The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has named James J. Frey, Ph.D., PLEXSYS Interface Products Inc in Camas, Washington, to the Board of Examiners for the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The Baldrige Award is the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

Appointed by the NIST director, examiners are responsible for reviewing and evaluating applications submitted for the Baldrige Award, as well as other assessment-related tasks. The examiner board is composed of more than 325 leading experts competitively selected from industry, professional, trade, education, health care, and nonprofit (including government) organizations from across the United States.

Those selected meet the highest standards of qualification and peer recognition, demonstrating competencies related to customer focus, communication, ethics, action orientation, team building, and analytical skills. All members of the board must take part in a nationally ranked leadership development course based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework and the scoring/evaluation processes for the Baldrige Award. They must also complete an independent review of a Baldrige Award application or other comparable examiner task.

Dr. Frey enlisted in the Army National Guard at 17 while still in high school. Later he went into the U.S. Navy where he served four years as an enlisted aviation electrician (for F-14s) making multiple deployments on several aircraft carriers. At the end of this enlistment he went to college and upon graduation worked for the Japanese Embassy teaching English at a rural high school in Miyakonojo, Japan. Granted an age waiver, he re-entered the Navy from Japan, attended Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, then went through Fixed- and Rotary-Wing Flight School in Whiting Field (next to Pensacola), followed by MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter training in San Diego, California. Dr. Frey served as a Naval Helicopter Pilot for 12 years. He has earned two master's degrees (Philosophy and Psychology) and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Dr. Frey is the recipient of over 37 personal and unit awards/citations from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps, including the Bronze Star. Dr. Frey lives in Florida and works in the military training industry.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. Awards may be given annually to organizations in each of six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit. The award promotes innovation and excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies.

Since the first group was recognized in 1988, 124 awards have been presented to 115 organizations (including eight repeat recipients). The 2018 winners are Integrated Project Management Company Inc., Burr Ridge, Illinois (small business); Donor Alliance, Denver, Colorado (nonprofit); Alamo Colleges District, San Antonio, Texas (education); Tri County Tech, Bartlesville, Oklahoma (education); and Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, Jasper, Indiana (health care).

NIST manages the Baldrige Award in close conjunction with the private sector.

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program also offers the 2019–2020 Baldrige Excellence Framework: Proven Leadership and Management Practices for High Performance, which includes Criteria for Performance Excellence; Baldrige Excellence Builder; Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder; leadership training; and the Baldrige Collaborative Assessment and other assessment tools.