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Baldrige Judges Panel Welcomes New Members and Chair

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently appointed three new members to the Judges Panel for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The new judges are as follows: 

  • Ken Davis
  • Miriam Kmetzo
  • John Timmerman

Laura Huston, a Baldrige judge since 2014, has been appointed chair of the panel for 2015. Huston is assistant vice president of business excellence for Cargill, Inc. The manufacturing company boasts two Baldrige Award-winning subunits: Cargill Corn Milling, which received the award in 2008; and Cargill Kitchen Solutions, which received the award twice, first in 1999 when it was known as Sunny Fresh Foods, Inc., and again in 2005. Huston has been active as a Baldrige examiner for 13 years starting in 1998, most recently serving as an alumni member of the 2013 board of examiners.

Davis is chief medical officer for San Antonio Methodist Healthcare System. Previously, Davis served from 1992 to 2008 as the chief medical officer for North Mississippi Health Services, a six-hospital health system that received the Baldrige Award in 2012 and whose flagship hospital, North Mississippi Medical Center, received the Baldrige Award in 2006.

Kmetzo is executive vice president of Welding Technology Corporation, where she has worked since 1996, starting as quality director. She joined the board of Baldrige examiners in 1997 and has served four years as a senior examiner and seven years as an alumni examiner in recent years.

Timmerman is senior strategist for customer experience and innovation at Gallup. He previously served as vice president of operations and quality for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, which received two Baldrige Awards, in 1999 and 1992. Timmerman became a Baldrige examiner in 2005 and served as a senior examiner in 2007 and 2008.

The other Baldrige judges—who continue three-year terms on the 2015 panel—are Michael Dockery, Sharon Muret-Wagstaff, Mike Sather, Ken Schiller, Sunil Sinha, Roger Triplett, and Fonda Vera.

The 2015 Judges Panel will meet on June 10 at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which houses the Baldrige Program. The panel will reconvene August 26 at NIST to review scoring data on the 2015 Baldrige Award applicants. At that meeting, the judges will determine which of the award applicants will receive site visits—the next phase of the process of assessing each organization's performance. In early November, the judges will meet to determine applicants to recommend to the NIST director and Commerce secretary to be named 2015 Baldrige Award recipients that serve as national role models.

More information and photos of the judges are on the Baldrige Program's website at

Released May 18, 2015, Updated September 21, 2016