Twenty Years Ago - Graniterock and the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award
Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015
Surely one of the most exciting events in Graniterock’s history took place twenty years ago, in 1992. That was the year the U.S. Department of Commerce named Graniterock a winner of the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. In December 1992, a lucky few Graniterock Team Members were able to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C. where President George H.W. Bush presented the award.
In February 1993, still others formed a team to travel back to our nation’s capitol to share the Graniterock story with the hundreds of people gathered at the National Quest for Excellence Conference. In early 1993, all Team Members were invited to gather together to celebrate their achievements and share in the pride and thrilling experience of Graniterock’s accomplishment. Graniterock People had worked hard to pass the rigorous tests of Baldrige examiners, as they evaluated Graniterock's product quality process results and customer service excellence. Examiners spent several days poring over records, checking procedures and questioning people at Graniterock locations.
Although we knew when to expect a call, it was still heart stopping when the phone actually rang and the news arrived. We were the first California based business and only construction company to ever win the award, and the feeling of pride was palpable. There was a flurry of calls from national and international news sources, and then plans had to be made for attending the awards ceremony. There was space for only thirty-three Graniterock Team Members at the ceremony, so names were drawn from a hat to join the Executive Committee on the trip. Accommodations were reserved at the historic Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.
That morning, we walked across the street to the Department of Commerce building, queued up at the security entrance, and were finally admitted to a beautiful, stately assembly room filled with representatives from all the winning companies. When the Marine Corps Band struck up Hail to the Chief, the crowd began to cheer, filled with emotion at the sight of the President of the United States and the realization that he was there to honor their work achievements. Bruce W. Woolpert appeared on stage to accept the award from the President on behalf of all Graniterock People.
In February, Company representatives were back in Washington to share our story with Quest for Excellence Conference participants. Paul Bush explained the IPDP process and brought the audience to their feet, some in tears, when he related his personal challenges with learning differences and how, through the IPDP, he learned to read. Val Verutti lovingly described the quality of Wilson Quarry aggregates, which were “diamonds in the rough” , according to Val. Ricki Mancebo told about her “company car” (an eighteen wheeler transfer truck), and explained how attention to customer service is just as important when delivering rock as it is in any other business or industry.
Women executives attending the conference told us, “We want to be truck drivers like Ricki!” Finally, in March, everyone was back home, and Graniterock team members gathered at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco for a gala celebration of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The Award now stands encased in glass at the entrance to the Graniterock Corporate Office for all to see, but the excitement of winning that award twenty years ago remains difficult to explain, a “once in a lifetime” experience we wish all could have shared. What Graniterock Team Members do share is the culture of excellence that was celebrated in grand style twenty years ago. Find out more about the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award at http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/about/faqs_baldrige_iso.cfm
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