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2020 Baldrige Award Judges Select Nine U.S. Organizations for First-Ever Virtual Site Visits

Nine U.S. organizations were recently selected to receive fall site visits, the final stage of the evaluation process for the 2020 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA), the nation’s highest award for organizational performance excellence.

During a virtual meeting last week, the Judges Panel of the MBNQA reviewed scoring data from the first two evaluation stages of the annual award process. To determine which organizations would receive site visits, the judges looked only at scoring data, thus avoiding any conflicts of interest and ensuring the integrity of the award process. The scoring data came from evaluation teams composed of trained volunteers who have a mix of sector expertise.

Twenty applicants were evaluated during the first two phases of the selection process for the 2020 Baldrige Award. The organizations that are moving forward in the process will receive site visits in late September through early October. These organizations vary in workforce size and sectors. They include three in the health care category, four nonprofits (a category that includes government), and two small businesses.

For the first time in the Baldrige Award program’s history since 1988, site visits will be held virtually this fall. Regardless of the change to a virtual process this year, all Baldrige Award applicants will continue to receive a rigorous evaluation by members of the independent, all-volunteer Board of Examiners for the MBNQA. The 2020 assessments focus on seven areas of performance, as defined by the 2019–2020 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence: leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis, and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results. Again in 2020, Baldrige examiners are providing each award applicant with 500 to 1,000 hours of review and a detailed report on the organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. As in past years, the 2020 site visit evaluation teams will be composed of Baldrige examiners who together have a mix of sector expertise. Despite not being on-site, the examiner teams will hold interviews of employees at all levels of the workforce to clarify and verify information submitted by each organization’s Baldrige Award application; those interviews will be conducted virtually.

The Baldrige Award’s Judges Panel will reconvene in November to review findings about the site-visited organizations’ performance and determine which to recommend to the secretary of commerce to be named 2020 Baldrige Award recipients. Only the names of the award applicants that are selected for the Baldrige Award will be revealed publicly at that time. The awardees are traditionally honored at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Baldrige Program’s annual Quest for Excellence® Conference each spring.

The Judges’ Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award consists of 12 members, each of whom traditionally serves a three-year term. The 2020 panel includes three new judges—Kevin Johnson, Meridith Wentz, and Gary Wilson—appointed by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Ross also appointed Allison Carter as chair of the 2020 panel.

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in cooperation with the private sector and with support from the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy; provides organizational assessment tools and criteria; and educates leaders in all types of organizations about the practices of national role models. The Baldrige Award recognizes the nation’s top-level performers in six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education, and nonprofit. The Baldrige Award is not given for specific products or services. Since the first Baldrige Award recipients were recognized in 1988, 129 awards have been presented to 121 organizations (including eight two-time award recipients).


Released August 24, 2020, Updated September 9, 2020