Five from Central Texas Receive Prestigious First Ethics in Business Awards
Ethics in Business program co-chairs Mary Scott Nabers and Max Sherman presented the awards to Applied Materials, the Athens Group and Hart InterCivic in the business category. Hospice Austin received the nonprofit award and Earl Maxwell was chosen in the individual category.
St. Edward's University, the Samaritan Center's partner in the new Ethics in Business program, directed the year-long nomination and selection process. The Awards Selection Committee, co-chaired by Justice Jan Patterson and businessman Gary Valdez, received vital research assistance from the students in the Masters of Leadership and Ethics program at St. Edward's University. In mid-October, 14 finalists were selected from 59 total nominees. Dr. Phil Thompson, director of the Center for Ethics and Leadership at St. Edward's University said, "This awards process has presented a very unusual opportunity for our students and the community to collaborate in raising awareness on ethical issues and practices. It is an honor for St. Edward's to work in a process that helps to recognize those who are trying to do the right thing."
The Dell Corporation, Central Texas' largest private employer, is the Grand Sponsor of the 2002 Ethics in Business program. Other first year corporate sponsors include the Austin Business Journal, GSD&M Advertising, KVUE-TV, American Skandia Investments, Ames Weinheimer Financial Planners and the Hilgers & Watkins law firm.
Reason for Selection
- Applied Materials – As cited by the selection committee, Applied Materials has the policies, training and perhaps most important, senior management's commitment that enables the company to achieve the highest ethical standards. This is apparent in relations with employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. The Standards of Business Conduct manual given to each employee is reinforced by mandatory training in the core values of honesty, integrity, trust, respect for teamwork, and positive social contribution. Every employee takes ethics refresher training every three years and managers must review and sign the code of ethics annually.
- Athens Group – The selection committee cited the Athens Group operates within the very high standards of the firm's value system, one based on trust, integrity and truth telling. The Athens Group pays all employees hourly and has a flexible work schedule that stimulates and respects
employees' commitment to family and community as well as high work standards. It was noted that they have an extraordinarly low employee turnover and the firm invests five percent of its pretax profits in the community.
- Hart InterCivic - The selection committee cited that Hart InterCivic has adopted a primary business theme of "integrity which leads to ethics." Ethical policies are in place for all employees and a true open door policy generates timely and easy access to company managers. The availability of flexible hours encourages employees to spend time with their families and become active in the community. It was noted "Hart InterCivic is a model of effective leadership in action at every level of the organization."
- Hospice Austin – Hospice Austin is receiving the first non-profit Samaritan Center Ethics in Business Award because of its extraordinary commitment and track record in an ethical framework. The selection committee cited Hospice Austin for its ethical standards, fair and just treatment of business partners, suppliers, employees, clients and stakeholders. Hospice Austin's comprehensive ethics policies cover such diverse subjects as ethical fund raising, equal employment opportunity, clients and employees rights, nondiscrimination and sexual harassment, employee grievances, promotion and compensation, employee benefits and, notably, whistle blowing and downsizing.
- Earl Maxwell – Maxwell is receiving the first individual Samaritan Center Ethics in Business Award because of his own extraordinary commitment and consistent personal example in practicing the highest standard of ethics, fairness and integrity. The selection committee cited one of his greatest strengths is his willingness to work quietly, patiently, and effectively behind the scenes to address complex and even controversial business and community issues. Maxwell has been an important force for reason and good in such areas as higher education finance, Central Texas economic development and the spiritual development of our community. His community involvement includes past president of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, chair of Partners in Education, and present or former board member of many organizations including Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson College and Seton Cove.
About The Samaritan Center
Created in 1975, the Samaritan Center for Counseling and Pastoral Care provides about 6000 hours each year of individual, couples and family counseling, pastoral care and educational services to people who pay the normal fee and many who cannot through scholarships supported by area businesses, churches, foundations and individuals. The Samaritan Center is headquartered in Austin with satellite offices in Round Rock and San Marcos. The Austin Center is one of more than 100 centers in the U.S. (including 11 others in Texas) licensed by the Samaritan Institute in Denver, Colorado. The Samaritan centers affirm the spiritual dimension of life but are not aligned with or promote a particular religious denominations or philosophy.