Lifelong Arlington resident Bob Witeck, CEO of D.C.-based Witeck-Combs Communications, was one of four recipients honored with Arlington County's James B. Hunter Human Rights Award Dec. 7. Witeck was chosen for using his company to advance LGBT rights.
The awards, sponsored by the Arlington Human Rights Commission, are given annually for commitment to or accomplishment in the pursuit of cultural diversity or advocacy for human rights. As CEO of Witeck-Combs, Witeck has led his firm to advise corporations and the U.S. Census in reaching out and adopting policies favorable to LGBT people.
''Change happens, not just because people are doing the right thing, but because businesses know it's imperative to recognize and accept differences of all kinds in order to create a fair, inclusive workplace,'' Witeck says of his work and the value of the private sector regarding social progress. ''Often, companies or businesses are showing government the right way by adopting policies like employment nondiscrimination. We often think of businesses as among the most conservative elements of society, but they can also be among the most progressive.''
Witeck says he's particularly honored with the award in that he grew up knowing its namesake, recalling Hunter as one of the first officials who was a strong ally on LGBT issues.
''Whether it was doing the right thing on LGBT issues, even offering domestic partner benefits for county employees, or on the issue of integration, it did convince me that everything I thought about my home county was confirmed,'' Witeck says of Arlington's ''inclusive'' character.