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Retired Colonel, Former UT Board Member Receives Ethics Award

Published: September 14, 2009
Col. Joseph House, chairman of the advisory board for BECK, will receive the Tampa Bay Ethics Award at a breakfast and ceremony on Friday, Sept. 25, from 7:30-9 a.m. in the Vaughn Center Crescent Club on The University of Tampa campus. The Award is presented by UT’s Center for Ethics.

The person who nominated House wrote, “Joe has exhibited a commitment to ethics since his early years in the military. His philosophy was to always take care of the troops, and this was not just a saying to him. He provided the right tools to have an atmosphere and environment that was healthy and team oriented.”

As general manager for the USAA Southeast Regional office in Tampa, House sponsored Friday night barbecues and volleyball in the company parking lot. When Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992, House ensured that the USAA support team was in Homestead, Fla., within 24 hours. He had remote offices set up with insurance agents ready to help homeowners by providing immediate housing checks. When House heard people were running out of supplies, he directed his team to purchase and shuttle food rations, water and diapers from the Tampa area to Homestead.

After nearly 13 years, House retired from USAA to become chairman of the advisory board for BECK, an internationally known construction, architecture and development firm that has built several of UT’s new residence halls. In this capacity, House advises on strategic planning, marketing, proposals, presentations and community relations.

House was chair of the Board of Trustees at The University of Tampa from 1993-1995. He has supported Metropolitan Ministries and the Alpha House for Battered Women and Children and has served on the board of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

“He is a passionate and consummate professional, which is evident by the number of community activities he is involved in,” says Kim Scheeler, former president and CEO of the chamber. “Because of his principled concern on issues, his counsel is still sought by Chamber staff and leadership more than 13 years after his term as chair of the board has ended.”

This is the nineteenth annual Business Ethics Breakfast put on by the Center for Ethics at The University of Tampa. The Center for Ethics conducts many programs throughout the year that combine education and business services, and is supported by an advisory board of business and community leaders. Faculty and staff associated with the center conduct research that aids in ethics curriculum development and usable information for the professional community.

Former winners of the ethics award include Gov. Bob Martinez, Freddie Solomon and Frederick B. Karl. Nominees for the award must live and work in the Tampa Bay area, and must demonstrate high ethical character in the course of their everyday lives. They must also promote and encourage ethics and integrity in the workplace or other organizations, and they must exhibit respect, trustworthiness and fairness.

The price to attend the Tampa Bay Ethics Awards is $25 per person or $150 per table of eight. For information or reservations, contact Angie Ballard at (813) 258-7415 or