Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Dan T. Cathy visited Montgomery on Oct. 15 to help recognize area businesses by serving as keynote speaker of the 2012 River Region Ethics in Business and Public Service Awards luncheon at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club.
“In retail, we have an election every day,” Cathy said. Holding up a twenty-dollar bill, he continued, “And these are the ballots. If you treat your customers right, you will get a lot of votes.”
Cathy said he came to Montgomery for the opening of the Chick-fil-A in the Eastdale Mall many years ago, and remembers selling $2 sandwiches on trays in front of the ice rink. He said a lot has changed over the years, “but the most important things have not changed and will never change.”
Cathy said all business leaders need to have two items on them at all times: a cellphone, so they can stay on top of change, and a compass that points true north. For him, that compass is a pocket-sized Bible. He quoted a passage from Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine among men that they can taste your Waffle Fries,” he joked.
Following Cathy’s speech, the winners of the River Region Ethics in Business and Public Service awards were announced. They are:
Seay, Seay, and Litchfield Architects Medium Business:
Up and Running Inc. Large Business:
GKN Aerospace Non-Profit:
Family Sunshine Center Maury D. Smith Award for Excellence in Professional Ethics:
Sieu Tang Wood, owner of Tang’s.
“My honor is just being here and hearing Mr. Cathy, who lit the way for us,” Wood told the crowd upon accepting the award. She then addressed the keynote speaker, humorously pitching her company’s laundry services for the nation’s 1,600 Chick-fil-A restaurants.
Established in 2009 by the Samaritan Counseling Center Inc., in collaboration with Auburn University at Montgomery’s Schools of Business
, the program honors businesses and business leaders in the tri-county area that adhere to the highest ethical standards and practices for the benefit of the workplace, the marketplace, the environment and the community.
Under the supervision of faculty and graduate students in the business and public administration programs at AUM, the ethical policies and business practices of nominees are researched, then an independent selection committee made up of community leaders review the final academic reports and select finalists.
Nominations for the 2013 awards will be accepted Dec. 1-Feb. 11. For more information, visit www.riverregionethics.com.
Photographed, from left: Mayor Todd Strange, Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan T. Cathy, event chair Pete Land, and Samaritan Center board president Temple Millsap.
Photo and reporting by Buffy Lockette