SOUTHFIELD, MI – The collective legacies of David and Gus Armstrong’s life-long commitments to personal and business ethics recently was honored and duly recognized by the Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF), an alliance of 14 independent colleges and universities in Michigan. During a meeting on the campus of Hope College, the MCF Board of Trustees affirmed the naming of a professional ethics certification program after David and Gus Armstrong.
The new initiative was nearly two years in the making, involving MCF faculty and other national leaders in the field. It is designed to reflect Armstrong International’s continued exemplary way of conducting business on a global scale with ethics at the forefront. MCF executive board member and trustee David Casterline, who serves as Corporate Director of Communications at Armstrong International, spearheaded the effort and chairs the MCF “Professional Ethics Advisory Board.”
“Armstrong International’s core values, along with both David and Gus Armstrong’s teachings, have been driving forces in the program, which seeks to emulate enormous contributions of these leaders in the field of business ethics,” noted Robert P. Bartlett, President of the MCF. “David Casterline’s close direction in this effort has been indispensable. His dedication and counsel has kept the program true to its purpose.”
The program trains undergraduate students in ethical analysis and judgment both in the classroom and through practical case projects with Michigan employers. The Merrill “Gus” and David M. Armstrong Certification in Professional Ethics includes plans for expanding to a Center of activities focused on issues of workplace ethics and other central themes of Armstrong International’s unique corporate culture. The larger vision calls for the development of corporate training programs, along with MCF faculty driven research and consulting engagements on the topic.
“The late David Armstrong’s core values, extensive published works, and ethical corporate management philosophy grounded at the very core of Armstrong International’s operations were the driving forces in this venture and “litmus tests” of its authenticity,” emphasized Bartlett. “David and his father Gus were the inspiration of the program’s creation, so it is right to dedicate this program in their names.”
David Armstrong had often traveled the globe and was known internationally as a motivational speaker, business ethics expert and well published author of five books. His unique leadership style included penning corporate tales and honoring employees with good deeds through storytelling in the workplace. He appeared frequently as a guest on TV and nationally syndicated radio talk shows to share his philosophy and management experience on ethical business practices.
As the former CEO and President of the long-standing successful business, David Armstrong practiced his family’s ethical management philosophies internally with employees, as well as with the customers of this privately-held, 113-year-old company. Armstrong provides intelligent system solutions that improve utility performance, lower energy consumption, and reduce environmental emissions while providing an “enjoyable experience.” David’s last book was entitled, “Hanging by a Thread: The Erosion of the Golden Rule in America.” He died unexpectedly in 2010 at the age of 52.
Gus Armstrong spearheaded international growth for Armstrong International and has made numerous contributions to the company through his untiring efforts and dedication over many years, leading the organization through countless positive examples he set forth tied directly to ethics in the workplace. Gus remains active in the company as Chairman of the Board.
Casterline, who worked closely with David Armstrong for many years, is extremely proud to see the ethics certification program evolve and carry the namesake of both Gus and David Armstrong. He stressed this is a well-deserved honor for both men. “Gus and David Armstrong each truly exemplify what ethics should stand for in the business world today,” cited Casterline. “We live in a world that has become filled with headlines of people and companies that are perhaps not so ethical. David and Gus have always believed in setting good examples and simply doing the right thing. These are two outstanding and caring men who always exhibited a keen sense for treating others in the same manner in which they desired to be treated. David commonly gave Gus much credit when it came to his successful leadership style. He learned a great deal from his father over the years. I have learned a great deal of good from Gus and David Armstrong in my 20 years with the company to date.”
MCF Board Chair, Lizabeth Ardisana, CEO of ASG Renaissance said, “Professional Ethics is now a permanent and flourishing fixture in MCF’s offerings to students. It seems only fitting to recognize the lives and personal values of David and Gus Armstrong – not to mention the entire Armstrong family – who have played an integral role in inspiring and enabling this effort.”