Following are examples from previous Utah Ethical Leadership Award winners which demonstrate the commitment to ethics that this award is designed to recognize:
Savage upholds the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Principles in many ways. One transaction, in particular, highlights Savage’s commitment to fairness — a principle that was important to Bill Daniels. Bill always believed the best deals were ones in which everyone involved felt they got a good deal. In this transaction, Savage sold its cement assets to Geneva Rock and acquired Geneva’s trucking assets at what they believed was fair market value. However, Savage turned around and sold the trucking assets at a gain. Rather than keep that profit, Savage returned the funds to Geneva Rock. They believed that was the ethical thing to do, even though Geneva might never have known about the profit. Savage also updated its valuation process to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.
Tink’s Auto Parts
President and owner Gary B. Holyoak is known in Southern Utah as “Honest Gary” because of years of transparent and open transactions with customers at the company’s five stores. Recently, a NAPA store in a nearby community was going under, and Gary learned that the owner had quite serious cancer. Though Tink’s could have financially benefited by simply letting the competitor go out of business, Gary bought the store instead, for significantly more than it was worth.
A recent incident highlights the company’s commitment to accountability, fairness, rule of law, and transparency. An internal investigation revealed that some employees had falsely billed hours to a customer. Northrop Grumman demonstrated accountability and transparency by notifying the client and refunding them even more than the extra billing. The company dismissed the employees involved and took steps to strengthen their billing process even further. The CEO sent a memo to all employees stressing the importance of ethics, stating that “the misconduct of those former employees does not reflect who we are as a company, nor the values we embrace.”
Maliheh Clinic recently had an experience in which a volunteer medical provider took financial advantage of some of their patients by referring them to his private practice and charging them for services without their knowledge. As soon as the leaders found out, they contacted each patient who had been in contact with this medical provider at their clinic. Legal authorities were contacted and it was determined how much money each of the patients paid to this volunteer. Although the clinic wasn’t involved in referring patients to this individual, they felt that since he represented the Clinic, that they were responsible for his bad behavior and for taking advantage of their vulnerable clients. Therefore, the Maliheh Clinic reimbursed every patient for whatever money that had been paid to the volunteer in his private office.
Bill Daniels felt the best deals — and the only ones that interested him — represented a win for all involved. He considered the potential impact on all parties, and walked away from lucrative deals that failed to address negative consequences. Bill believed that for a company to increase the cost of a product or service, there had to be demonstrated value to the customer.
In 1952, Bill Daniels opened a small insurance agency in Casper, Wyoming, and struggled to make it over the next three years. Bill recalled that in 1955, “One of the insurance companies I represented went broke. Two weeks after [their] bankruptcy, one of my clients, to whom I had sold a liability policy, was sued by Burlington Railroad. A judgment was entered against my client for $11,000. I made a deal with Burlington to pay this judgment off at $500 per month, over a 22-month period. I did not have to do this, but I had a strong conviction that I owed this to my insured, who had placed his faith in my handling of his insurance business. During this time, the $500 payment was more than I was making per month. I managed, however, through borrowing and juggling finances to do this.”
Bill Daniels owned the American Basketball Association’s Utah Stars when the team was forced into bankruptcy in 1975 as the league unraveled. Although Bill’s financial obligations were legally discharged, he returned to Salt Lake City five years later and repaid every season ticket holder, vendor, player, and employee – with 8% interest per year – at a personal cost of more than $750,000. To show their appreciation, the people of Utah named Bill Daniels the first inductee into the State of Utah Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Utah Ethical Leadership Awards program is a collaboration of the Daniels Fund, the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program at the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business, and the Community Foundation of Utah. Our goal is to recognize Utah businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government entities that embody best practices in ethical behavior. One organization from each sector will be recognized with a Utah Ethical Leadership Award. The winner of the business category will be recognized with the Bill Daniels Ethical Leadership Award.
Utah Ethical Leadership Awards are given to organizations that show exceptional dedication to conducting themselves ethically. All organizations should operate according to basic ethical standards. This award program recognizes those who go above and beyond in their adherence to ethical principles — organizations that choose to do the right thing when faced with difficult ethical decisions, even when those choices might not be what is most advantageous for them. Every year, we are amazed at the commitment we see from entities across the state to ensure they are holding themselves to the highest ethical standards. We look forward to hearing your stories and gaining a better understanding of how your conduct continues to make Utah a deeply ethical community.
Dr. Abe Bakhsheshy, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business
Alex Eaton, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Utah