the controversy stirred up by that decision. She noted that embracing core values, both personal and organizational, enables one to maintain course through turbulent times.

Feldman said that it has been a privilege for her to be able to lead during difficult times. She acknowledged the challenge of communicating clearly about complex business and financial structures that are easily misunderstood or misrepresented. Amidst the turmoil, Feldman described the blessing of having support come from unexpected sources. UCare is the fourth-largest health plan in Minnesota, serving 200,000 members across Minnesota and 26 counties in western Wisconsin.

Over the past 11 years, 32 Minnesota-based businesses, ranging in size from less than 10 employees to more than 150,000, have been recognized and honored for their ethical performance.

Carl Peterson, C.P.A. and MBEA co-chair, said that “earning top honors in the MBEA competition reflects a firm’s dedication to building a culture that embeds high ethical standards in all of its relationships and practices.”

Nancy Quinnell, MBEA co-chair, reflected that “the award is one more way of signaling the importance of ethics and corporate responsibility to Minnesota businesses.” A complete list of past recipients can be viewed here.

The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants joined the MBEA in 2009 as an award sponsor.