Two TTU Centers of Excellence Earn Tennessee Quality Awards

Sound, solid and committed to quality -- two Tennessee Technological University Centers of Excellence have earned this praise and recognition for a second consecutive year from the Tennessee Quality Awards program.

The Center for Manufacturing Research and the Center for Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources, housed in TTU's College of Engineering, have received 1999 Quality Commitment awards for demonstrating commitment to quality management principles and the use of plans and procedures. The Manufacturing Research Center award includes a commendation for global awareness.

"The quest for quality distinguishes our state as a place where innovators flourish, consistently high standards are set and a highly-trained work force provides a foundation for business success," Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist said.

The Center for Manufacturing Research, directed by Ted Lundy, is an academic-based center focusing on student preparation and technological enhancement for manufacturers. The Water Center, directed by Dennis George, is an interdisciplinary, environmental research center.

"There's tremendous advantage in striving for a Tennessee Quality Award," said Lundy. "The system gives you feedback for improvement, and good management leads to outstanding payoffs."

"The Tennessee Quality examiners are candid," said George. "They want to be constructive and help us move forward, and one of the most valuable parts is the increased self-study that occurs."

The Tennessee Quality program recognizes four levels of achievement: Quality Interest, Quality Commitment, Quality Achievement and Quality Excellence. Both the Manufacturing Research Center and the Water Center received 1998 Quality Interest Awards.

"Tennessee Tech's centers and many other companies have done a great service to Tennessee by setting high standards for others to follow," said Marie B. Williams, Tennessee Quality president. "They have had the courage to change and the diligence to work."

Under the TQA program, a board of examiners, made up of more than 200 experts on quality and representing business, industry, trade and professional organizations, assess applicants on seven criteria. The criteria are leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and business results.

The TQA, sponsored by the state's Department of Economic and Community Development, is patterned after the Baldrige National Quality Award, which is recognized as the national standard of excellence for quality and productivity.

Both TTU centers will be recognized during an awards dinner on Feb. 16 at the Franklin Marriott/Cool Springs. More than 1,000 representatives of participating companies and organizations are expected to attend.