Better Business Bureau boss working to build trust between buyers and sellers

George Cartwright is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau.

George Cartwright is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Nevada, whose mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust — “that of an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other,” he says. Cartwright talked to us about filing a complaint with the BBB, the impact of the internet on businesses and his fascination with futuristic civilization.

What services does the organization offer that the public may not know about?

BBB helps people find business and brands they can trust, and our services are always free to the consumer. For businesses that are accredited with BBB, we offer free dispute resolution and mediation. It is easy for consumers to search bbb.org and find free information on reputable companies they know can be trusted. In order for a business to be accredited with BBB, they have to pass our stringent 8 Standards for Trust. This includes background checks, ensuring a business has all the requisite and current licensing, etc. Not every company that applies for BBB accreditation is accepted. We reject a large number of companies every month.

What is the easiest way for a consumer to file a complaint?

Filing a complaint with BBB is easy. You can do it online at bbb.org, where you will find a “File a Complaint” tab right on our home page. Also, people are invited to come to our office and fill out a complaint here.

How has the organization evolved in the past 10 years now that most businesses have a digital/web presence?

We offer a dynamic seal for businesses with a web presence. This ensures that consumers can trust the company they are dealing with. Clicking on this seal will bring up a company’s business profile, where they can view the company’s grade, reviews, how long they have been in business, etc. It’s a valuable and powerful tool for both the consumer and business.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

Before I joined Better Business Bureau, I worked for over 15 years at the Greenspun Corporation, which was the family office for the Greenspun family. During a meeting in which we were evaluating a very large investment opportunity, Brian Greenspun declined to move forward on this particular deal we had been analyzing for weeks. We simply didn’t have enough information to make a conclusive decision. When wrapping up the decision to not move forward, he said “I am smart enough to know that I am not smart enough.” That has always stuck with me, and I still draw from that statement to this day.

If you could change one thing about Southern Nevada, what would it be?

That’s a tough one. I moved to Las Vegas in 1975 and have never left. Name another place with no state income tax, world-class restaurants and entertainment, and 24/7 access for visitors and residents alike. Whenever I travel, I am always happy to come back home.

What’s the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?

I think a more concerted effort needs to be made in improving the education system. There is no reason that Nevada should be consistently ranked last nationwide in education. We need to forge a better path for the youth of our community. And we can do that.

Where’s your favorite place to explore in Las Vegas?

Living in Las Vegas for over 43 years, I have been just about everywhere. With my youngest daughter now being 13 years old and developing a social life, I now explore wherever she wants to go with her friends.

Describe your management style.

I am the absolute opposite of a micro manager. I believe you hire smart, talented and motivated people and get out of their way. I am fortunate enough to have a great team of professionals here at BBB. They truly make my job a lot easier.

What is your dream job outside of your current field?

In retirement, I would envision something that would be dealing with the general public in a welcome wagon ambassador type of role, much like our former Mayor Oscar Goodman does. I love meeting and talking to new people.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who do not use turn signals and drive aggressively.

What are you currently reading?

I am absolutely fascinated by the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence, and just how big of a role it will play in civilization in the future. I read anything I can find on this subject, and listen to podcasts discussing this subject in depth.

What is something that people might not know about you?

I am a big practical joker. I love to make myself and others laugh. My kids typically bear the brunt of my joking and remind me to act my age. That will never happen.