Longtime head of Abilene Better Business Bureau stepping down


ABILENE, Texas - After more than two decades, a well-known consumer advocate for the Big Country is stepping down.

A ceremony was held Tuesday night at the Abilene Country Club honoring Steve Abel, who's retiring from the Abilene Better Business Bureau after more than 20 years.

Abilene city council members were on hand to proclaim Tuesday as Steve Abel Day to a round of cheers.

With his wife, Nancy, by his side, an emotional Abel said the job he's leaving has been an honor and a privilege.

"I don't need to tell you guys what a wonderful place we live in, but we do," Abel said.

Abel said he wants more time to relax after beginning his job as president and CEO of the Abilene Better Business Bureau more than 20 years ago.

"[I'll miss] all the people, all the folks that call the BBB and want to talk to somebody, want to either tell them what happened to them, ask them advice or a lot of times they just want somebody to confirm what they already know," Abel said.

Friends and co-workers signed an oversized card wishing him well on his next chapter.

"He's just a friendly guy, a loving guy, loves the community of Abilene," said Debbie Hurt, a board member for the Abilene Better Business Bureau. "He just he will be missed dearly."

"He brings humor," said Fran Stone, the vice-chair for the Abilene Better Business Bureau. "He adds fun to the board, but also he is business when it comes to business."

"Steve's done a great job," said John Riggins the new president and CEO for the Abilene Better Business Bureau. "He left a good foundation for us, and I just hope to carry the mantle and go forward."

Riggins came to Abilene from the BBB in Fort Worth.

"I'm listening, and I'm learning, and I'm trying to figure out what's going on in Abilene, what they want more of what they want less of," Riggins said.

Abel said he and Nancy will stay in Abilene, and he'll continue to serve on the Goodwill board while she volunteers at their church.

"We're not going away," Abel said. "We're just gonna be a little bit less day-to-day."

Abel said he'll still be in the office for another month or so helping Riggins get up to speed.