Mr. President, Labor Secretary Chao, Midge Baldrige, Letitia Baldrige, Members of Congress, our Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winners, and distinguished guests.
I want to thank a number of people for their time and involvement with the Baldrige Award, making it the successful and prestigious honor it is.
First, there is Michael Wood, President of the Baldrige Award Foundation.
The Foundation has raised $10 million to endow the original Baldrige Award program, and under Mike's guidance, is now working to raise an additional $15 million to endow the new awards in education and health care -- two areas that President Bush and this Administration care deeply about.
We also very much appreciate the dedication of our private-sector partners and supporters of this program, including the examiners, judges, overseers, and the American Society for Quality.
I'd like to recognize Karen Brown, acting director of Commerce's Technology Administration; and Harry Hertz and the wonderful team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology for so ably managing the Baldrige quality awards.
I am honored to be here again – on behalf of Secretary Evans. I had the privilege to present these distinguished awards as Commerce Secretary.
There is absolutely no substitute for quality in a business, especially in today's global economy.
A recent survey of consumers from around the world said that quality is their number one concern. A decade ago, quality was down the list.
And I don't think it is a coincidence that since the creation of the Baldrige Award, American business is again the standard for excellence the world over.
And leading the way for us are four companies – the winners of the year 2000 Baldrige awards.
Let me say a few words about each of the winners.
Spicer Drivershaft, a division of Dana Corporation of Toledo, Ohio is the world's largest independently owned cardan driveshaft supplier to light vehicle, medium and heavy truck, off-highway, and industrial manufacturers.
Defect rates at Spicer have decreased by more than 75 percent over the past four years. And for the last three years, customer satisfaction rates have averaged 80 percent or better, surpassing all of Spicer's competitors.
KARLEE of Garland, Texas was founded in 1974 in Lee Brumit's (BRUM-it) garage. The company makes machined parts for the telecommunications, medical, and semiconductor industries.
Over the past few years, KARLEE's sales have increased by more than 25 percent annually – and customer satisfaction has risen by more than 30 percent.
Operations Management International (OMI) of Greenwood Village, Colorado, is a world leader in wastewater management. It has facilities in 30 states, in the Middle East and in Asia.
OMI is proud of its "obsessed with quality" program which empowers associates to think and act like owners of the company. In the past five years, OMI has won more than 100 federal and states awards for excellence.
Los Alamos National Bank of Los Alamos, New Mexico, is an independently owned community bank. When fire ravaged the Los Alamos area last year, Los Alamos National Bank offered zero-percent loans to anyone affected by the fire, whether they were customers or not. The bank also suspended loan payments on burned homes. In a moment of emergency, Los Alamos National Bank proved to be more than a business – it was a good neighbor.
Eighty percent of Los Alamos National Bank's customers say they are very satisfied – compared with a 55 percent rating for banks nationwide. Employee satisfaction results also exceed those of comparable banks.
Each of these honorees have something in common – with one another and with past winners – and that is, a strong commitment to working with employees and customers to provide outstanding quality and service.
My congratulations to all the companies and workers we are honoring today – and to all the past winners.