The San Diego Better Business Bureau recently announced the winners of the 15th annual BBB Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics.

One nonprofit organization and six for-profit businesses were honored with the 2012 award, while seven additional businesses were named finalists.

Winners and finalists were chosen in categories based on the number of employees, according to a news release.

Winners of the 2012 BBB Torch Award included: On-Site Tech Support (1-4 employees); Dream Design Builders (5-10 employees); Reilly Financial Advisors (11-24 employees); Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc. (25-99 employees); Coles Fine Flooring (100-249 employees); JW Floor Covering (250-499 employees); and Pacific Safety Council (nonprofit).

The winning businesses will be sent to the parent organization of the BBB network, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, to compete in an international competition.

The seven finalists included: Milholland Electric Inc. (5-10 employees); San Diego Law Firm (11-24 employees); Action Air Conditioning Heating & Solar (25-99 employees); ASI Heating and Air (25-99 employees); Ideal Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical (25-99 employees); Anderson Plumbing Heating and Air (100-249 employees); and Bill Howe Family of Cos. (100-249).

“The Torch Awards program is designed to promote not only the importance of ethical business practices, but the willingness and efforts made by outstanding businesses to ensure that our marketplace remains fair and honorable,” Sheryl Bilbrey, San Diego BBB president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “It’s the way San Diego celebrates ethical business practices in our marketplace.”

The BBB also granted cash Torch Award scholarships to five local high school students who each wrote an essay on the importance of ethical behavior in the community. Judges evaluated more than 250 essays from students at 87 different high schools across the county before selecting the five award recipients. The 2012 scholarship program was sponsored by Sycuan Casino, according to a news release.

According to a news release, scholarship recipients included Katie Anastas of Poway, Academy of Our Lady of Peace ($500); Gabriella Chan, San Marcos High School ($750); Melodyanne Cheng, Torrey Pines High School ($1,000); Malary Greenwood, Oasis High School ($1,250); and Kay Toma, Francis Parker High School ($1,500).

The Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics honor local businesses supporting and demonstrating ethical business practices in daily operations, including interactions with partners, employees and vendors.

The San Diego Better Business Bureau, a nonprofit business membership organization, aims to promote ethics and transparency in business and provides consumers with free pre-purchase information. Visit for a list of accredited businesses by industry.

— SDBJ Staff Report