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Group shines a light on ethical behavior

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  • | 10:31 p.m. April 15, 2010
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A banker, a college professor, a lawyer and a CEO recently got together in a Sarasota hotel ballroom.

The topic: Business ethics.

That's not the punch line to a bad joke.

Instead, it's the brainchild of Terry Miller, a Sarasota-area business consultant who thought the area had an underserved reputation as a ponzi scheme haven thanks to people like Arthur Nadel.

But Miller, in meeting with dozens of local business when he recently relocated to the area from upstate New York, found that most companies were ethical and most business people were upstanding. That's why he founded the Sarasota Business Ethics Alliance.

“I came to realize there are many companies around here that are ethical,” says Miller. “But I consider it a crisis that not many people know this.”

The alliance plans to host an awards luncheon early next year to promote and honor local businesses with strong ethics. In that regard, the group is similar to the Uncommon Friends Foundation in Fort Myers, a nonprofit group that has recognized Lee County companies with high standards for ethics and moral values.

The Sarasota organization, meanwhile, plans to put on more events and panel discussions such as its kick-off event held April 12.

At that discussion, Sun Hydraulics Chief Executive Al Carlson told a crowd of about 40 local business leaders that doing ethics in the workplace shouldn't be a complicated procedure. Sun Hydraulics is a valve manufacturer with offices in seven countries and $97 million in annual sales.

“Our approach to ethics is really quite simple,” says Carlson. “Treat people fairly and do the right thing.”

For more information on the Sarasota Business Ethics Alliance, go to


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