Performance Excellence Network Recognizes Four Organizations

Performance Excellence Network Recognizes Four Organizations

2016 Performance Excellence Awards Presented at PENworks 2017 Conference; Lt. Governor Celebrates Excellence in Minnesota


ST. PAUL, Minn., April 27, 2017 – The Performance Excellence Network (PEN), formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality, today honors four recipients of the 2016 Performance Excellence Award (formerly the MN Quality Award).  The Award is based on the Baldrige Framework and is the culmination of a rigorous evaluation of an organization’s management system.  The evaluation criteria consider leadership, strategic planning, customer-related processes, measurement and knowledge management, workforce, and operations, and recognize organizations that are systematically improving results.


The organizations receiving the Award are: Olmsted Medical Center (Rochester), Mayo Clinic Health System, SE Region (Rochester), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (St. Paul), and South Dakota Army National Guard (Rapid City).  All four receive the “Advancement Level” of recognition, which is the second of four levels.  There have been 135 organizations recognized since 1991 in this process for their systematic improvement efforts and superior outcomes.


These organizations were featured at PENworks 2017, a conference earlier this week at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center.  The Awards were presented during a luncheon Tuesday, attended by Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith.

“Effective leadership and high performing organizations share several things in common. They build strong teams with a common purpose.  They allow time for reflection, learning, and fun.  And, most importantly, they listen to everyone,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith.  “The Performance Excellence Network is giving organizations across our state and region the tools they need to build great teams and deliver betters results for customers.”

Said Brian Lassiter, president/CEO of the Performance Excellence Network: “no one raves about being average – you don’t hear someone complimenting the sports team that goes .500 and finishes third in the division; you don’t celebrate the school or the hospital or the community that places at the 50th percentile in their state or national ranking.  But everyone raves about legendary: about having world class outcomes; about true performance excellence.  Everyone raves about growing; about achieving mission and purpose; everyone raves about winning.  These organizations are all striving to be legendary; they are striving to win.”

John Linc Stine, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and one of the Award recipient organizations commented: “As a 38-year State employee, I appreciate the systematic rigor of Baldrige – of how it is helping MPCA evaluate and learn, grow and improve.  We are pleased with our accomplishments toward excellence, but we are truly taking our first steps in our journey.”


The conference also featured six keynotes, an opening keynote Bill George of Harvard Business School (and former Chairman/CEO of Medtronic) on Discovering Your True North: Becoming an Authentic Leader, a closing keynote from Bryan Williams of B. Williams Enterprise (formerly of Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company) on going From Great to World Class Service.  In addition, four organizations that have received national recognition from the Baldrige Program offered remarks on achieving and sustaining world class performance: Greg Haralson, CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital (Houston); Maryruth Butler, Executive Director of Kindred Nursing & Rehabilitation Mountain Valley (Kellogg, ID); Jeff Mihelich, Asst. City Manager, City of Ft. Collins CO; and Jamie Capehart, Performance Improvement Specialist, Park Place Lexus (Plano, TX).


The conference also featured 25 other local, regional, and national speakers, each sharing best practices and methods for improving processes and outcomes.  Organizations represented included 3M, Ecolab, Minnetonka Public Schools, Minnesota State University Mankato, Essentia Health, Good Samaritan Society, MN Department of Health, and others.


About Olmsted Medical Center

Olmsted Medical Center is a not-for-profit that has served the Rochester area since 1949.  OMC’s 165 clinicians join 1,000 other healthcare professionals serving through 18 locations.  OMC has more than 20 specialties, and each year the Olmsted Medical Center team sees 250,000 patients, performs 3,000 major surgical operations, cares for 38,000 patients in their Emergency Care department, and delivers nearly 1,000 babies.  For more information:


About Mayo Clinic Health System, SE Region

Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) – Southeast MN Region (SEMN) is one of four Mayo regions providing community based care located in southeast Minnesota with its hub for higher levels of care based in Rochester.  Nearly 5000 employees are engaged in providing services across SE Minnesota in 41 locations.  The organization manages 6 hospitals, 24 clinics, a chemical dependency treatment center, and ancillary services including pharmacy, vision, rehab, and home care.  For more information:


About Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) ensures environmental protection and protection of public health for the State of Minnesota through a variety of products and services.  Core products and services include:

  • monitoring environmental quality and providing access to that data and information;
  • setting standards, rules and policies that protect the environment and public health;
  • providing assistance and education to prevent pollution;
  • issuing permits or licenses and enforcing environmental regulations;
  • finding and cleaning up contamination or pollution that affects our health and environment, and responding to emergencies.

MPCA has a workforce of over 900 staff and over 1500 volunteers.  For more information:


About South Dakota Army National Guard

The South Dakota National Guard provides units to assist and support authorities in the protection of life and property, preserve peace, order and public safety under the direction of the Governor of South Dakota.  The Guard also provides combat-ready, mission-capable forces throughout the entire spectrum of conflict under the direction of the President of the United States.  With nearly 3000 authorized traditional soldiers and nearly 600 full-time soldiers, the SD Guard has been using a Baldrige-based Army Communities of Excellence approach to improvement for many years.  For more information:


About Performance Excellence Network

The Performance Excellence Network was founded in 1987 by the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Rudy Perpich, and was spun off into a private 501(c)3 nonprofit two years later. PEN advances improvement and performance excellence within organizations, individuals and communities. It helps leaders identify strengths and improvement opportunities, and it builds networks that bring information, resources, knowledge and best practices to organizations desiring to improve. PEN serves over 200 members and organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas. For more information, go to


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