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The Delaware Alliance for Excellence will present the Delaware Quality Awards during a banquet from 6-9 p.m., Wednesday, March 21, in Clayton Hall on the University of Delaware's Laird Campus, in Newark.

Beebe Medical Center will receive the W. L. Gore Award; Chimes Delaware and Bayhealth Medical Center Inpatient Rehabilitation Center will receive the Award of Merit; and the Delaware Division of Corporations and the New Castle County Department of Land Use will be awarded the Delaware Quality Commitment Award. Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner will present the awards.

Harry S. Hertz, director of the National Quality Program, which administers the Malcolm Baldrige National Award for Performance Excellence, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet, part of the 34th annual Delaware Quality Conference from March 21-23. The National Quality Program is a partnership of the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Hertz joined NIST as a research chemist in 1973. He was named deputy director of the National Quality Program in 1992 and became director in 1996. Hertz has lectured widely about the challenges and benefits of using the Baldrige Criteria as a means to attain results and organizational excellence.

“The Delaware Quality Conference brings together quality experts from around the country to explore how companies can achieve outstanding business results through integrated management systems, innovative practices and involved stakeholders,” Marcella Manning, chairperson of the Delaware Section of the American Society for Quality and an associate at W.L. Gore & Associates.

The Delaware Alliance for Excellence is a partnership between UD's Division of Professional and Continuing Studies and the Delaware Quality Award Initiative. Located in UD's Downtown Center at 8th and King streets in Wilmington, the alliance provides educational programs and support for continuous improvement efforts in the Delaware region and recognizes organizational success and performance through the Delaware Quality Award.

Initiated in 1992, the Delaware Quality Award was named in honor of W. L. (Bill) Gore for the direction he gave his company, W.L. Gore & Associates, and is supported by a grant from the Delaware Economic Development Office and an endowment from the Gore family.

The Delaware Quality Award program is based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria. It “honors companies and organizations that excel in customer satisfaction, leadership, valuing people, operational processes, supplier enhancement, results and community impact.”

The conference is cosponsored by the Delaware Section and Region 5 of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), the Delaware Alliance for Excellence and UD's Division of Professional and Continuing Studies. Corporate sponsors of the conference and banquet include W.L. Gore & Associates, Dade Behring Inc., DuPont, Speakman Company, United Electric Supply Co. and Amtrak.

For registration and more information about the conference, visit [] or call (302) 571-5239.

Media contact: John Riabov, (302) 571-5233, []