Thursday, September 18, 2003

Conference can educate

Award winners teach success

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer contributor

Award-winning businesses will share their stories and strategies at the Baldrige Regional Conference next week in Cincinnati.

The conference will provide an in-depth opportunity to learn about the best practices implemented by current and former winners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, said Scott Kurtz of the Baldrige National Quality Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.

The Baldrige Award is presented each year by the president and the secretary of commerce to organizations that demonstrate excellence in several key areas, including leadership, strategic planning and performance results.

"The conference will feature all three 2002 Baldrige Award recipients, which include our first-ever health care recipient, SSM Health Care," Kurtz said.

In addition to the St. Louis-based SSM, the other two national winners for 2002 were Motorola's Commercial, Government and Industrial Solutions Sector in Schaumburg, Ill., and Branch-Smith Printing Division in Fort Worth, Texas.

For several years, the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce has used the Baldrige standards as the criteria for selecting its Small Business of the Year award winners. The chamber is co-sponsoring the upcoming conference.

"The neat thing is the diversity of the winners," said David Owens, director of educational programs at the chamber. "We'll hear from national models and be able to steal shamelessly from them."

Owens hopes that the conference will increase the local business community's awareness of the Baldrige criteria and the advantages of applying for the local small-business award.

"Applying is a way of figuring out the gaps in your process," he said. "The assessment covers all aspects of your business. The $2,000 application fee enables you to get a report that's a cost-effective way to measure your continuous improvement efforts."

The conference takes place Tuesday at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel downtown. A pre-conference workshop outlining the Baldrige criteria and self-assessment process will be offered Monday afternoon.

Other Baldrige Award recipients presenting at the conference include Clarke American Checks Inc., Pearl River School District and Texas Nameplate. Executives from those organizations will be available at open forum and networking sessions.

If you go

• What: Baldrige Regional Conference.

• When: 1-4 p.m. Monday (workshop); 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

• Where: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel.

• Cost: $495 a person; discounts available for groups of five or more.

• Registration: (215) 822-5133, or online at

• Information: or (301) 975-2036. E-mail

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