By TONY BROWN Staff writer Nov 16, 2017
TEMPE, Arizona — Nodaway County Economic Development on Wednesday announced that Maryville is one of five communities to receive “Commitment to Community Excellence” certificates from Communities of Excellence 2026.
The presentations took place Oct. 27 during a luncheon at the 2017 National Baldrige Fall Conference in Tempe, Arizona.
Communities of Excellence 2026 has the stated mission of improving the quality of life in communities across the United States by assisting them in implementing the Baldrige-based Communities of Excellence framework.
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recognizes U.S. organizations across a number of sectors, including business, health care, education and nonprofit. The initiative is administered by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program under the auspices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Communities receiving certificates were lauded for their “commitment to the health and well-being of residents and pursuit of community performance excellence.”
Cities and counties honored in addition to Maryville included Brookfield/Marceline, Missouri; Kanawha County, West Virginia; San Diego County (South Region), California; and West Kendall, Florida.
In order to become eligible for the award, all five communities submitted a Baldrige-based “community profile,” an example of an improvement made using a “process improvement system” and a list of “key results” to be tracked during the “Communities of Excellence journey.”
The resulting community profiles were then evaluated by a team of volunteer reviewers, who also offered suggestions on how communities might better serve residents.
NCED Executive Director Josh McKim said the certificates spotlight communities, including Maryville, “who are making an effort to pilot and spearhead the Baldridge process in community development.”
He also said that adapting the Baldrige process, originally designed to foster excellence within corporations and institutions, to towns and cities poses some difficulties.
For example, most companies have a unified management structure, while cities and other local entities depend on consensus and cooperation between civic leaders, governing boards, elected officials, citizens, volunteers, service organizations and business groups.
“But there can also be some great rewards,” said McKim, who added that applying “process improvement” strategies to municipalities holds forth the promise of building connections between leadership structures that promote a “common vision and a common purpose.”
McKim said 2017 is the first year for the Communities of Excellence 2026 program, and that, after the city was nominated to take part in the process, a local committee worked for about six months studying the Baldrige system and ways to adapt it to community development.
“We cannot overstate the significance of the contribution these five communities are making to help launch this new approach to improving the lives of residents throughout our country,” said Lowell Kruse, chair of Communities of Excellence 2026.
Kruse is the former CEO of Heartland Health in St. Joseph — now Mosaic Life Care. Under his leadership, Heartland won a Baldrige National Quality Award in 2009 as well as the Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service.
“We know that children are educated, jobs are created, health improves all at the community level,” Kruse said. “Helping communities improve their performance is ultimately the best way to improve America.
“We are proud of them and thank them for the willingness to help pave the way for others who will be involved in this important work in the years ahead.”
In a Communities of Excellence release, the organization stated that the recognition program has a three-fold purpose: to develop a nationally recognized standard of community performance; to establish role models of that standard; and to encourage continuous improvement through the sharing of best practices and feedback.
“The entire Baldrige community is excited by the progress being made by these communities to achieve ever-higher levels of performance and improved quality of life for their residents,” said Robert Fangmeyer, director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.