Professional Auto Body earns ethics award | PostIndependent.com

Professional Auto Body earns ethics award

The first questions Professional Auto Body customers are likely to get when bringing a car or truck in for repairs after an accident are, "was anybody hurt?" and "are you OK?"

That kind of personal approach "sets the stage for a successful relationship with a customer," says Dave Malehorn, longtime owner of Professional Auto Body south of Glenwood Springs, whose motto is "to provide high quality collision repair in an honest, ethical and efficient manner."

That was also a consideration in presenting one of the 2015 Better Business Bureau Northern Colorado and Wyoming region Torch Awards for Ethics to Professional Auto Body last week.

Malehorn and his business manager, Phil Pich, accepted the award for businesses with between 11 and 25 employees at the 17th annual BBB Center for Character Ethics Torch Awards event, held April 21 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland.

Malehorn, whose business has been BBB accredited since 2010, attended the event in 2012 at the urging of Oni Butterfly, area business relations director for the organization.

That same year, Professional Auto Body won the Mitchell Customer Satisfaction Award, one of just 400 body shops nationwide to be recognized with the honor. That led to the BBB nomination for this year's ethics award.

"To be nominated and up on the stage receiving an award just three years later was pretty emotional for me," Malehorn said. "I've always been one to look at what needs to be improved and how take that next step, so it's satisfying to look back and see what we've accomplished."

Malehorn has been with Professional Auto Body, located at 133 Marand Road, since 1988 when he began as general manager for former owner and business founder Ron Perau. In 1994, Malehorn and his father, Ken Malehorn, partnered to buy the business.

Dave recently bought out his father's share of the business, and is now bringing Pich on as a part owner.

Butterfly said it was pleasing to see an ethics award winner from Colorado's Western Slope. Malehorn joins another past winner of the award from Glenwood Springs, Tillie Fisher, the longtime owner of Office Services Unlimited who is now retired.

"It's a very rigorous process just to be nominated, and I'm very proud to have one of our area businesses, and one of Dave's caliber, be a recipient," Butterfly said.

The BBB Torch Awards for Ethics promotes the six principles of ethical enterprising, known as "TRUST" — Transformation at the Top, Reinforce and Build, Unite the Team, Steer Performance, Treasure People and Enthusiastically Reinvest.

Part of that reinvestment for Malehorn is to give back to the community. He is involved as a sponsor for the annual MS Walk in Glenwood Springs, is active in supporting the Emily Johnson Memorial Play It Forward charitable soccer tournament, and helps fund and nominates local nonprofits for Enterprise Foundation grants each year.

Malehorn also encourages his employees to give to charitable causes in the community, matching their donations up to $500 through the business.

Peers, colleagues and customers nominate businesses for the annual BBB ethics award, and business students at the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming prepare entries. An independent panel of judges selects the winners.

Helping to prepare Professional Auto Body's entry were UNC Monfort College of Business students Robert Henry, Carlos Valdez and Michael Yeager, who were on hand for the award presentation.

Through that partnership, Malehorn was also able to sit in on one of the students' business ethics classes at UNC earlier this year in Greeley.

"That was something I really wanted to do, because I never went to college before," he said.

Part of being a good business owner, he said, is recognizing that mistakes sometimes happen and to be upfront with customers about it.

"How you deal with those mistakes after they've been made is what sets you apart from a mediocre business," Malehorn says. "There will always be issues in any business, and it's how you resolve those issues is really key."

Nominations are open for the 2016 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics for both businesses and, for the first time, charities. Details are available at http://www.go.bbb.org/1nB9vnA