Making Character First

Building a Culture of Character in Any Organization


“We have implemented Character First company-wide with our 18,000 employees. Emphasizing one character quality a month—for example honesty, thriftiness, self-control, or initiative—helps sets the tone for the kind of company we want to be.”

— David Green, Founder and CEO, Hobby Lobby Stores

“The Character First program has empowered, motivated, and enhanced the personal development of our employees and has enriched the company’s ethos and culture.”

— Frank Costa, Executive Chairman, The Costa Group

“Character First has impacted our culture more than any one single initiative in the last 20 years. We have transformed into a business culture that breeds loyalty, customer service, employee engagement, and strong values. Thank you, Tom, for leading the way.”

— Toby Lavine, President, Kansas Aviation

“Kimray is a sound example of how character can build, nurture, and transform a culture. Their example provides a model from which other companies and organizations can learn. This book provides useful forms and processes that can benefit all companies, everywhere.”

— Dr. Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, Chairman and CEO, The Roosevelt Group

“All of our employees have undergone character training in the forty-nine areas that make up a business of character. We believe in building long-term relationships…that are founded on character.”

— Tom Gill, Owner, Tom Gill Chevrolet

“We think Character First does what we want in terms of developing character for students.”

— Dr. James Branscum, Superintendent, Metro Technology Center

“Character helps us build our ways of learning to learn…without that character, all the education in the world is meaningless.”

— Deborah Craven, Counselor, Crooked Oaks School

“In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant.”

— Rodney Ray, City Manager, Owasso, OK

“If you’re looking for a program, this isn’t it. If you’re searching for real change in your life and the people you live and work with, Character First is what you’re looking for. Character awareness is all-encompassing. It’s a small investment that continues to pay huge dividends.”

— David Melvin, President, David H. Melvin, Inc.

“One of our strategies for success is teamwork. “If two or more agree on anything…it is bound by our Father in Heaven” (Matt. 18:19). But real teamwork is a rarity and only comes about with people who have a high level of trust. The Character First program has raised the level of trust of our employees which has led to the teamwork that helps make us successful.”

— Joseph M. Oliver, Chief Steward, Chairman and Founder Oliver Heating & Cooling

“We found a way to import character into our world, and it hasn’t been the same since.”

— Ken Krivanec, Executive Vice President, Quadrant Homes

“The paradigm of Character First is that the right thing to do becomes the easiest thing to do.”

— Paul Mogabgab, CEO, EDG

“Ethics is not enough. We can learn the rules and the codes, but it takes good character to provide the motivation to live them out. Character First has enhanced our ability to promote business ethics and has been the foundation for our guiding principles. Character First has positively impacted the business community in Oklahoma City and around the world.”\

— Shannon Warren, Founder, Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium

“Starting with our juvenile inmates, Character First has permeated the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. It is the avenue that changed the atmosphere where 2,400 inmates reside and 800 employees work. If we can do Character First here, it can be done anywhere!”

— Argyl Dick, retired chaplain to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center