BBB honors quality businesses

Published on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 23:19 - Written by Casey Murphy

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Bethesda Health Clinic was the first nonprofit organization ever to receive the Better Business Bureau’s Awards for Excellence at its annual banquet Wednesday.

Each year, the BBB Serving Central East Texas honors businesses that have excelled in quality, management and service. This year, the organization also gave an award to a nonprofit.

Bethesda Health Clinic is a Christ-centered ministry with a mission to provide affordable, high quality care for people in need in Smith County. The Tyler organization provides medical and dental care and health education for low-income adults who work at least 20 hours per week but have no access to insurance. Patients are charged a small sliding scale fee based on their ability to pay and on the specialty of their physician.

Staffed by a combination of paid professionals and more than 600 community health care workers, Bethesda served more than 22,000 individuals in 2013, Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and chief executive officer of the local BBB, said.

“The Better Business Bureau congratulates Bethesda Health Clinic on their BBB Award for Excellence,” she said. “Thank you for your service to our community.”

At the start of the luncheon, Ms. Mills remembered founding BBB CEO Kay Robinson, who passed away earlier this month. She asked for a moment of silence and announced that the BBB Board of Directors voted to rename scholarships given out to high school students to the Kay Robinson Student of Integrity Scholarship.

“We’re all going to miss her,” she said of Ms. Robinson.

Ms. Mills said one thing her predecessor left behind was a great board of directors, who make sure they promote integrity and trust and self regulation in the business community.

“We had a great year in 2013 despite the downed economy,” she said, adding that they saw a record number of 531 businesses apply for and receive accreditation.

The BBB Serving Central East Texas serves 19 counties and last year took in 37,228 consumer phone calls, helped 3,500 consumers with information about East Texas charities, received 1,200 complaints and provided rosters of accredited businesses 111,546 times. The BBB website was the 350th most searched site in the nation, she said.



Last year’s award recipients, Paul Ingle of Design Center Signs and Tony Pytlak of Strategic Fulfillment Group, presented the awards to three businesses and Bethesda Health Clinic. Entries were reviewed by an independent panel of judges.

Proforma Horizon Total Source received the Micro Business of the Year Award.

The family business was founded in 1983. The Whitehouse office is a member of the Performa network of more than 750 offices providing promotional products to more than 50,000 clients across the world. By living up to a strict ethical code of conduct, Troy Bevill and his team have developed a loyal clientele, with the majority of their new clients coming from referrals, Ms. Mills said.

Dunn Transmissions Inc. was named the Small-to-Mid-Size Business of the Year.

Dunn Transmissions’ goal is to provide quality transmission services at competitive prices while maintaining an exceptional reputation throughout East Texas, Ms. Mills said. Truman Dunn founded the company at the end of World War II, and in 1970, the business was purchased by Ewell Dickerson. It is now managed by his nephew, Roscoe, and they have conducted business at their location on Erwin Street for nearly 64 years. They pride themselves on doing the best job possible, standing behind their work, treating others the way they want to be treated and by building customer relationships based on trust, she said.

The Large Business of the Year Award was given to Tyler Beverages Inc.

The privately owned business was founded by Kenneth Tyler in 1953. Now operated by the third and fourth generations of the Tyler family, the company has grown to more than 100 employees. It provides services to businesses of all sizes in the East Texas area and is the franchise bottler of Dr. Pepper, 7-Up, RC Cola and other nationally branded soft drinks. In 1991, they added their second line of the business, Tyler’s Super Quality Ice, and in 1993, added Tyler’s A.V.S. Food Services, a full-line vending company.

The Kay Robinson Student of Integrity Scholarships were given to two area high students who submitted 60-second videos and who demonstrated exceptional character, leadership and ethical values. They were Brackston McKnight, a senior at Jacksonville High School, $2,000; and Christopher A. Davis, a senior at Carthage High School, $1,000.

Ms. Mills presented the 2013 chairman of the board, Ray McKinney, a certified public accountant with Gollob, Morgan, Peddy, a metal sculpture for his service.

McKinney said the staff and Ms. Mill’s drive and strive for excellence makes the BBB so successful. He said Ms. Mills pushes for change.

“I believe healthy organizations embrace for change in the right way … you either embrace change or your organization will perish,” he said.

Patty Steelman, director of marketing for Austin Bank, is the 2014 chairwoman.



Merrie Spaeth, a former White House media relations director, was the keynote speaker. She was a White House Fellow assigned to FBI Director William Webster and served two years as director of public affairs for the Federal Trade Commission. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed her as director of media relations at the White House, where she introduced satellite interviews and created the electronic White

House News Service.

In 1987, she founded Spaeth Communications, Inc., which provides strategic communication counseling and training. Ms. Spaeth writes regularly on timely communication topics and her columns have been collected into two books.

Ms. Spaeth said working for Reagan was the world’s greatest job.

“President Reagan was a great storyteller,” she said, adding that he understood how to tell stories to bond with people. She gave the audience a few insights she called secrets from Reagan, that she said could help business leaders communicate their message.

About 250 people attended the event at the The University of Texas at Tyler Ornelas Activity Center. Sponsors were Express Employment Professionals (gold sponsor), Austin Bank, Tyler Junior College, Mentoring Minds, The Genecov Group, Design Center Signs, Gollob Morgan Peddy, PC, and Strategic Fulfillment Group.