Central Texas executives and The University of Texas at Austin team up to introduce a new regional performance excellence center

AUSTIN, Texas—Two executives whose companies have won the national Baldrige Quality Awards will discuss how a focus on Baldrige Award criteria revitalized their companies at a Jan. 27 event marking the introduction of a new Center for Performance Excellence (UTCPE) at The University of Texas at Austin.

The center, created as a catalyst for organizational excellence in Texas, will make its official debut at the university’s Joe C. Thompson Conference Center with Dr. Thomas M. Hatfield, dean of the Division of Continuing and Extended Education, as host to executives from some of the leading companies in Central Texas.

Hatfield said the UTCPE will be an incubator and training center for Texas business, education, healthcare, government and nonprofit entities seeking to benefit from an organizational improvement strategy based on the internationally acclaimed Malcolm Baldrige National Performance Excellence Criteria.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria and the Baldrige National Quality Award program, the publicly traded company Baldrige Award recipients in 2001 outperformed the Standard and Poor 500 by 4.45 to 1.

Among regional leaders attending the opening day event will be several former Baldrige National Quality Award recipients, including Charles L. Korbell, president and chief executive officer of San Antonio-based Clarke American Checks, Inc Korbell, who will deliver the keynote address, received the 2001 Baldrige Award for manufacturing.

“The Baldrige criteria taught us that you must have both continuous and breakthrough improvements to achieve world-class business excellence,” said Korbell, whose company reported 2001 revenues of more than $460 million.

Also speaking will be Dale Crownover, president of Texas Nameplate Company, a Dallas-based company that manufactures identification labels for a variety of products such as refrigerators, high-pressure valves and computer equipment. The company received the Baldrige Quality Award in 1998.

“With the Baldrige program, we turned our company around,” Crownover said. “At the beginning of year one, our cost of sales was higher than our gross profits. By following the Baldrige criteria the next five years, our cost of sales dropped 10 percent and our gross profits rose 10 percent. That positive 20 percent spread, we got with Baldrige.”

Since the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was established by Congress in 1987, thousands of organizations nationwide have used the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence to improve performance and stay abreast of ever-increasing competition. Organizations use the criteria either as a self-assessment tool or as a first step in applying for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The Baldrige award is given annually by the president of the United States to recipients judged to be outstanding in seven areas, including leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement analysis and knowledge management, human resource focus, process management and business results.

The Center for Performance Excellence is a Texas component of a nationwide community that includes more than 50 Baldrige programs. It will operate within the university’s Division of Continuing and Extended Education’s Professional Development Center under the management of the center’s director, Bob Novello. Longtime Austinite and Baldrige criteria authority Mac McGuire, who has 13 years of experience with the former Greater Austin Quality Council, the Texas Award for Performance Excellence and the International Baldrige program, is the executive director of the new Center for Performance Excellence.

The UTCPE succeeds the former GAQC, a Baldrige-based program operated by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce from 1990 to 2001.

“Under the auspices of The University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Performance Excellence will build on the former GAQC model but with a broadened focus and improved customer support services,” said Hatfield. “We are honored to be the new champion for performance excellence espousing the Baldrige criteria, a strategy that has proven extremely successful in improving the effectiveness and success of U.S. organizations.”

For information about the Baldrige National Performance Excellence Criteria and the Baldrige National Quality Award, visit the National Institute of Standards and Technology Web site.

For more information contact: Mac McGuire, Center for Performance Excellence, 512-931-2332, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.