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The Official Baldrige Blog

Focus on the 2018 Judges’ Panel: Bruce Requa

Focus on Baldrige Judge Bruce Requa photo.
Judges Panel Blog Series

In this judges panel blog series, we have been interviewing members of the Judges’ Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to share individual members’ insights and perspectives on the award process, their experiences, and the Baldrige framework and approach to organizational improvement in general.

The primary role of the Judges’ Panel is to ensure the integrity of the Baldrige Award selection process. Based on a review of results of examiners’ scoring of written applications (the Independent and Consensus Review processes), judges vote on which applicants merit Site Visit Review (the third and final examination stage) to verify and clarify their performance in all seven Criteria categories of the Baldrige Excellence Framework. The judges also review reports from site visit to recommend to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce which organizations to name as U.S. role models—Baldrige Award recipients. No judge participates in any discussion of an organization for which he/she has a real or perceived conflict of interest. Judges serve for a period of three years.

Meet Baldrige Judge Bruce Requa

Requa is one of five new Baldrige judges this year.

Photo of Bruce Requa Baldrige Judge

Bruce A. Requa
Business Manager




What experiences led you to the role of Baldrige judge?  

I’ve been active with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program for the last ten years as an Baldrige examiner, senior examiner, and alumni examiner. During this time, my passion for performance improvement has been focused in two key areas: 

  1. Helping organizations improve through the use of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence [part of the Baldrige Excellence Framework booklets]
  2. Helping examiners improve their knowledge of and use of the Criteria both with Baldrige Award applicants and in their own organizations 

How do you see the Baldrige Excellence Framework and Criteria as valuable to businesses and other organizations?

The Criteria are useful across all industries as a tool for understanding and implementing best management practices. Each of the seven categories [Leadership; Strategy; Customers; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Workforce; Operations; and Results] provides incredible value and helps leaders improve their organizational processes. I’ve been privileged as an examiner to learn from world-class organizations whose leaders state very simply that Baldrige is their management framework—it works and they get excellent business results. 

How do you apply Baldrige principles/concepts in your current work?

The principles embodied in the Baldrige framework help me understand the end-to-end connectivity across the business. When tackling business problems, I can go to the [Baldrige] Criteria, review the questions, and then use them to dive into our approaches for managing the business. It’s a great framework for identifying the gaps and then determining approaches for closing them.

As a new member of the panel, what are your hopes for the judging process? For instance, is there anything you’d like to help applicants and potential Baldrige Award applicants understand about the process?

One of the tenets of Baldrige has been to “trust the process.” As an examiner, I’ve found that the process works every time regardless of the people or organizations involved. 

My expectation is for the judging process to have the same rigor applied so that each applicant receives the same thorough review and analysis that all receive during the Consensus Review [team evaluation phase of the Baldrige Award process]. 

What encouragement/advice would you give Baldrige examiners for their work in evaluating organizations as part of the Baldrige Award process?

  1. Do your best to understand the organization as presented in its award application. 
  2. Be thoughtful, thorough, and bring your unique perspective to the team. Whether this is your first or 21st application, you have an incredible viewpoint and window into the organization [through its responses to the Baldrige Criteria in the application]. 
  3. If you are given the opportunity to participate in a site visit, dive in deep to understand the organization—ask questions, look for processes that will help the organization improve, and find the blind spots. When spending time with the applicant, the examiners can really understand how to help the organization improve, which is ultimately the goal of the process. 

Judges Panel Blog Series: Upcoming Blogs

Dr. Kristin Stehouwer (Chair)

Previous Blogs

Allison A. Carter
Glenn Crotty
Tammy L. Dye
Eric K. Fletcher
MG John C. Harris
Kevin R. McManus
John R. Molenda, Jr.
Dee Springer

A Systems Approach to Improving Your Organization’s Performance

2019-2020 Baldrige Excellence Framework cover photo

Baldrige Excellence Framework

The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.

Purchase your copy today!

Available versions: Business/Nonprofit, Education, and Health Care


About the author

Christine Schaefer

Christine Schaefer is a longtime staff member of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP). Her work has focused on producing BPEP publications and communications. She also has been highly involved in the Baldrige Award process, Baldrige examiner training, and other offerings of the program.

She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a double major, receiving highest distinction for her thesis in the interdisciplinary Political & Social Thought Program. She also has a master's degree from Georgetown University, where her studies and thesis focused on social and public policy issues. 

When not working, she sits in traffic in one of the most congested regions of the country, receives consolation from her rescued beagles, writes poetry, practices hot yoga, and tries to cultivate a foundation for three kids to direct their own lifelong learning (and to PLEASE STOP YELLING at each other—after all, we'll never end wars if we can't even make peace at home!).

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