Getting Down to Business

Scholarship winners put ethics first.



Zachary Jones and family

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Since 1912, Better Business Bureau has been dedicated to promoting ethics and integrity in the marketplace, and it’s never too early to start. Each year, Better Business Bureau Serving Delaware’s Education Foundation presents the Student Ethics Scholarship to tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. As part of the application process, college-bound high school students write an essay on what business ethics means to them. They must provide examples and demonstrate their own high ethics through leadership, personal integrity and academic history. For the 2013-2014 school year, the foundation honored Zachary Jones and Mariano Di Gabriele. Both are currently freshmen at the University of Delaware. Jones is majoring in chemistry and minoring in Spanish and biochemistry. Di Gabriele is studying operations management and minoring in restaurant management. Despite their different paths, both wrote about the importance of satisfying the customer. Jones’ grandfather, an insurance agent for nearly 40 years, often said that the “customer is always right.” “His former clients miss him because he and his staff treated them with respect and honesty,” wrote Jones, an Appoquinimink High School graduate. Di Gabriele, who graduated from Concord High School, in his essay pointed to the plumbing company that maintained its regular pricing after Superstorm Sandy, even though some competitors were doubling and tripling fees. “Not only were customers happy because they were treated fairly, but they were happy because the job was done right.”


Mariano Di Gabriele

Both scholarship winners were active in high school. Jones, a member of the National Honor Society, was in the symphonic and marching bands, as well as part of the saxophone ensemble. He was also active in varsity tennis and winter track and field, and he participated in the Science Olympiad, which isn’t surprising given that math and science were his favorite high school subjects. In college, he’s still keen on chemistry. He wants to be a pediatrician, “which in itself is a business, of sorts,” he says. As a high school senior, Di Gabriele received the U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished male athlete award and an English award for outstanding achievement. So far, his entrepreneurship class in college is his favorite. Both students are inspired by those who make the world a better place or who pursue their passions despite adversity. Jones admires Lou Gehrig not only for his achievements in baseball, but also for facing his disease with courage. He also admires both his grandmothers. “They’ve have both been a huge inspiration for their kindness and strong faith,” he says. Di Gabriele says making a list of the people who inspire him the most would take days. Those serving in the military would definitely be on it. Every business has an obligation to give back, he says. “There is a lot more to business than just making money. Businesses should look for a greater purpose in serving the community.” Jones would agree. His grandfather may not have gotten rich quickly, but “it is apparent that he is rich in character and has reaped the benefits of good business ethics.” Winners of the 2014-2015 school year will be announced in April. For more information on the scholarship, visit

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