Performance Excellence Network Recognizes Two Organizations

2018 Performance Excellence Awards Presented at PENworks 2019 Conference

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 6, 2019 – The Performance Excellence Network (PEN) honors two recipients of the 2018 Performance Excellence Award.  The Award is based on the Baldrige Framework and is the culmination of a rigorous evaluation of an organization’s management and performance 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: Episcopal Homes of Minnesota (St. Paul), which received the “Commitment Level” and River’s Edge Hospital (St. Peter), which received the “Advancement Level.”  There have been 140 organizations recognized since 1991 by this program.

These organizations were featured at PENworks 2019, a conference held Thursday and Friday at the Mystic Lake Conference Center in Prior Lake, MN.  The Awards were presented during a luncheon Friday attended by nearly 400 local leaders from across the region.

Said Brian Lassiter, president/CEO of the Performance Excellence Network: “Achieving and sustaining excellence – in our organizations and in ourselves – takes hard work.  It takes a commitment of time, of resource, of energy.  It takes focus, persistence, patience, and practice.  These organizations have demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement and performance excellence.”

“We know it is hard work to achieve and sustain excellence,” said Marvin Plakut, CEO of Episcopal Homes.  “And the farther down this road we go, the more we understand what the hard work of the Baldrige method is.  It’s such an inspiring journey that there’s no way we can go back on our commitment to this journey to excellence.  We are marching forward!”

George Rohrich, CEO of River’s Edge Hospital, said: “Baldrige helps us better concentrate and coordinate our improvement efforts.”

The conference featured 30 local, regional, and national speakers from all types of organizations, each sharing best practices and methods to improve leadership, customer focus, workforce engagement and capability, and operational effectiveness.  In addition to the two organizations receiving recognition, some of the organizations presenting included Allete/MN Power, Allina Health, Andersen Windows, City of Brooklyn Park, Mankato Area Public Schools, Strider Bike, and University of St. Thomas.

Seven of the speakers were keynotes, four representing current Baldrige Award recipient organizations, the nation’s highest performing organizations: Sue Dunn, CEO of Donor Alliance (Denver, CO); Lindel Fields, Superintendent & CEO, Tri County Tech (Bartlesville, OK); Richard Panico, CEO of Integrated Project Management LLC (Chicago, IL); and Kathy Raethel, CEO of Adventist Health Castle (Kailua, HI).

The other three keynotes each shared methods for leaders to systematically improve workforce engagement, team and leadership effectiveness, and personal/professional happiness: Jenn Lim (Delivering Happiness and Zappos), Jeff Brown, (Experience Happiness), and Stevie Ray (Stevie Ray Improv Co.).

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 250 members and organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas. For more information, go to

About Episcopal Homes of Minnesota

Based in St. Paul, Episcopal Homes provides senior housing & care services, memory care, assisted living, a skilled nursing home, transitional care and independent living options for seniors.  Founded in 1894, Episcopal Homes serves 1400 residents and customers with a staff of nearly 500.  For more information:

About River’s Edge Hospital

River’s Edge is a critical access hospital that has delivered over 70 years of quality care including family medicine, pediatrics, emergency room, orthopedic and general surgery to the residents of St. Peter and the surrounding communities.  REH has about 175 employees.  For more information:  

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