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The Arkansas Institute for Performance Excellence provides training and administers the Governor's Quality Award Program.  Services of the Institute include SWOT Analysis facilitation, strategic planning, performance data training and process mapping.  Regional and industry-specific training for healthcare, manufacturing and business are provided.  Coaches are available to assist applicants in writing an application for a Governor's Quality Award.  The Institute uses the seven categories of the Criteria for Performance Excellence as a guideline for training and application to the Governor's Quality Award.  They are Leadership, Strategic Planning, Workforce Focus, Customer Focus, Knowledge Management, Process Management and Results.  Organizations not applying for award can be trained to perform self-assessments using the Criteria for Performance Excellence.

The Governor's Quality Award was developed to provide an opportunity for all organizations in the state to be recognized for their progress in the journey of performance excellence. The award is to be used by businesses, government agencies, schools, churches and all kinds of organizations, including for-profit, not-for-profit, small, large, growing, mature, etc. -  in short, any organization interested in improving quality, productivity and financial effectiveness.

The basis of the process is a philosophy that to manage effectively we must measure effectively and provide feedback on our progress. We must honestly and objectively look at where we are now compared with where we have been and to some degree, compare ourselves with others in order to learn from them.

The Governor's Quality Award  is intended to create a system for measuring progress and growth, not one of competition. We want to have hundreds of winners as we all grow and progress toward our individual and organizational goals of success. While we grow, we will teach and support each other as our state improves in economic strength.

The Governor's Quality Award program was developed by a team of volunteers with a variety of backgrounds and employers. The team chose to use the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award as a basis for the Arkansas process. This process combines the advantages of using the most current, comprehensive, and widely accepted criteria available to assess progress toward long-term improvement of organizations in a process that uses a four-step award program.

Additional Program Offerings

  • Applicant Training is an excellent opportunity to learn how to use the Baldrige Excellence Framework for both application to the GQA Program and self-assessment of an organization's total quality management processes.
  • Regional and industry-specific seminars are provided in manufacturing, healthcare and business/finance annually.   The seminar programs are designed to address relevant issues in each industry and focus on improving performance excellence in those areas.
  • The annual Examiner Training teaches trained professionals how to assess applications for the GQA Program.  The training offers up to 5.1 ASQ recertification credits.  Examiners receive information on how to use the Criteria in assessment and in their own organization. 

Benefits of Participating

Gaining the competitive edge to assure survival is the primary goal of organizations that commit to the pursuit of excellence. As a participant in the Governor's Quality Award process, you can expect to receive several benefits. These include:

    • Increase customer loyalty by showing your commitment to quality products and services.
      • Accelerate your ability to improve your products, services, internal processes and your organization's capabilities.
        • Receive the necessary education and training in quality to bring your organization's awareness of quality principles and practices to a competitive level.
          • Improve your ability to self assess your processes, identifying strengths as well as areas for improvement
            • Receive public recognition for your efforts and achievements at an awards ceremony.
              • Use of the Governor's Quality Award logo in your advertising, correspondence, etc.
                • Receive preparation for suppliers certification, ISO-9000 registration, and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
                  • Receive assessment from quality improvement professionals.
                  • Receive tuition-free examiner training.

                      Feedback to Applicants

                      Each applicant that applies at the Challenge, Commitment, Achievement and Governor's performance excellence levels receives a written feedback report at the conclusion of the review process. The feedback is based upon the applicant's responses to the award criteria.


                      Any public or privately held organization of any size located in Arkansas may apply.


                      All applications will be confidential. Applicants are not expected to provide or to reveal proprietary information regarding products, processes or services. Examiners are assigned in a way to avoid conflicts of interest. All examiners sign nondisclosure agreements. Information regarding participation, awards or successful strategies will not be released without written approval of the applicant.


                      The Arkansas Institute for Performance Excellence, Inc., which administrates the Governor's Quality Award program, is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization and is supported through contributions, the fee structure and by the time our volunteers give serving as examiners for the process. It is estimated that these individuals have given more than 250,000 hours of time and talent over the past 21 years to providing expertise on quality initiatives to the program and the state.