WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced that five organizations are the recipients of the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest Presidential honor for innovation and performance excellence.
The 2009 Baldrige Award recipients—listed with their category—are:
"The road to greatness in America has been, and always will be, traveled by those who embrace change and work hard every day to be the best; the organizations we honor today with the Baldrige National Quality Award exemplify that spirit," President Obama said. "This year's recipients have shown how quality, innovation, and an unending quest for excellence help strengthen our nation and brighten the future of all Americans."
"We are thrilled to congratulate the five outstanding organizations that have been named to receive this year's Baldrige Award," added Secretary Locke. "They inspire other organizations to be more accessible, more efficient, more customer-focused and more financially sound. They have raised the bar for innovation and organizational excellence and, in the process, help to improve our economy and quality of life."
The 2009 Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 70 applicants. All of the applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. The evaluation process for each of the recipients included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by a team of examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.
The Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP) and the Baldrige Award promote innovation and performance excellence across the country and around the world in a number of ways. For example:
The use of the Criteria for Performance Excellence, the guide designed to help organizations of all types improve their operations, is widespread. Over 10 million copies of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence—described by one industry CEO as "probably the single most influential document in the modern history of American business"—have been distributed since 1988, and more than 2 million copies were downloaded last year alone.
Nearly 5,000 public and private-sector leaders have served on the independent board of examiners that reviews applications for the Baldrige Award. Each applicant receives 300 to 1,000 hours of review and a detailed feedback report from these experts.
More than 40 U.S. states and more than 45 countries worldwide have implemented programs based on the Baldrige criteria.
The 2009 Baldrige Award recipients are expected to be presented with their awards in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., next year.
Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Originally, three types of organizations were eligible: manufacturers, service companies and small businesses. Congress expanded the program in 1999 to include education and health care organizations, and again in 2007 to include nonprofit organizations (including charities, trade and professional associations, and government agencies). The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. The award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 80 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.
The BNQP is managed by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in conjunction with the private sector.
As a nonregulatory agency of the Commerce Department, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.