Greg Hartman, president of Oasis Sales and Marketing in Sebastopol, Calif., received the Cliff Adler Heart in Business Award Sept. 6 at Natural Products Expo East in Washington, D.C. The award was established in 1989 to commemorate Cliff Adler, then a vice president at Eden Foods, who died in a car accident. Adler was widely esteemed for his business ethics.
Hartman was nominated for the award by peers and colleagues, who noted his exemplary achievement, integrity, problem-solving ability, sense of humor, commitment and heart.
Mark Cook, Western sales director for American Soy Products of Saline, Mich., presented the award, saying, "Greg exudes a positive and enthusiastic attitude, and this keeps the daily grind in its place." Cook also noted that Hartman has "a sense of purpose." Hartman described that sense of purpose as growing out of his "hippie" ideals more than 30 years ago.
"It's not really about me," Hartman said of the award. "It's about something much bigger"—preserving the values associated with the industry and with Adler. "It's what sets us apart from other businesses—ethical behavior, personal integrity," Hartman observed.
Indeed, Hartman's fans believe he embodies such integrity. Two clients quoted the Golden Rule in nominating him, said Phil Margolis, president of Ivyland, Pa.-based Neshaminy Valley Natural Foods LLC and head of the selection committee. Hartman demonstrates "integrity and ethics while keeping an eye on the bottom line." Oasis, which he founded in 1992, has grown from a staff of one to a staff of seven and has pioneered many product lines in the naturals trade. Supporters also cite his leadership skills, noting that in a crisis Hartman remains cool and looks for a step-by-step solution to the problem. He is willing to work around the clock and is known to offer advice while waiving any fees.
Choking up, Hartman commended Cook and Margolis for their "tireless dedication to the memory of their friend Cliff, and the way this award is preserving the values that are so important in this industry." Along with Cook and Margolis, Bruce Nierenberg, president of BIN Sales and Marketing Inc. of Norwalk, Conn., served on the award selection committee.
Hartman proposed expanding the award so it could have a bigger audience and offered his company's resources to propel the effort.
"You don't have to compromise your personal integrity to be successful." That, he noted, is the real message of the Adler Award.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 10/p. 11